UFIT Urban Fitness, Singapore's Leading Independent Fitness Provider – Fitter, Leaner, Stronger!

Archive for November, 2010

Strength Training

I can’t begin to explain the way it makes me feel when regular guys (and girls) tell me they’re in the gym doing weights these days and they are doing a body-part “split” routine. Why?? Well 3 weeks ago I posted this article about muscle imbalances.

The traditional body-part “split” routine was developed by bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger who wanted to “isolate” muscles in a bid to completely breakdown the fibres in that muscle. The theory is that this then allows the muscle to regenerate and build bigger than it was previously. And by “splitting” a larger muscle with a smaller muscle for example chest and biceps, the larger group could be worked first and although fatigued the individual would still have the energy to work the smaller muscle group afterwards.

For reasons discussed in the previous post for most people this method is a recipe for muscle imbalance and a stepping stone to injury. The reason why a lot of Trainers still use such methods is they are poorly educated by whatever organisation they are working for.

So what should you be doing instead? Some people advocate full-body workouts where every muscle part is trained 3 times per week. I’m linking an article in this paragraph from Mens Health magazine about a chap that advocates such a methodology. It’s pleasing to see a magazine I don’t really rate printing quite a good article, however my problem with it is the person is still advocating using lifts and exercises that I feel are non-functional. Check out the “slide show” of 5 exercises to understand what I’m talking about!

I’m on the same page regarding 3 sessions per week but from my perspective the lifts must be Olympic-style. Also the information from research in the article about growth potential for 3x per week V body-splits was very interesting and should interest a few of you out there 🙂 Here’s the link to the article.

Has anyone had a crack at the Olympic Lifts we have in our video section of this blog?? Let me know. Please use UFIT as a resource. At UFIT Re-Tox last night I had a very good discussion with a couple of members and I hope they took a few things away from that. Do you have any questions, just leave them at the end of this post!



UFIT on Facebook

UFIT Run, Oct 09 and 23, 2010

Hi everyone sorry for the UFIT Run inactivity recently but judging by last night, Run is BACK! Still as we head into December, eye’s start going off balls (so to speak) and fitness becomes secondary to partying, it seems 🙂 So we will play it by ear for Run going through December….

The 9th saw Grant Axe Rawlinson and Mat Howe take centre-stage and go head to head around Fort Canning. Top stuff, no records but a massive session. It was a session recorded by ESPN-Star Sports for Axe’s Video Blog – http://www.espnstar.com/media-player/ (click on “other sports” and then “hit squad” and look for “Axe for Everest”.

The session on the 16th was cancelled due to rain…….

Last night we had 5 Ufitters, Gavin Kramer and Lydia Daly on debut and regular Runners Diana Fox, David Hug and Hetul Patel. Excellent efforts all round, particularly so for David who achieved his best ever Total Elapsed Time and the 5th best ever TET! David also grabbed a share of 3rd place on Top Times for Hill St Blues, well done mate!

Here are the times from last night plus the 9th and click here for Top Times

09.11.10 Stairway to Heaving Axe 0:01:36 Mat H 0:01:36 Main Street Axe 0:03:42 Mat H 0:03:48 No Picnic at Raffles Axe 0:01:43 Mat H 0:01:46 Hill St Blues Axe 0:03:11 Mat H 0:03:17 The Hexing Vex Axe 0:02:11 Mat H 0:02:14 Big Monsta Axe 0:06:48 Mat H 0:06:52

23.11.10 Stairway to Heaving David H 0:01:28 Gavin 0:01:30 Hetul 0:01:30 Lydia 0:01:55 Diana 0:02:12 Main Steet David H 0:03:05 Gavin 0:03:15 Hetul 0:03:40 Lydia 0:03:58 Diana 0:04:42 No Picnic at Raffles David H 0:01:36 Gavin 0:01:38 Hetul 0:01:54 Lydia 0:02:03 Diana 0:02:17 Hill St Blues David H 0:02:39 Gavin 0:02:47 Hetul 0:03:49 Lydia 0:04:07 Diana 0:04:29 The Hexing Vex David H 0:01:58 Gavin 0:02:07 Hetul 0:02:20 Lydia 0:02:20 Diana 0:03:04 Big Monsta David H 0:04:39 Gavin 0:05:05 Lydia 0:07:11 Diana 0:07:29 Hetul dns

UFIT Black and Blue Promo Video

A recent BnB was attended by Devon Wong and his brother Cliff. They have kindly produced this video, thank you guys!! –



UFIT on Facebook


Muscle imbalances, injuries….

Muscle imbalances are very common. Sometimes they’re very easy to spot for instance check out this Facebook Page dedicated to Rafael Nadal’s arms and how much bigger his left arm is to his right (he is a left-hander, of course). I’ll put the picture here as well –

In this photo it’s clear his left forearm is particularly larger than the right. This is a worry for him as his shirts won’t button around his wrists correctly and people will start referring to him as tennis’ “elephant man”. They will.

But seriously a guy like Nadal has ended up with this gross (not in the “ewwww” gross but in the “big” gross..) difference due to the fact he hits a lot of tennis balls, a lot, with only his left arm working. But then why doesn’t Roger Federer have the gross difference in arms or some of the other tennis players? Actually if you look closely a lot of pro tennis players do have the imbalance but perhaps don’t suffer the same scrutiny our fine Spanish dude does! I say a lot but not Federer, nor some of the other top guys like Djokovic for instance. Why does Nadal have it but not others? I would take an educated guess and say it’s due to their Trainers being unaware of muscle imbalances and the potential for injury they create. Maybe Nadal’s trainer sucks? Although there’s no doubt Nadal is fit, running down shots that most wouldn’t even attempt. Maybe his Trainer is good on cardio and not so good on strength?

