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Archive for October, 2010

Ab’s, you want them??

I know a lot of people desire, really, truly, desire that 6-pack! It can become obsessive, I’ve seen it and it’s particularly troublesome (and very amusing) for the narcissist. You know that guy or girl that lives his or her life reading magazines like Muscle & Fiction or it’s sister magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers….did I say Muscle & Fitness Hers oh I meant Muscle & Fiction Hers….lol I saw a guy I know refer to that muscle magazine of ALL muscle magazines as Muscle & Fiction, I just love that name 🙂

I know Arnie wouldn’t, nor would Chief Science Writer for M&F Jim Stoppani who I heard speak in Thailand recently. As I said at the time, Jim either dumbed-down the information he was imparting so we could understand it (thereby assuming that we were at a very, very low level of intellect) or he has someone of reasonable intelligence doing a lot of writing for him back home……but generally confirming long-held suspicions re the quality of material mainstream muscle mags contain.

Ab’s…..it goes back to the old question, do you train like a bodybuilder or do you want to train like an athlete and benefit from the body that style of training provides?

How many times I see some fellow in the gym, wander into the warmup area when I’m, well, doing my warmup and look for some space, find a ball and do some crunches. You know about 10 or so, wander around a bit, come back and do 10 more and then maybe a third set and then up and leave. Session ended. He must be thinking, “oohhhhh, edging nearer to that 6-pack with those 3 minutes of ab’s I’ve been doing for 2 years now. Can’t WAIT!! I’ll be looking just like that guy on the cover (above, if you hadn’t noticed…) of Muscle & Fiction way soon!!!”

I wonder about the judgement of some people. So you will do a workout in the gym for 50 minutes or so then come and do 3 minutes of abs and get a 6-pack? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…….did I make my point?

For a start ab’s at the end of a session is by and large a waste of time. The abdominal muscles, primarily the abdominus rectus and the external obliques are part of the “core”, that area of the body that is so, sooooo misunderstood. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again if need be), take away arms and legs (and the head) and what is left is your core. The whole lot, so in old language your torso. So it’s more than your abs and lower back muscles and as such must be treated a whole lot differently.

How do you really work the core (and by default your abs)? You start at the beginning of the workout and you activate the core then and there! By engaging, or switching ON the muscles, bones and connective tissues of the core at the start of the session and then you proceed through a proper workout, for that check out our video section, one that treats the body as a single, working unit, your core will work like mad for the whole session! You can’t fail to start seeing your desired 6-pack.

Well if you eat right as well……there’s always a catch lol 🙂 I am forever amused at people who tell me they work their abs like crazy, do all the right things in the gym (hmmmm) but as they smash down the burger and fries whilst swilling a few beers, tell me, NOTHING seems to work???

Ok so there’s room in the diets for a burger and beers occasionally but if you’re eating that way 2/3 times a week, see you later Teddy Bear! But this post isn’t about food…..

this post is about getting the 6-Pack –

Activate your core at the beginning of a workout; lifting needs to be done with Olympic-style lifts; heavy weights, low reps; work with intensity. Not sure about some of this stuff, talk to me!!

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UFIT Run, October 26, 2010

WHAT a session last night! UFIT Run was huge! 8 committed individuals smashing it around Fort Canning and smashing records!! I literally don’t know where to start! So I may as well start at the top! Both, yes BOTH, Total Elapsed Times records were smashed last night! Stand up Chris Knott (14min 48secs) and Ann Marie O’Brien (16min 40sec) the new Mens and Womens record holders respectively! Both records were long-standing the womens (held by Carolyn Pryor) was almost 3 months old and the mens (held by Andy Perkins) was more than 4 months old!! WOW what a BIG session. But it didn’t stop there!!

Chris beat his record on Main St, a record that he set in the first week of June!! He also ran PB’s on Hill St and Big Monsta to grab shares of second place on both those runs on the Top Times list. Excellent, excellent running from Knotty!! Is he the Fittest Man in UFIT??

Ann Marie for her part (and it must be said, on debut at UFIT Run!) snared outright record TT’s on 2 runs and an equal first on another, a second and a third to boot. Is Ann Marie the Fittest Woman at UFIT??

Both athletes have compelling arguments in the affirmative!!

