Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

As a personal trainer, you fulfill many roles for a higher purpose. You are a scientist who prepares training programmes based on your knowledge of exercise science and at the same time, you are an artist who implements the training programme for your clients to ensure that they benefit optimally. You are an educator to facilitate your clients to ultimately be independent exercisers and enhance their quality of life.You are a psychologist who will identify negative behaviour and provide abundance of motivation to get them through that extra minute on the treadmill, extra repetition or even through their darkest periods where whatever they do don’t seem to work for them. You are an inspiration to them to promote a lasting health behavioural change. That’s what it’s about.

Many of my peers have questioned, “Why did you decide to become a personal trainer and spending so much time working when others are having fun out there?”

Apart from the first paragraph, I get a sense of intrinsic satisfaction when my clients have achieved their goals and beyond. The expression on their faces when it’s weigh-in time and speaking about the fitness improvements that they have achieved could effortlessly light up a whole town. And that allows me to know that I’ve fulfilled my purpose and will be more than motivated to take on a new challenge.

Secondly, I don’t consider this as “work”. As quoted, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day.” That explains it all. My clients are investing their time, effort and money in exchange for my expertise and time. Therefore, my commitment to them is of utmost importance.

Having been enlisted in National Service for the next 1 year and 10 months till 7th September 2013, it has certainly affected my chasing of dreams. But, the burning passion will carry on and reignite when my conscription has been served.

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen for you, to you and because of you.” T. Alan Armstrong

I HAVE LIVED.

Hasta la vista, baby.

Signing off,

Nicholas Chua

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Weight Management Seminar

Posted: August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

To enhance your knowledge of health & fitness and to help you achieve your fitness goals in the shortest time possible, Nicholas will be conducting a weight management seminar in the end of September, and you are most welcome to attend this seminar. Kindly click on this link to sign up and state your preference of the seminar date: Registration Form

For the e-flyer, please click on this link: Weight Management Seminar.

Register now! Limited places are available!

Sitting is Killing You!

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, there is one thing nearly all modern people have in common: we sit all the time. Though our great shift towards computer-based work has done great things for productivity, it has, unfortunately, done terrible things for our health. From increased risk of heart disease and obesity in the long term, to sharply hampered cholesterol maintenance in the short term, the negative health effects of sitting are starting to weigh heavily against the benefits. Even the medical field – the greatest advocates of reducing sitting time – is plagued by this new health issue. Though doctors and nurses get plenty of walking time, it usually falls to the secretaries, billers, and coders to do all the sitting. And, as we can see, something has to change.

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding @ MedicalBillingandCoding.org

Creating an at-home gym can be affordable and easy—especially when you don’t spend big bucks on bulky treadmills and weight machines! With just a few small pieces of equipment and your own body mass, you can get a toning, calorie-burning workout without leaving the house. WD spoke with personal trainers to get their must-have home exercise items, favorite fitness routines and useful tips. Find out how you can make your at-home sweat sessions a success.

Jump Rope

“Jumping rope is great for a full-body cardio workout and even better for fat burn,” says Bonnie Matthews, fitness trainer and contributor to Oz Blog, the blog for Dr. Mehmet Oz’s website. Not only are jump ropes inexpensive (they range anywhere from $4 to $30), but you can do all sorts of interval training with them, too. For an intense workout, Matthews suggests you “jump hard and fast for two minutes, drop and do push-ups for one minute, then burst right back up and do two more minutes of hard jumping.” Do at least two or three sets, eventually building up to more. Jump ropes are also great if you travel a lot, since you can just throw one in your suitcase, according to Gina Harney, personal trainer, nutritional advisor and blogger at The Fitnessista.

Exercise Mat

Workout mats offer great cushioning for your body while you’re exercising, and can be purchased for under $20. “An exercise mat makes great padding for your back during crunches and for your knees during push-ups,” says Ryan Karnes, fitness supervisor at Texas Health Fitness Center. They’re also great for floor-based workouts such as yoga and Pilates. To keep your mat in tip-top shape, clean it with one part lemon juice mixed with two parts water. “It disinfects the mat and leaves it smelling nice without damaging the nonstick surface,” Harney says.

Dumbbells

The great thing about dumbbells is that no matter what your fitness level, you can choose the right amount of weight for yourself. Available in a wide range of prices, shapes, sizes and weights, dumbbells can be included in many types of strength-training exercises. “They offer great resistance and engage all the stabilizer muscles. Try lateral raises, dumbbell bench presses, overhead triceps presses, curls, overhead shoulder presses and lunges with weights,” Karnes suggests.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are unique in that you can use them to perform exercises you would normally do with machines and free weights at the gym. “They offer resistance instead of momentum, and using bands protects the joints more than dumbbells,” Karnes says. They’re only about $10 to $30 and you can perform biceps curls, chest presses, triceps kick-backs, shoulder shrugs and so much more.

