Sunday, 20 March 2011

How to get started with Tabata Protocol

Before I started doing the Tabata Protocol for hindu squats, I did 200 hindu squats daily. And even then I am always breathless by the time I'm done with it. I think this protocol is great because no matter how fit you are, you'll always finish the exercise breathless. This is because tabata is not about a certain weight or a certain number of sets or reps. As you get better, you end up doing more reps for each set and its an exercise that really grows with you. No matter how fit you get, you'll find that the 4 minutes of tabata has been as intense as the first time you ever did it. However, the intensity of this workout might be scary at times and cause you to shy from doing it, so start out slow with one session of tabata a week and slowly build it up. However, before you start this, do consult your doctor regarding your current physical condition and the intensity of this workout.

Update on Maltese pushups

I've realized that these pushups are really great, have been able to stop doing bicep curls yet my biceps have grown a bit. Still working towards the full planche pushup so check back for more updates!

Gain lean muscle mass

Before we go into "how" to build lean muscles we should first look at which groups of people have lean muscles and which have bulky muscles so we can have an understanding of what we should do to achieve lean muscle growth. When I say lean muscles which group of athletes springs to mind? Gymnasts for one have great looking lean muscles. And when I say bulky muscles, bodybuilders pops straight into my head. Very simply, if you want to have bulky muscles, do what the body builders do. And if you want lean muscles do what the gymnasts do. I don't mean you have to do what the gymnasts do exactly, but basically using body weight training is enough if you want to build lean muscles. Weights are more effective if you're into the big muscle thing. But if you want lean muscles, you don't even need weights to do it. I'm not saying that weights won't help, but they aren't necessary.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Gain muscle mass

Gaining muscle mass in theory is pretty simple. You need to provide your body with a reason to build more muscle mass, simply said it means that you have to use heavier weights to tell your body,"hey, I need to lift heavier stuff so I need more muscle to do so." For example, when I first started doing 50 pushups in a day I realised that my muscles were growing bigger, but when I progressed to doing 200 pushups daily, I realised that my muscles weren't growing any bigger! Why? Because there's a big difference between muscle strength and muscle endurance. Regardless if its 10 pushups or 200 pushups, obviously my muscles have the strength to lift my body, so it doesn't increase in mass, it just increases the muscles ability to endure that weight for longer. And lets face it, although it might be a personal achievement to do loads of pushups in a day, how does that help you in your daily life? So if you're trying to gain muscle mass, you have to continuously increase the load to tell your body to give you more power (strength training). And of course, sufficient rest and nutrition is important as well. For me I give my muscles 36 to 72 hours to rest before doing strength training again. Regular pushups getting too easy for you? Checkout my home workouts section here.

Trying to build chest, biceps, triceps and back?

I've been doing a variation of the maltese pushup as I'm trying to progress to a full planche pushup. It's a killer on the upper back, chest, biceps and triceps. And it works your core pretty well too. Will be continuing with these and will update you guys on how I'm getting along with the planche pushups. Check back for updates. =)

Friday, 11 March 2011

Body not getting hydrated even though you're drinking lots of water?

I drink lots of water everyday and even more when I exercise. But I seem to have a problem absorbing the water. Even if I drink 2 liters of water a day I still feel dehydrated. Did some research and realized it could be caused by having insufficient potassium in my diet. I started taking bananas on a regular basis and I no longer feel so dehydrated. Bananas are great for a quick snack too. Very healthy stuff with high potassium content. I have what we in Singapore call pisang mas, I have about 2 - 3 of them daily. And if you're not in the habit of eating breakfast like me, having a banana after brushing your teeth is a good way to get something in your stomach at the start of the day. I normally drink a glass of water after having a banana as I feel that the fibrous nature Of the banana will cause the banana to absorb that glass of water and you get a sort of slow release of water when the banana reaches your intestines. Better than the water just coursing through your intestines and your body desperately trying to absorb what it can while it rushes past in my opinion.