But  the records didn’t stop with those 2! Elliot Rogers proved his 3rd placing on Hill St Blues last week was no fluke by SMASHING the record THIS WEEK by almost 10 seconds. If you know this run you will know that is simply amazing! Rounding off the night’s records Grant Axe Rawlinson grabbed a second place TT on No Picnic at Raffles with a great run. Shame the ESPN cam wasn’t there!!

Probably the most interesting stat to come out of last night is 4 Ufitters ran into the top 10 of mens  TET’s!! That’s right, 4 of the top 10 total elapsed times ever run at UFIT Run were set last night!! Plus of course Ann Marie’s number 1 ranking.

1, Chris Knott; 4, Axe Rawlinson; 8, Jay Kumpel (on debut); 10, Tom Burrell (triallist), plus Simon Myers ran the 11th!!

Top Ten TET’s to follow, plus all last nights times and please check out the Top Times on the website!

Mens TET’s

1 Chris 0:14:48 26.10.10;       2 Perks 0:14:54 17.06.10;       3 Chris 0:15:14 29.07.10;       4 Axe 0:15:20 26.10.10;       5 Perks 0:15:27 01.07.10;       6 Patrick 0:15:35 17.06.10;       7 Chris 0:15:39 19.10.10;       8 Jay 0:15:41 26.10.10;       9 Johnny 0:15:47 29.07.10;       10 Tom 0:15:52 26.10.10

Womens TET’s

1 Ann Marie 0:16:40 26.10.10;       2 Carolyn 0:16:52 29.07.10;       3 Kit 0:17:30 12.10.10;       4 Zu 0:18:31 10.06.10;       5 Carolyn 0:18:37 08.07.10;       6 Courtney 0:18:59 14.09.10;       7 Natalie 0:19:13 29.07.10;       8 Courtney 0:20:06 19.10.10;       9 Meagan 0:20:14 28.09.10;       10 Courtney 0:20:21 02.09.10

Last nights times

Stairway to Heaving Chris 0:01:19 Elliot 0:01:21 Ben 0:01:22 Axe 0:01:24 Tom 0:01:28 Jay 0:01:31 Simon 0:01:33 Ann Marie 0:01:37 Main Steet Chris 0:02:55 Axe 0:03:03 Tom 0:03:05 Jay 0:03:07 Elliot 0:03:08 Simon 0:03:09 Ben 0:03:17 Ann Marie 0:03:24 No Picnic at Raffles Axe 0:01:27 Chris 0:01:33 Jay 0:01:34 Elliot 0:01:35 Tom 0:01:36 Ben 0:01:38 Simon 0:01:39 Ann Marie 0:01:41 Hill St Blues Elliot 0:02:24 Chris 0:02:33 Axe 0:02:45 Tom 0:02:46 Jay 0:02:48 Simon 0:02:50 Ann Marie 0:02:53 Ben 0:02:53 The Hexing Vex Axe 0:01:52 Chris 0:01:53 Jay 0:01:57 Tom 0:02:02 Simon 0:02:04 Ann Marie 0:02:09 Elliot 0:02:15 Ben 0:02:22 Big (kinda) Monster Chris 0:04:35 Simon 0:04:39 Jay 0:04:44 Axe 0:04:49 Tom 0:04:55 Ann Marie 0:04:56 Elliot 0:05:47 Ben 0:06:28


UFIT Run, October 19, 2010

The interest in UFIT Run gathers!! 7 more Ufitters had a crack at the Top Times (TT) and of course, bettering their own personal times for each of the 6 runs and their combined Total Elapsed Time (TET). Some like Roisin Lane, Mark Sherwood, Elliot Rogers and Rob Davies were doing UFIT Run for the first time, laying down their best shot in preparation for coming back in subsequent weeks and months and being f a s t e r !!! Rob was trialling UFIT and he must have wondered what he got himself in for!! He subsequently signed up anyway so clearly made of tough stuff 🙂 UFIT Run IS harder than a typical UFIT session, only because it requires a maximal effort on all 6 runs. It’s a test. A test of your fitness and a way of gauging your progress as you tick over regular UFIT sessions and any other fitness work you do. But it’s fun as well and the camaraderie shared amongst the group as each person arrives at the end of his/her run is brilliant!!

Also on deck last night were Courtney Sherwood (picking up a 3rd place Top Time on Vexing Hex, run 5), Chris Knott (running the 5th fastest ever TET although Chris does already hold the 2nd fastest) and David Hug, Mr Consistency, running a TET 2 seconds slower (16min02 to 16min00) than he ran 2 weeks ago! And claiming another top 10 TET to his record collection!!

