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I believe that management consultant Peter Drucker once said that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” and this is true of your results from a fitness or nutrition program.

My team and I are pretty obsessive about tracking the results of our clients. And body weight is one of the items we track.

It sometimes happens that an overweight client will have better fitting clothes, improved mood, concentration, energy, strength and fitness levels – without a drop in the weight on the scale.

In fact, sometimes scale weight even goes up!

“That’s not why I joined a gym, I might as well eat roti prata and fried noodles like before!” is something they might be thinking.

However keep in mind that your body is NOT a machine that we can have a very deterministic outcome with (i.e. one action = one guaranteed result). Neither do people usually get a linear outcome e.g. 1kg per week. Its more like 0, 0.5, 0, 2kg per week…. etc.

Here are some reasons why your scale weight may not be dropping even though your health markers like energy, blood test readings, strength etc are improving.

1. Did you pee, poop, measure at a different time of the day?

2. Did you measure at a different time in your (ladies) menstrual cycle?

3. Did you just eat or drink (yea this is pretty obvious but I have seen it missed out on)

4. Did you do strength training that increased your lean muscle?

5. Did you eat more protein which also increases growth hormone and lean muscle?

6. Did you eat something salty or higher in carbohydrates than usual? (these retain water for a day or two)

Yes, all of the above can affect scale weight. On a personal note, the most weight fluctuation I have had in a 24 hour period is 7.5kg. Yes. I was on holiday and ate several buffets within that 24 hour period and more salt and sweets than usual. However, a week later I was back to normal weight.

So, as long as the important things are getting better, clothes are fitting, sleep is improved, waistline is dropping etc, don’t sweat the scale weight too much.

A good exercise and nutrition program will focus not on dropping weight FAST but on keeping it off FOREVER. I find that crash diets or crazy, unsustainable exercise programs do get weight loss, but the weight comes back with about 20% interest. I.e. you lose 10kg but a few months later you are back at +12kg.

Remember it’s the process goals that we can control, not the end goals.

An end goal may be:

“I want to weigh 53kg for my wedding”

It may, or may not happen because its not 100% within your control.

Process goals will be something like:

“I will eat the correct number of servings of protein and vegetables each day”,

“I will eat breakfast daily”

“I will drink enough water to have colourless pee 5x per day”

These are 100% within your control.

There we have it. Don’t get discouraged (or overly excited) about changes in scale weight. Stick to the process and the end is far more likely to happen. Stay lean and strong!

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You don't have to drop exercise routines during Ramadan. (AFP)

You don’t have to drop exercise routines during Ramadan

With the Muslim fasting month coming up, many of our Muslim clients in our personal training and fitness bootcamps ask us what they should do during this month to maintain the progress they have made in strength and fitness.

Here are some of the questions I have been asked and how I answered them.

Q: When is the best time to exercise?

A: Actually, I would try to exercise first thing in the morning BEFORE breakfast. I know this is tough to do for many people, but if its possible this is ideal. Get up, have a small, protein based meal like two eggs, and then go train. Once training is finished, get your large breakfast before sunrise.

If that is not possible, then evening training before the evening meal is the next best option. The reason for this is that you will actually be more energetic before meals than after. Also, if you eat a big meal and then train, the fat-burning effects of exercise are reduced.

The breakfast meals, when taken post training, are timed correctly. Large meals post training are actually good for you.

Q: What sort of foods should I be eating?

A: In general, you want to eat stuff that digests slowly, that allows the food to sustain you for longer and keeps your blood sugar stable for longer periods. So, what type of food is this? It means you need to eat food that is high in fiber, higher in protein and high in fat.

Yes, I said it.

Fat.

By this I don’t mean deep-fried, diabetes-causing death fats. I mean healthy fats like fish oils, butter and olive oil, coconut oil, egg yolks and those found in meat.

I.e. natural sources of fat. These fats have many benefits and will give you long-term sustained energy throughout the day when you won’t be eating.

Protein aids in the feeling of “fullness”, and fiber from natural sources like veggies and fruits also slows down digesting, keeping your energy stable through the day.

A suitable meal could look like this:
A steak, eggs, and a handful of almonds, along with an apple and cucumbers.

If you eat a lot of refined foods like potato chips or white rice, you will feel full for a while, but will quickly get hungry. Fat and protein on the other hand, take HOURS to digest and will keep you energetic all day.

Q: There are a lot of sweets and goodies at the feast times! Should I be eating theses?