Getting better

I'm finally recovering, jaw and shoulder is getting better so I'll be starting to exercise in a few days time I hope. Check back for updates soon. =)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Lemon juice and water

I've been having lots of lemon juice with water recently. After some research online, I realized that the swollen gums I have might be because I didn't rinse my mouth after drinking it. And according to my doctor, my shoulder pains stem from my inflamed gums. Will be trying that after my jaw and shoulder get better and I can get back to exercising..

Stopped exercise

Have stopped exercise for awhile cuz been having really bad jaw and shoulder pains. Will be posting more when I feel better..

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Should I eat less?

Really depends on how much you're eating on a daily basis. If you've stayed at the same weight for a period of time, it's really unnecessary to cut your diet to lose body fat. All you have to do is burn more calories than your body absorbs and you're on the right path to weight loss (well actually body fat loss to be accurate). Thats as simple as it is. You might see a gain in weight if you do this, but it's really muscle gain. And more muscle mass means more calories burnt even when you're not doing much. Of course the fastest way to lose body fat is to combine exercise with dieting. But I for one love food too much to do that. However, if you intend to exercise while dieting, do keep some things in mind. When you've just started an exercise routine, give it some time before starting dieting as well. Your body is already under additional stress from working out. You don't want to make it work overtime with lousy wages right from the start. Let your body get used to the additional workload, then slowly ease into it.

3 March 2011 workout

• bicycle crunches: 40
• lower abs: 20
• wide arm pushups: 60
• standard pushups: 40
• staggered pushups: 40
• diamond pushups: 20
• bicep curls: 60
• pullups: 9

decided to start doing some pullups today. Will be trying to add them into my daily routine.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

2nd March 2011 light workout

• bicycle crunches: 20
• lower ab exercise: 10
• wide arm pushups: 20
• staggered pushups: 40
• standard pushups: 20
• diamond pushups: 20
• bicep curls: 40

Light exercise today.

Should I Skip Meals to Lose Weight?


"But in your article: Losing weight and losing fat, which one? you said that if I burn more calories a day than what my body absorbs I'll lose body fat. Skipping meals helps me lower the calories my body absorbs so I can lose more fat this way right?"

Burning more calories a day than what your body absorbs will make you lose body fat. However, skipping meals is counter productive and works against losing body fat. Here we'll have to understand how the body works. When you skip meals or leave long gaps between meals, what happens is that our body plans ahead in the event that it won't get food anytime soon. Your body's metabolic rate will drop and it will burn muscle first before fat. Why it burns muscle first? Muscles burn more calories than fat as discussed in my previous article at this link here, when your body takes that into consideration with the thought that it might not get food soon, it cuts its losses in the most logical manner. It makes the decision that other organs in your body need the energy more than the muscles because they're more important to ensure the body's survival (eg. heart, lungs, etc).

So to lose fat effectively, you should have meals at regular times, smaller meals are better and if your schedule permits it perhaps a few small meals a day. Stay realistic! =)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

1st March 2011 workout

• bicycle crunches: 40
• lower abs: 20
• wide arm pushups: 40
• standard pushups: 40
• diamond pushups: 20
• staggered pushups: 80
• bicep curls: 40
• lower back: 80
• tabata hindu squats: 8/8

Losing weight and losing fat, which one?

There's a huge difference between losing weight and losing fat. Losing weight is losing weight from muscle mass, fat or from losing water. Losing muscle mass is not necessary unless you're a huge body builder that is trying to have lean muscles. Losing water is bad because our body needs to be hydrated to function well. Losing fat is what we're really after. And theoretically speaking is pretty much easy to do. But first we need to understand what is fat and why do our body's have fat. Body fat is necessary to insulate us from the cold, thats why animals in colder climates have more body fat like polar bears for example. And body fat is also like savings in a bank. In this case, the bank being the body and the fat the savings. Our body stores fat as a safety precaution, in the extreme situation that there is no food, as a last resort your body will burn fat for energy. To be clear, the body actually burns muscles before it burns fat but that's discussed in another topic, this is the link here.