It was a bit wet last night so fast times were not really going to happen so it’s a credit to these guys for being able to maintain speeds/fitness…..in the dry next time, watch out!!

However the BIG news last night was Elliot claiming a 3rd place TT on Hill Street Blues, on UFIT Run debut!! He beat Andy Perkins 3rd place by 1 second!! Perks at one stage had 5 of the 6 TT’s but now only has five 3’rds whilst still the overall King of the TET’s being the only person to go under 15 minutes for the entire 6 runs!! Perks when are you coming back mate??

 

Ok so Top Times are here, last nights times read on –

Stairway to Heaving Chris K 0:01:31 Elliot 0:01:32 David H 0:01:33 Mark S 0:01:39 Courtney 0:01:51 Rob D 0:02:05 Roisin 0:02:09 Main Steet Chris K 0:03:02 David H 0:03:06 Elliot 0:03:18 Mark S 0:03:47 Courtney 0:04:44 Rob D 0:05:39 Roisin 0:05:50 No Picnic at Raffles Mark S 0:01:32 Chris K 0:01:35 David H 0:01:36 Elliot 0:01:40 Courtney 0:01:55 Rob D 0:02:52 Roisin dns Hill St Blues Elliot 0:02:36 Chris K 0:02:41 David H 0:02:48 Mark S 0:04:00 Courtney 0:04:04 Roisin 0:04:44 Rob D 0:05:37 The Hexing Vex Chris K 0:01:53 Elliot 0:01:55 David H 0:01:56 Mark S 0:01:57 Courtney 0:02:11 Roisin 0:03:35 Rob D 0:03:35 Big (kinda) Monster Chris K 0:04:57 David H 0:05:03 Courtney 0:05:21 Mark S 0:06:31 Elliot 0:08:07 Roisin 0:09:45 Rob D 0:09:45

Doctors, are they really STUPID?

Man the next time I hear a UFIT client or member say to me, “sorry I haven’t been around recently, I have a sore knee (ankle, thigh, arm, shoulder etc) and my doctor told me to rest it“, I will go over to that doctor’s place of work and suggest he/she undertake a course of study in anti-stupidity, probably twice because they’re sure to fail it the first time……MAN!!! Rest It!! Read: I really don’t know what it is and because I’m either too lazy to try and find out or I don’t have the skill-set and can’t be bothered referring you to someone that does. Oh and anyway, I want you to take these painkillers (drugs to mask pain) plus anti-nausea drugs (for the painkillers), as well as anti-inflammatory drugs, all as often as possible because, well, it’s profitable for all concerned and you can claim the cost anyway….so lets just do that. Rest and take drugs. This drives me farking mental!!! What happens at the end of the Rest and the Drugs?? NOTHING!! The injury is usually still there or if not the reason you got the injury in the first place (the CAUSAL factor) is still prevalent hence you get injured again. This is western medicine at it’s bloody-mindedness worst and it helps no-one (oh, except the drug companies…..and the doctors bank balance).

Why don’t we all be a bit more proactive with injuries? Do you wonder why sometimes you get a recurring injury? More often than not it’s the result of poor biomechanics which are essentially the result of poor movement patterns. As children we develop these patterns instinctively but sometimes due to various circumstances, the development process goes awry and we end up with faulty movement patterns.

I see problematic movement patterns regularly, I see it in children at the International School where UFIT teaches children’s fitness and I see it in adults at UFIT sessions. We will always do our best to correct faulty patterns, this is why we demonstrate and then demonstrate again proper lifting technique and in the main part we are successful but we can’t be all the time.

If you experience injuries, if you have one now you can come see UFIT and we will put you through a Movement Screen and Posture Analysis, this will give us a lot of information about why you get injured or how you potentially will get injured.

Or if you feel more comfortable doing it the other way, consult a physio, here in Singapore there a some very good ones. Physionique at Claymore Hill are excellent. They have a staff of very competent physios led by Christina Neo and excellent massage therapists including Trevor Lee, please check them out!!

Ultimately the solution lies with you. Getting advice from a doctor to rest it is usually a professional cop-out and you shouldn’t stand for it. Be proactive and be determined to find out all you can about causal factors for injuries. A UFIT Movement Screen and Posture Analysis is a very good starting point 🙂

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Lifting Weights

It’s unlike me to write anything controversial I know ( 🙂 ) but occasionally I feel the need.