A: Unfortunately, sweets are not good for anybody! They mess up energy production and make you gain weight. The item that I suggest is the traditional dates. A few of these (not a bucket!!) are fine and way better than a dessert. The reason is that natural sources (like dates) come with fiber and this slows the sugar release of the food.

Q: What supplements can help me during Ramadan?

A: Here are some suggested supplements:
Digestive aids like digestive enzymes and pro-biotics to maximise the absorbtion of your food
Magnesium and glycine to aid relaxation and sleep
Carnitine and zinc to aid morning energy

Q: What sort of training should I do?

A: When you are in a fasted state, your main goal is to maintain lean muscle so your metabolism and immune system do not get weaker. Having lean muscle aids both these functions.

The best form of training is challenging (for your fitness level) resistance training because it accomplishes these goals. Ideally, you are on a proper training program! But even if you are not a member of a gym, get in some push-ups, squats and chin-ups at least three times per week.

There we have it, tips to help my friends and clients have a strong and healthy fasting month.

Originally Published on yahoo

 

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I recently got a comment on my blog asking if eating organic food is the best way to lose weight.

Is organic food better? Yes it probably is. No so much because of nutrient content although it is superior there as well, but because it has less bad stuff in it. Less pesticides, anti-biotics less pollutants etc.

However eating organic is not going to help you lose weight by itself. You still need to make good choices. As you all know I suggest a paleo type diet of meat, veggies, nuts, a little fruit and lots of water!

If you eat organic bad choices such as… wheat, soy or corn you will still be fat!!

The non-profit “Environmental Working Group” has listed the most and the least important foods to try to find organic. The “Dirty Dozen” are the foods you should try to buy organic, and the “Clean 15″ are those which are ok to buy regular.

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When it comes to fat burning, and fat loss, there is always this “no man’s land” between “I’m not fat” and “I’m really lean and beautiful!”. For most men this happens at about 12-19% body fat, and for women between 18-25% or so.

No doctor will complain that you are about to die of an obesity related disease, and your friends will still say what a nice figure you have. But you know that muffin top is just a little too big for your liking!

As your training age progresses, assuming you are good with your food choices, and stay lean all the time, your body will get “used” to a lower, more lean body fat percentage. I used to be a really fat boy, but with not too much effort and even eating lots of food, I stay at somewhere around 12% all year.

But the time has come for me to push the limits again. I have been as low as 5-6% before but I lost so much weight. (I was only 71kg then!) But as my own experience, knowledge and skill improves, I am going to try to reach 5% body fat at close to 80kg. This would be my best physique ever. That is the goal over then next 12 weeks or so.

However, goals must come with ACTIONS or else they are pretty much USELESS. It is like the clients who come to me and say they want great results, but they want to eat cereal for breakfast and instant noodles for lunch. It just isn’t going to happen.

Here are the actions that I will take over the next 12 weeks to achieve my goal. I like to write goals in present tense because they have the highest chance of adherence. Your brain lives in the present not the past/future.

  • I eat 6 meals per day
  • I eat meat and nuts at breakfast
  • I eat only foods that are not allergic to me (no tomatoes, carrots or chilli)
  • I eat 1.2-1.5kg of meat every day
  • I eat these choices even when eating outside of home
  • I eat outside of home only once per week
  • I train 3 days out of 5 with some days 2x/day
  • I do 1/3 fat burning workouts, and 2/3 strength and muscle maintaining workouts
  • I use licorice cream on week days and off on weekends
  • I use far infra red sauna 3/week for at least 20 mins
  • I schedule my own training into my callender and nothing will get in the way of that.
  • I use 40g of BCAA during each workout
  • I eat whey, glutamine, glycine and greens post workout
  • I use carnitine and R-ALA before workouts
  • I sleep by 11pm every day

If I do all those things consistently, I don’t see how I can NOT be leaner while maintaining all my muscle mass. If you write down a list like this, I’m sure you can achieve your weight loss, fat loss, or mass building goals as well.

Of course there is room for adjustment along the way, but the fundamental habits shown above will stay the same. Stay tuned for updates!

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Every time a client visits our personal training center for a consultation, I always ask them what their top 2 goals are. It may be to drop 10kg of fat, it may be to fit into an old dress or pair of jeans again. It may be to rehabilitate a shoulder or knee to full strength and function, it may be to improve running, jumping and athletic performance to win a athletic contest.

No matter what it is, one of the important aspects of coaching, is to help that personal training or fitness boot camp client to break their goals down from the “outcome goals” that that want, into the daily “process goals” that will help them get the result.