Foam Roller

Foam rollers are great for relaxing and massaging your muscles. “A foam roller is one of the best investments you can make for injury prevention,” Harney says. “It’s called the ‘poor man’s massage’ because it’s inexpensive and provides the same benefits for a fraction of the price.” Ranging anywhere from $10 to $40 depending on thickness and size, it can relieve tight body parts such as the buttocks (gluteal and piriformis muscles) and leg muscles (iliotibial band, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves). Karnes even recommends “stepping on it to do calf raises and using it for abdominal exercises, as well.”

Exercise Ball

Exercise balls average around $20 and are great for engaging the core muscles. “Anything you do [on your back] such as chest presses and triceps extensions can be done with an exercise ball, which will target your core muscles as you work to stabilize,” Harney says. Looking for a great way to spice up your traditional abdominal workout? “Incorporate dumbbell exercises such as bench presses or ball squats,” Karnes suggests.

No Equipment Needed

Exercises utilizing your own body weight, like push-ups, require no equipment at all. Matthews says other examples of exercises you can do just using your body weight include planks, crunches and squats. Harney’s favorite full-body workout? Jog in place for one minute, do jumping squats for 30 seconds, regular squats for 30 seconds, wall or full push-ups for 30 seconds, plank for 45 seconds, burpees for 45 seconds, calf raises for 30 seconds then alternating lunges for one minute. Repeat one to two times, two to three times per week.

Resource: Olivia Putnal “Set Up a Home Gym on the Cheap” Retrieved from, http://health.yahoo.net/articles/fitness/photos/set-home-gym-cheap#0

Just because you’re not vying for 20-inch biceps or thunderously strong thighs like the muscle heads in the gym doesn’t mean you should shun the weight room. Lifting weights gives you an edge over belly fat, stress, heart disease and cancer—and it’s also the single most effective way to look hot in a bikini. Yet somehow women are still hesitant: Only about a fifth of females strength train two or more times a week. Get a personal trainer today to guide you into lifting weights for weight loss!

Here are 12 reasons you shouldn’t live another day without hitting the weights:

1. You’ll lose 40 percent more fat.

If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading: When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.

Other research on dieters who don’t lift shows that, on average, 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat, while 25 percent is from muscle. Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn’t improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost. However, if you weight train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.

2. Your clothes will fit better.

Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50, you’ll likely lose 10 percent of your body’s total muscle. Worse yet, it’s likely to be replaced by fat over time, says a study. And that increases your waist size, because one pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space than one pound of muscle.

3. You’ll burn more calories.

Lifting increases the number of calories you burn while your butt is parked on the couch. That’s because after each strength workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibers. In fact, researchers found that when people did a total-body workout with just three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward. They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared with those who didn’t lift.

Lifting gives you a better burn during exercise too: Doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) can expend 159 to 231 calories. That’s about what you’d burn if you ran at a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.

4. Your diet will improve.

Exercise helps your brain stick to a diet plan. University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults and found that those who didn’t follow a three-hours-a-week training regimen ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day. The reverse was also true— sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. The study authors say both diet and exercise likely remind you to stay on track, aiding your weight-loss goals.

5. You’ll handle stress better.

Break a sweat in the weight room and you’ll stay cool under pressure. Scientists determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit. Another study found that after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle.

6. You’ll be happier.

Yoga isn’t the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise. Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood.

7. You’ll build stronger bones.

As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin—a marker of bone growth—by 19 percent.

8. You’ll get into shape faster.

The term cardio shouldn’t describe only aerobic exercise: A study found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise— so you save time without sacrificing results.

9. Your heart will be healthier.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total-body weight workouts a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40 percent and the chance of a heart attack by 15 percent.

10. You’ll be way more productive.

Lifting could result in a raise (or at least a pat on the back from your boss). Researchers found that workers were 15 percent more productive on days they exercised compared with days they didn’t. So on days you work out, you can (theoretically) finish in eight hours what would normally take nine hours and 12 minutes. Or you’d still work for nine hours but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job—another perk reported on days workers exercised.

11. You’ll live longer.

University of South Carolina researchers determined that total-body strength is linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Similarly, other scientists found that being strong during middle age is associated with “exceptional survival,” defined as living to the age of 85 without developing a major disease.

12. You’ll be even smarter.

Muscles strengthen your body and mind: Brazilian researchers found that six months of resistance training enhanced lifters’ cognitive function. In fact, the sweat sessions resulted in better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span.