Some will say that a little information is dangerous in the wrong hands and sure I am no expert but I do like to be as thorough as I can. And it’s a never-ending process, you can always improve. So there’s the arse-coverage….

I picked up a glossy, expensive Mens magazine last weekend to see a 2-page spread dedicated to an un-named local fitness “expert” showing the world everything he doesn’t know about his trade. It was, well, sad. There were 4 exercises, every one of them poorly executed. I was so shocked that a guy that I know pretty well, who has his limits and he (sometimes) acknowledges that, would have his name and body (as he was the one in the photo’s) demonstrate, so utterly indescribably badly, 4 basic exercises. Shocking. And this guy is popular, he is very successful, due to his winning some bodybuilding events. There we go again, bodybuilding 😦

It goes to prove that a lot of people don’t do their homework. I mean even a cursory understanding of lifting basics would suggest putting anything under your heels when squatting makes no sense whatsoever. I know the reply from the imbeciles that practice this is, “you can lift heavier!”. No shit Sherlock! Your posterior chain is not working correctly so tricking it into lifting heavy, by decreasing range of motion for one, is amateur-hour so who are you trying to trick? Long term you are shortening muscles and decreasing glute involvement and what would be the result of that? Hamstring tears for one. This whole thing of putting weight plates, or bits of wood or whatever, under heels, is quite simply wrong. Funnily enough it is not dissimilar to running shoes with high heel supports. Checkout my post on Vibram’s, para 5Listen, take a look at your running shoes, how high is the support in the heel? 2cm? 3cm?? Whether your foot strikes heel, mid or for …..This is a very similar scenario to putting something under your heels when squatting (the high heel support in running shoes), as what results in both cases is hamstring shortening and limiting glute involvement resulting in injury. Bad, bad!!

What about lunging in a Smith machine? Is your body the machine we are supposed to be working or is the Smith machine the thing WE are working? I mean any exercise you do that involves the user (us) having to adapt to it (the machine), in this case the Smith will result in an adaptation that suits the machine. Make sense? Er, NO!!! Adaptation is what WE need, so why are we forcing ourselves to use machines that dictate to us range of motion and ultimately, adaptation that suits it? This will again, result in one situation, INJURY because our muscles/joints/kinetic chain will adapt incorrect movement patterns and resulting muscle imbalances will result in INJURY!

There were 2 other exercises he showed the reader. Being someone that doesn’t particularly like negative images I have managed to forget them, Thankfully. But they did involve using machines.

The take home message here. PLEASE.DON’T.USE.MACHINES. Ok sometimes they have their place. Used sparingly they won’t do too much damage. But here’s a warning. If your trainer or if you yourself use machines regularly in the gym, beware. You will limit your achievements and you will increase your chances of injury.

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UFIT Run, October 12, 2010

It seems UFIT Run is gathering pace….lol 🙂 Another good sized group and more new faces on debut including a triallist who almost stole the show!

Firstly however a big apology to Meagan Reus who 2 weeks ago secured a 3rd place on Main St but was never credited with it. Apologies Meagan!

The long-standing mens record for Stairway to Heaving held by Adam Deutsch and Chris Knott has fallen. By 2 whole seconds! Stand up Paul Sedman, doing a trial session so on debut, he monstered the stairs, coming around the bottom behind Ian Joshua he ripped it up, Ian himself equalling the previous record! On top of that, BOTH women and both on debut beat Carolyn Pryor’s record by 3 and 2 seconds respectively, stand up Emma Pledge and Kit Moller!! So a massive start to the session!

And it gets better 🙂 Kit and Emma then ran equal 3min 29’s for Main St, breaking Carolyn’s record for that as well! Kit then went on to claim another first at The Vexing Hex, 2 second’s and a third ensuring she has her name on every one of the Top Times record list. Kit also leaped to second on the Total Elapsed Times list behind Carolyn who still holds 3 individual Top Times!!

Paul wasn’t to be outdone entirely by the girls and came back strongly to claim the Top Time on The Vexing Hex! He also claimed a TET of 16min 07 giving him a top ten TET. Top 10 TET’s follow below.