A set of process goals for fat burning or weight loss might be…(written in present tense as that is most “recognizable” by our brains)…

  • “I eat a breakfast of meat and nuts for maximum energy and immune system function everyday”
  • “I eat 8-10 servings of veggies and fruits to make sure that I have all the fiber and nutrients that I need”
  • “I will take 12 (or more depending on body-fat levels) grams of fish-oils per day”

etc…

Making the weight loss or fat loss outcome happen is easy when the process is in place.

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As many of you guys know, I am a big fan of proper nutrition with whole foods. Good meats, veggies, fruits and nuts as well as whole eggs, cream and unrefined carbs are the basis of all good nutrition plans and diets.

Customizing how much of each, as well as what supplements and herbs each person should take, is what I do for our personal training and weight loss clients.

However the best diet is the one that you can do!

We don’t live in the Olympic training center and we don’t have the perfect life for mass building, weight loss or fat burning. 3x a day training, perfect meals, lots of sleep.

So I need to modify things according to what each client can do.

Recently one of my clients wrote me a great email with lots of questions. I won’t use his real name here, but you will be able to relate to this.

My reply and advice is given at the bottom of the post. Is it the same as my usual advice…? probably not, but its the BEST that this client can do at the moment and that is what matters.

This is not a guy who is trying to find an easy way out, it’s a client with real trouble, so I’m going to help him find a good, or at least “least bad” solution so he gets results.

Hi Coach Jon,

I am finding it difficult to stick to the diet plan.

I can’t seem to find a suitable breakfast. I get up at 6:30am and hit out to your gym by 7:00am so that I can work out before work. Cooking breakfast just is not an option for me. The only choice I have around me conveniently is to grab some breakfast on the way out at the Kopitiam, i.e. Horlicks and Half boiled egss.  I thought some instant oats or cereal would be a good choice. Or would some berries and fruit be a better choice.

As for lunch, I normally take customers out to lunch. Meaning I can grab Japanese or a Steak, which is presentable enough for customers. I avoid rice, bread and potatoes. So I guess this is ok.

As for dinner, I am not much of a dinner person on the weekdays, because I am either stuck in the office, where I have only instant drinks or muesli bars or biscuits with me. If I manage to go home on time, (rarely), I grab dinner at the nearby kopitiam, i.e. mixed rice, where I normally have half a bowl of rice, meats and veggies.

I would like to be more committed to a sustainable diet plan but I am lack of choices.

Are meal replacement drink advisable? Or any other alternative?

Thanks.
My reply:

Hi Jack (name changed), I appreciate your desire, dedication and great attitude! Nutrition is a super important part of success.

The best diet is the one that you can do!

Best option – prepare food on weekends for the entire week
Next best option – Whatever you can do…:)

Unfortunately from what you described as your food intake, its pretty far from what you need to do to get good results. So here is what I would do If I were you:)

I would get an organic protein shake called “Whey Stronger” and another one called “Primal Clear Px” along with what are known as “branch chained amino acids”, you can use these to replace meals.

For breakfast, One day I would take the whey stronger, the next day, the primal clear. I would get both so that I don’t eat the same thing everyday which can lead to allergy.

While it’s not as good as meat, a good shake + some nuts is a decent option for those meals that you skip.

I would also get an organic veggie and fruit drink called “primal greens” and “primal reds” so that your alkaline and anti-oxidant needs are met. I would drink this 2-3x/day and it tastes pretty nice (for a veggie drink!!).

Lunch seems ok. Steaks  or sashimi are great. Fries + sushi or rice filled handrolls are not:) So just beware of your food choices. Remember to eat the ginger with the sashimi because the pickled ginger helps prevent absorption of heavy metals found in the fish.

For dinner, instant drinks + museli = instantly fat so we need to work on that.

You can have another shake for dinner that would be fine.

For snacks you can have the veggie drink, a few nuts, eggs if possible, and 10-20 amino acid capsules. This snack should keep your body in fat burning and muscle building mode!

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Ensuring Obesity, Diabetes And Cancer

Ensuring Fatness, Diabetes And Cancer

I just finished a phone consult with one of the finest natural medicine and detox specialists in the world. Dr Bob Rakowski. I wanted to know more about natural solutions to cancer because recently I have several family members/friends who have it. All kinds – breast, colon, liver, pancreas etc. From our 30min consultation, I learned a few things…

Cancer LOVES sugar – in fact it loves it 15x more than any other nutrient. And what were my friends/relatives on? “Ensure” Whats that – it’s 60% SUGAR!! It’s mad that this food is recommended to help give the cancer patient energy when all it does is feed cancer cells the nutrient it loves most!