"okay I get it, I get it.. what does this have to do with losing fat!?"

If your body absorbs more calories than you burn in a day, then the extra calories are stored for future emergencies as body fat. To lose body fat all you have to do is burn more calories than your body absorbs! Simple as that. Well at least simple in theory. If your body doesn't have any more calories to burn from the food that you consume, it draws the energy from the body fat which it has stored all over your body. And that causes you to lose body fat, looking more toned all over. And losing body fat means you'll lose belly fat as well so you'll be one step forward in achieving that six pack!

And remember when you're trying to lose body fat, be realistic!

Abdominal exercises?

Abdominal exercises are important to have a strong core that will help you in your daily life, they will of course aid you in losing weight around the belly area and getting that six pack, however, don't overdo ab exercises in the hopes of losing belly fat and getting a six pack. Losing belly fat and getting a six pack are achieved by losing total body fat. Just as we can't choose where we gain weight (unfortunately), we can't choose where to lose fat. Ab exercises will help you lose fat but it's not enough on its own to achieve that, to efficiently lose fat (there's a difference with losing fat and losing weight which is covered here) you have to do exercises that incorporate large groups of muscles, yes, that means the more different types of exercises you'll lose more total body fat, which means losing belly fat as well! Overdoing abdominal workouts could lead to a large strong core which means, a large strong stomach, which would be counter productive if you're trying to get a slimmer waist. Cardiovascular workouts and strength training would help more with losing belly fat. How I see it is that cardio exercises are for the present and strength training is looking into the future. Cardio workouts cause you to lose a lot of calories during the workout. After the workout, calorie burn stops. Strength training causes you to build more muscle mass, and muscles burn more calories that fat does. So even when you're not doing much the extra muscle mass helps you burn calories. To maximise on losing fat you should do both cardio and strength training. And since according to the research done for the tabata protocol that 4 minutes of it is equivalent to 45 minutes of cardio, I would suggest doing tabata in place of cardio to save time. Do see the tabata protocol link here for more information on how to do it.

How do I get rid of muscle aches from exercise?

When your muscles are growing its normal to experience muscle aches, I remember the first time I did hindu squats my legs ached so badly that I had trouble going down the stairs and walking down slopes. When I woke up the next day, my legs ached even more. From experience I knew that I had to continue with my hindu squats today cuz if I stopped, it would take my legs about 5 days to recover to a point where I could exercise them again. So I continued with hindu squats and the muscle ache in my thighs and butt were reduced greatly. Always remember that when you do a new exercise that targets a group of muscles that you seldom work out, it's common to have muscle ache after that, but it's really important to continue the next day no matter how achey that muscle set feels, but do fewer reps/ sets than you did the day before. However if you feel pain it is important to stop that exercise immediately and proceed to cool down. It's also important that you not overdo yourself when trying a new exercise, you want to ease your body into the new exercise. And lastly, while your muscles might ache, you have to watch your form and complete each rep properly or you could end up stressing other muscles and joints due to improper weight distribution. Have fun and remember to be realistic about your exercises. =)

How much exercise is too much?

This depends on each individual, your physical state of health and what you're doing for exercise. But how I gauge whether its too much is by what my body tells me. If my entire body feels fatigued then I'll cut down on my exercise for that day. Typically the most a person is supposed to exercise is 5 to 6 days in a week, and rest for 1 to 2 days. I used to think that rest meant completely no exercise. And I'd take 2 full days off, but then when it came time to start exercising again I realised that my body felt horrible and it was a struggle to complete my usual exercise. So I would recommend that on rest days you do light exercise rather than no exercise. For me, light exercise means doing 20% to 50% of what I would normally do on an exercise day. However, there are times when my body feels really fatigued and I'll just take the whole day off with no exercise at all, this happens once in a few weeks in my case. On a typical day I generally have 2 exercise sessions, one on an empty stomach and one later at night. If your muscles hurt when you exercise, you're definitely doing too much for your current physical state, always remember, muscle ache is okay, but if it hurts, stop the exercise immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.