 

References:

Adam Campbell (2011) Lose Your Fear of Lifting Retreived from, http://health.yahoo.net/rodale/WH/lose-your-fear-of-lifting

Singapore’s smoking prevalence is among the lowest in the world. Concerted efforts of our National Smoking Control Programme since the 1970s, have reduced our smoking prevalence from above 25% to below 14% currently.  However, this still means that about 360,000 Singaporeans smoke. Our age-specific smoking prevalence exceeds 10% for all age groups, from 18 to 69, peaking at 17% for those aged 18 to 29 years.  Men are 6 times more likely to smoke than women. The age-specific male smoking prevalence exceeds 20% for all age groups from 18 to 69.  There is a significant racial difference.  Malays’ smoking prevalence is more than double that of Chinese or Indians.  Malay men aged 30 – 39 years, have the highest smoking prevalence of 49%, as compared to 19% for Chinese and 12% for Indians.  Fortunately, our female smoking prevalence is low, at single digit percentage, except for young Malay ladies (14%).  But more than half of women smokers are below 29 years old and their smoking rate has risen sharply from 5% in 1998 to 9% in 2007.

In Singapore:

  • About 7 Singaporeans die prematurely from smoking-related diseases each day.
  • Smoking-related diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – also known as Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COLD)- , are the nation’s top killers.
  • The social cost of smoking in 1997 ranged from S$673 to S$839 million. The social cost of smoking in Singapore includes the direct costs (payments for hospitalisation and healthcare due to smoking), morbidity costs (lost production due to smoking related illnesses) and mortality costs (lost production from people who died early due to smoking).

 

The best time to quit smoking is RIGHT NOW. And while quitting is tough, you can start counting the benefits of not smoking in as little as 20 minutes. Here’s what happens to your body when you quit smoking.

Smoking Cessation Timeline:

  • In 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate decrease, and the body temperature of your hands and feet increase.
  • Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. At 8 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood decreases to normal. With the decrease in carbon monoxide, your blood oxygen level increases to normal.
  • At 24 hours, your risk of having a heart attack decreases.
  • At 48 hours, nerve endings start to regrow and the ability to smell and taste is enhanced.
  • Between 2 weeks and 3 months, your circulation improves, walking becomes easier and you don’t cough or wheeze as often. Phlegm production decreases. Within several months, you have significant improvement in lung function.
  • In 1 to 9 months, coughs, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease as you continue to see significant improvement in lung function. Cilia, tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs, regain normal function.
  • In 1 year, risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack is reduced to half that of a smoker.
  • Between 5 and 15 years after quitting, your risk of having a stroke returns to that of a non-smoker.
  • In 10 years, your risk of lung cancer drops. Additionally, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease. Even after a decade of not smoking however, your risk of lung cancer remains higher than in people who have never smoked. Your risk of ulcer also decreases.
  • In 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack in similar to that of people who have never smoked. The risk of death returns to nearly the level of a non-smoker.

 

 

References:

Walter Jessen Smoking Cessation Timeline: What Happens When You Quit Retrieved from, http://www.highlighthealth.com/cancer/smoking-cessation-timeline-what-happens-when-you-quit/

Ministry of Health Smoking Trend Retrieved from, http://www.moh.gov.sg/mohcorp/parliamentaryqa.aspx?id=23664

Having meals in restaurants? These 12 tips will help you prevent weight gain by outsmarting clever food marketers trying to sell you empty calories by the belly-load. The best part: You can still eat all the foods you love, at all the restaurants you love, without condemning yourself to coma-inducing calorie counts. With these 12 rules to live (skinnier) by.

1. Don’t assume fancier means healthier
Fast food can make you fat, so dinner at a sit-down chain must be better, right? In fact, our menu analysis of 24 national chains revealed that the average entree at a sit-down restaurant contains 867 calories, compared with 522 calories in the average fast-food entree. And that’s before appetizers, sides, or desserts—selections that can easily double your total calorie intake.

2. Don’t get “supersized”
Sure, it feels like you’re getting a bargain because you’re getting proportionately more food for proportionately less money. But a “value meal” is only a value for two sets of people: the corporations that make the food and the corporations that make liposuction machines and heart stents. Because food is so inexpensive for manufacturers to produce on a large scale, your average fast-food emporium makes a hefty profit whenever you supersize your meal—even though you’re getting an average of 73 percent more calories for only 17 percent more money. But you’re not actually buying more nutrients; you’re just buying more calories. And that’s not something you want more of.

3. Don’t order the “medium” soda
That “medium” soda may actually be a large. Duke University researchers discovered that some fast-food chains encourage their customers to buy larger soft drinks—which justifies higher prices—by increasing the number of ounces in all sizes of drinks. They know what you may not: Most people subconsciously pick the middle option without considering the actual amount, says study author Richard Staelin, Ph.D. Remember, 8 ounces is one serving. That means a “small” Coke at McDonald’s is already 2 servings of carbonated sugar—and a large is 4!

4. Remember, the waiter is a salesperson
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services found that you’re more likely to order a side dish when the server verbally prompts you (“Do you want fries with that?”). Restaurants know this, and now you know it, too. When the waiter makes a suggestion, remember his job is not to make you happy. His job is to extract money from your wallet and insert fat in its place.