Digestive tract health is so important, and the nutrient that helps digestive tract health (Glutamine) also helps fix cancer via 7 pathways – one of the most important is that, being an amino acid, it maintains muscle mass which is good for immunity.

Pancreatic enzymes are GOOD! They break down the protein coating of cancer cells and KILL THEM! Yay!

Dr Bob also gave specific supplement protocols for my “cancer clients” and I look forward to helping them get well ASAP. No more chemo, no more radiation, no more illogical food choices.

But better still, PREVENT cancer by PERUSING health! That’s what we do with our weight loss, personal training and fitness boot camp programs where we cover health, nutrition, supplementation for your genetics and body type, as well as exercise:)

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One of the former athletes at the Sports school where I coached formerly is now a DJ and invited me for an interview on health tips. Here is a rough transcript of today’s interview.

Q: 1. Tell us a little bit about what you do.

I help people pursue maximum health and achieve their fitness and performance goals. So I help them get leaner, healthier, stronger and into the best shape of their lives.

Q: 2. Generic question: How much should the average person exercise per week, and how much calories should he or she eat per day in order to stay healthy?

Exercise is a fairly new thing, our ancestors didn’t need it, they had active lives. But for us we don’t usually have that kind of lifestyle. What im saying is that our bodies are made for activity. Very basic things like immune system function and joint health decrease if we do not use our bodies actively as they were created to be used.

If I had my way, the average person should be active 8 to 10 hours per week for best results! But in reality 3 hours per week of proper training plus a few sessions of activity that we enjoy like walking or playing sports would be excellent.

Q 3. For most of us working people, exercise rarely happens because of a lack of time. What are some ways we can stay active throughout the day? (office workouts?)

I could say the usual stuff like stop 1 or 2 bus stops from your home, don’t take the escalator and take the stairs etc … but in reality, these are a tiny drop in the ocean when it comes to improving your health.

And who really does these things?

Do you see your colleagues come in to work sweaty because they walked from 2 bus stops away? No you don’t, nobody does these things.

I would like to say that there is an easy way to maximize your health but there really isn’t.

The problem is with the standards we hold ourselves to, we have confused what is normal with what is average.

It is NORMAL for a human being to be lean with low body-fat, strong, and healthy with no degenerative diseases like obesity, cancer, diabetes, alzhimers or cardiovascular disease.

But unfortunately it is not the average, the average person is not in good shape and is likely to develop one of those conditions. walking from the bus stop is not really going to change this outcome much.

What will change your health is the most powerful attitude changing emotion in existance. And that emotion is love. When we choose not to exercise it is because we don’t love being healthy as much as we love watching TV or surfing the internet. When we choose to eat unnatural foods like cake or prata it is because we love the taste more than we love being lean and free from heart problems.

So actually the action is not as important as your attitude toward your own health. You need to love your body. Nobody can do that for you.

MYTHBUSTERS

1. Doing crunches or other exercises on the ab machine we see in infomercials will get rid of belly fat.

Nope, if you want lean abs, you do it with your food choices and your lifestyle.

You will need to eat foods that promote fat burning and prevent fat storage.

Foods that do this include green veggies, nuts, meat, whole eggs and healthy fats like omega 3 oils. Most ab machines actually make your posture worse and more hunched.

2. Skipping meals are a good way to lose weight

Think about it this way, when you skip drinking water, do you go toilet less or more?

You go less because your body tires to hold on to the water is has.

When you skip food, your body tries to hold on to fat that you store because it wants to make sure that there is enough in case you are in a starvation situation.

Eating healthy food that does not spike your blood sugar, in smaller meals throughout the day is proven to work for fat burning.

3. Weight-training will make me bulk up

Weight training will make a woman have nice curves a slimmer waist and good health. Eating cakes, noodles and cookies will make a woman have the wrong kind of curves and bulk up.

If you hit the gym but also eat starchy, processed food, you will get bulky and it will not be muscle, it will be fat and the food is the reason not the gym. Just think about this, many men want bigger muscles but are not able to get them easily.

And men have about 10 times the muscle building hormones that women do. So its actually even harder for a woman to get too bulky.