Check out the Top Times here, here are the results from last night –

Stairway to Heaving Paul S 0:01:16 Ian 0:01:18 Axe 0:01:24 Emma 0:01:31 Kit 0:01:32 James L 0:01:46 Main Steet Ian 0:03:07 Axe 0:03:15 Paul S 0:03:28 Kit 0:03:29 Emma 0:03:29 James L dns No Picnic at Raffles Axe 0:01:30 Paul S 0:01:35 Ian 0:01:45 Kit 0:01:46 Emma 0:01:54 James L 0:01:59 Hill St Blues Paul S 0:02:46 Kit 0:02:59 Emma 0:03:58 James L dns Axe dsq Ian dsq The Hexing Vex Paul S 0:01:37 Axe 0:01:52 Kit 0:02:07 Ian 0:02:08 Emma 0:02:16 James L dns Big (kinda) Monster Axe 0:05:15 Paul S 0:05:25 Kit 0:05:37 Emma 0:05:41 Ian 0:07:05 James L dns

The Top Ten Total Elapsed Times

Men

1 Perks 0:14:54 17.06.10 2 Chris 0:15:14 29.07.10 3 Perks 0:15:27 01.07.10 4 Patrick 0:15:35 17.06.10 5 Johnny 0:15:47 29.07.10 6 David H 0:16:00 05.10.10 7 Johnny 0:16:05 10.06.10 9= Johnny 0:16:07 15.07.10 9= Paul S 0:16:07 12.10.10 10 Neal 0:16:16 29.07.10

Women

1 Carolyn 0:16:52 29.07.10 2 Kit 0:17:30 12.10.10 3 Zu 0:18:31 10.06.10 4 Carolyn 0:18:37 08.07.10 5 Courtney 0:18:59 14.09.10 6 Natalie 0:19:13 29.07.10 7 Meagan 0:20:14 28.09.10 8 Courtney 0:20:21 02.09.10 9 Meagan 0:20:50 21.09.10 10 Tango 0:20:51 08.07.10


Vibram’s II

I mentioned in my first post on the subject of Vibram running shoes that I would update you all on how things were progressing. The good, the bad and the ugly……well, I know you all (well most of you) think they’re ugly so we have that covered 🙂 And I know that Mark is running a book on when I will ditch them lol!! Well standby everyone, I am about to purchase a second pair, the dedicated running shoe the Bikila………

Anyway I’ve been wearing my Vibram Treksport’s for 2 weeks now. I waited a week and a half before I ran in them and last Thursday I ran in Fort Canning. I waited to give my feet a chance to get used to them and by the time the Thursday run came round I had worn them in the gym 5 times, completed 2 BlacknBlues and conducted numerous UFIT sessions in Fort and the Botanics. So I was ready…..

My runs in Fort are usually interval-style. Last Thursday I did a 1.83km loop that has a couple of small climbs in it twice and a 1.2km loop that is pretty flat twice. I bettered my PB’s on all 4 loops!

Here are my observations –

1. During the runs I realised initially and also when I switched off mentally that my feet were “slapping” down onto the pavement. By trying to run “lighter” I believe I improved my biomechanics. Plus it’s very clear I am striking mid to fore-foot, particularly when running uphill so there is (for me at least) greater calf muscle (mainly gastrocnemius it feels) involvement. This has clearly resulted in MASSIVE calf soreness which has lasted until now, Tuesday! It is better now for sure but man!! I am even more convinced now that most conventional running shoes we wear completely interfere with the dorsiflexion/plantarflexion relationship that is a regulator of our running gait. My lower leg muscle involvement feels entirely different wearing the Vibrams and it does feel very natural despite the soreness.

2, When I ran around corners I felt like I was going to tip over, it was very weird! This is definitely a lack of support from the Vibrams and my stabilising muscles around my ankles, having never had to activate/work properly, ever, now having to switch on and contribute. Last night at BnB I felt a big improvement running bends/corners as my muscles start to activate and work properly! It is a strangely liberating feeling, your feet are not cocooned anymore, they are working! And my running around corners has improved as I am “feeling” the pavement much more effectively.

3, After the Thursday run some of my toes were very sore. I woke up Friday and they weren’t sore anymore so I’m figuring that was temporary 🙂

In summary I am saying that these Vibram’s are very much worth a go. Sure they are $200 but so are all general activity/gym/running shoes! I wear the Treksport and I wear them a lot so grabbing the running shoe variation (the Bikila) makes sense in terms of wear and tear.

More to come 🙂

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