5. Don’t celebrate any old meal
Before you head out to your next meal, really take stock of how many times you’ve eaten out this week. A 2008 study in the International Food Research Journal found that people are less likely to make healthy restaurant choices when they feel that they’re dining out for a “special occasion.” If you’re eating every meal at home and dining out truly is a once-a-week splurge, then don’t worry about it so much. But if you’re like most of us, eating out is probably more like a once-a-day splurge. And if that’s the case, remember, there’s nothing special here. Eat smart today because you’ll have to do it again tomorrow.

6. Grab a smaller plate at the buffet
When, for a 2008 study published in the journal Obesity, researchers offered patrons two plate sizes, 98.6 percent of those with the highest BMI took the larger of the two to the buffet. A bigger plate tricks your eye into thinking you’re not eating as much when you load it up—and after you start eating. Use a smaller plate, get a smaller belly. The same principle holds true for drinks. The larger the cup, the bigger your gut.

7. Eat dessert elsewhere
Need a simple way to cut down on desserts? Pay for your meal and take a walk. Researchers in the U.K. found that taking a short walk can weaken chocolate cravings. In the study, regular chocolate eaters refrained from eating the treat for 3 days and then either took a 15-minute walk or stayed idle. The strollers’ cravings dropped by 12 percent after a walk, but those of the coach potatoes intensified. “Like chocolate, exercise may increase the levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain, reducing a desire for sweets,” says study author Adrian Taylor, Ph.D. If, after a little stroll, you’re still hungry, go ahead and indulge—at least you earned it!

8. Resist the blob mentality
Your dining partner may be making you fat. Researchers from Eastern Illinois University have discovered that people consume 65 percent more calories when they eat with a person who opts for seconds than when they dine with a  companion who doesn’t. “Just being aware of it can help you avoid becoming a victim,” says Men’s Health nutrition advisor Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. Instead of taking seconds, opt for a cup of herbal tea after you finish your main course. It will keep your mouth busy while providing a refreshing, no-calorie end to your meal.

9. Guzzle the icewater first
Thirst can masquerade as hunger, which is one reason dieters should stay hydrated. Now German researchers have found another reason: Water fuels your body’s fat burners. For 90 minutes after drinking 16 ounces of chilled water, adults saw their metabolisms rise by 24 percent over their average rates. The increase is partially attributed to the energy your body generates to warm the water during digestion.

10. Cut up your food
Japanese researchers recently proved what dieticians have been saying for years: Slicing your food into strips or chunks may help you eat less. Study participants who compared equal amounts of sliced and whole vegetables rated the sliced serving as much as 27 percent larger. The end result: Believing that you are eating a larger portion of food causes you to feel more satisfied with fewer calories.

11. Watch out for weekends
A study in the journal Obesity reveals that people eat an average of 236 more calories on Saturday than on any given weekday. Blame it on the break from your usual routine. “Since your day is not as structured on the weekends, neither are your eating habits,” says study author Susan Racette, Ph.D. Approach your weekend like any other day: An opportunity to treat your body as well as it deserves.

12. Start small
Here’s the good news: No one is going to stop you from ordering seconds. So be like any good businessperson, and start small. Here’s exactly how expensive it really is when you go for the “bargain”:

•    7-Eleven. Gulp to Double Gulp Coca-Cola Classic: 37 cents extra buys 450 more calories
•    Cinnabon. Minibon to Classic Cinnabon: 48 more cents buys 370 more calories
•    Movie theater. Small to medium unbuttered popcorn: 71 additional cents buys you 500 more calories
•    Convenience store. Regular to “The Big One” Snickers: 33 more cents packs on 230 more calories
•    McDonald’s. Quarter Pounder with Cheese to Medium Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal: An additional $1.41 gets you 660 more calories
•    Subway. The 6- to 12-inch Tuna Sub: $1.53 more buys 420 more calories
•    Wendy’s. Classic Double with Cheese to Classic Double with Cheese Old Fashioned Combo Meal: $1.57 extra buys you 600 more calories
•    Baskin Robbins. Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Kids’ Scoop, to Double Scoop: For another $1.62, you’ve added 390 calories

The bottom line: For 8 bucks, you’ve bought yourself 3,620 calories. If you eat each of these foods once a week but go with the smaller size—again, your favorite foods, but more reasonable sizes—you’d save about $417 a year. That’s enough to put you on a plane to the Bahamas, where you can show off your new body. After all, you’d also save 188,240 calories a year, or 54 pounds of belly fat! I can think of no better investment.

 

References: David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding (2011) 12 Best Restaurant Weight Loss Tricks retrieved from, http://health.yahoo.net/experts/eatthis/12-best-restaurant-weight-loss-tricks