The problem is that many of the women you might see on TV who go to the gym are also on steroids which make them have the muscle building ability of a man, and it’s just not something that happens to women who go to the gym to get healthy.

4. Eating after 8pm causes mad weight gain.

Depends on what you eat. If you eat a pizza you could eat that any time during the day and it would make you fat. But if you a hard boiled egg and some almonds, you could eat that any time and it would not make you fat.

The main things to consider when talking about late night eating is how it affects sleep.

We do want to eat a small snack of slow digesting food like nuts, egg, cheese or a small piece of meat. This makes our body know that there is enough food and you are more likely to have a good sleep because your body will not wake you up to go and eat.

However we do not want to eat a huge meal within 2 hours of sleep because during sleep, the body recovers itself from the stresses of the day. If you eat a large meal right before sleep, your body will not be focused on recovering, it will be focused on digestion which is not what we want.

About your fitness center

1. Tell us a little bit about the Genesis Performance Centre

The Genesis performance center is the fitness and health center where my staff and I help hundreds of Singapore residents each year to maximize their health and get into the best shape of their lives. We help our clients to pursue maximum health with nutrition that is customized for their genetics, supplements and herbs that correct any hormonal or sleep problems, as well as exercise that gives them the optimal fitness for their chosen activity.

Our clients range from competitive athletes at the national level, to people who haven’t exercised for years. We customize the program to meet their goals and their current fitness level.

2. Let’s say if I were a total couch bum who decided to turn my life around and get fit, what would your fitness plan for me look like?

Assuming you love yourself enough to visit us…

First we would do a health assessment which includes your body fat, your sleep, tests for you nutrition, mineral and digestion levels. We test these because these are fundamental to health, and the best training program in the world does not give good results without a good foundation of internal health.

And also physical testing of your posture, movements and joints so that we can be sure that the exercises we ask you to do are not dangerous for you. With these results, we customize a nutrition and training program for you. For the typical client, within a week you will be measurably different. Leaner, sleeping better and you will be more energetic.

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Here are a few questions that I was asked by our personal training and Singapore boot camp fitness clients last week. I hope these answers help you with your health, fitness, weight loss and fat loss goals too.

  • What seafoods are ok and not…for example I love prawns and crabs ..are they ok as meal – yes they are fine as long as you don’t have an allergy to them. They are actually healthy and very nutritious! (and won’t make you fat!
  • For the snack, can i replace egg with cheese? what other alternatives i have (Yoghurt, etc?) – I would stick with eggs over cheese although cheese is not a bad choice either. Eggs just have a higher amount of protein. I am not a big fan of yogurt because it tends to be highly processed and high in sugar.
  • If i miss or cheat on my diet like last night. do i make it up the next day by taking less? – If you end up eating a bad meal, RELAX:) guilt probably raises stress hormones and makes you even fatter! Just get back to healthy food ASAP. That is the main thing. The wrong responses are to skip meals, or to continue eating bad stuff since “I already messed up”.
  • For the coffee before training. Do I take it for big training (like on wed) or do i take it even if I do my intervals trainings/swims – Coffee is fine before intervals.
  • Is coffee with low fat milk bad? I have a habit of taking it quite often..should i stop? I also use Equal instead of sugar.. is that acceptable? – I would go with heavy cream and cinnamon which slow down the caffine release and increase fat burning. I am not for artificial sweeteners unless absolutely necessary.
  • My fishoil at home is 1200mg per capsule. How many do I take..taking 4 per meal doesn’t sound right – It is right, depending on your current level of body fat. The fatter you are, the more healthy fats you need to take to increase your insulin sensitivity (and a bunch of other good reasons too!)

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Weight loss, fat loss, and mass gaining are the goals of three major groups of people that join our customized personal training and our group fitness bootcamps. What we do at the Genesis Performance Center is give you a world class fat loss or mass building training program, along with nutrition that is customized for your genetics, ethnicity and current levels of bodyfat.

BUT there is one aspect that we also want to help each and every personal training client and boot camp fitness client with.

The mental/psychological aspects of fitness. There is an old saying that says:

“If you want to know where a person’s mind has been, look at their body today…

if you want to know where a person’s body will be tomorrow, look at their mind today”

Our body follows our brain! For e.g. when we are afraid, our hair stands up and our heart beats faster.

So ask yourself… if you have been stuck in a fat loss, weight loss, or muscle building rut or plateau lately, and you have been trying without success to get the results you want…

“What is the position of your mind today?”

Make sure your mind is in the right place

Make sure your mind is in the right place

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