I have blogged about training like a bodybuilder in the past. You know the style, training splits that involve chest/biceps, back/triceps, quads/hamstrings, shoulders/calves, these being the usual splits. Guys and girls that train like this regularly have problems, they may HATE legs day so effort levels are low. Or they hate back/tri day. Or they always do legs day on the weekends, when they have a lot of time to do smackloads of sets. Or travel cuts a swathe through their program and 1 session always gets neglected. This is a recipe for muscle imbalance because try as they might, effort levels always vary and as a consequence, growth varies as well.

The top professional bodybuilders take photo’s, use video, watch themselves in the mirror and have coaches that appraise their physiques. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are using software that allows them to determine their proportionality and symmetry. But your average Joe doesn’t have such expertise or knowledge available. He/she can’t determine whether they’re training with enough intensity every time and how to mix things around to get to the desired result. Which is winning a bodybuilding competition. That’s why there is bodybuilding and bodybuilders. Or more accurately the competition is a visual comparison between various meat-heads conducted by other meat-heads. Sorry but it’s true. So if all this is about winning a competition where physiques are judged against each other, why are 80% of people training like this in gyms when virtually none of them will compete? Can someone tell me? Is it a knowledge issue. I mean is it they don’t know any better and certainly it’s very clear most professional personal trainers don’t?

What if you lifted weights using your whole body? In a style that incorporated many muscles and joints all at the same time? Wouldn’t that significantly reduce the potential for muscle imbalance? After-all, if they’re all working together at the same time, there actually can’t be any imbalances because your not isolating a muscle or group.

Does that then mean machines are pointless? Oh damn, yes it does! Sorry Life Fitness, Nautilus, oops Technogym (except of course Kinesis – wonderful!!), Hammerstrength, Cybex etc etc…..

Dean said to me once “bro, you know one of the best core exercises is the push up” and he’s right. Core, upper body, both working, hard! Then you can do split hands, wide, narrow, push jumps, superman’s, endless!! Who needs a machine to regress your physique?? Because regress and point you in the direction of injury is what machines will do.

Train smart. Train with people that KNOW fitness. People that understand the body and what it takes to make it work for you!



UFIT on Facebook

UFIT Run, November 2, 2010

UFIT Run hit Fort Canning last night with 4 Ufitters that included 2 triallists, 1 member doing Run for only the second time and another member on debut. Whilst not the outright competitiveness and close racing from last week, every Runner tested his/herself all around the Park. Simon Myers, returning after debuting last week, ran a Total Elapsed Time 1 second faster than last week, there’s an improvement! Hetul Patel on debut ran strongly throughout and triallists Rena and Martin both put in highly credible performances.

And the session did also provide another record, a second place TT to Simon for his brilliant 4min 28 on The Big Monsta, missing John Ray’s record by a second!! Simon ran a 4min 39 behind Chris Knott’s 4min 35 last week so an excellent 11 sec improvement this week 🙂 Plus an entry onto the UFIT Top Times records on the website!! Just quietly he bumped out Andy Perkins on Big Monsta so Perks now has 3 thirds left……poor Perky!! 🙂

Here’s last night’s times –

Stairway to Heaving Hetul 0:01:30 Simon 0:01:32 Martin 0:01:55 Rena 0:02:17; Main Street Simon 0:03:23 Hetul 0:03:44 Martin 0:04:39 Rena 0:05:03; No Picnic at Raffles Simon 0:01:42 Hetul 0:01:59 Martin 0:02:09 Rena 0:02:33; Hill St Blues Simon 0:02:48 Hetul 0:03:17 Martin 0:04:10 Rena 0:04:37; The Hexing Vex Simon 0:02:00 Hetul 0:02:11 Martin 0:02:35 Rena 0:03:10; Big Monsta Simon 0:04:28 Hetul 0:06:53 Martin 0:07:05 Rena 0:07:41

Vibram’s III

Ok so here’s the third update on the Vibram’s. I have purchased my second pair, the Bikila, being the running model –

So here they are, GREAT, aren’t they??!! Oh I know there’s a lot of scepticism out there but that’s purely your preprogrammed response to something new. You need to try and work on that preprogrammed response, it maybe holding you back 😉

The Bikila has a different setup to the Treksport. The soles are smoother so when you’re running there is less resistance at the footstrike. They also have a strap that loops back across the top of the shoe in the other direction to the Treksport. The strap is also fixed at the side of the shoe and is not wrapped around the other side first, like the Treksport. The Treksport being an all-terrain shoe probably needs to offer the foot more support.

The other interesting thing about the Bikila is I had to buy a size up so 45 instead of 44 due to not being able to get my foot in and down into the size 44 shoe. The entry area of the Bikila is very stiff but the extra bit of toe room is nice 🙂 Hopefully they won’t stretch too much!

So now into week 6 or so using the Vibram’s and the (now) $429 experiment is going really well!

I believe the feedback loop that has reactivated between my feet-brain-feet has significantly improved my running technique. This feedback seems to be restricted by most shoes. The mass of plastic primarily being the chunky rubber soles of most “typical” running shoes restricts the brains ability to communicate with the feet via the feedback mechanism that we as humans have had as an inherent ability from when we were cavemen (and women).

To understand this further, think of the feet as sensors much in the way hands are. Touching things with our hands tells our brain many things about the object we are touching and we react accordingly. Is it hot, is it slippery, is it heavy?? If we are picking up something heavy, our brain receives the feedback and instructs our fingers to contract more tightly and to recruit more muscles in the forearm. The brain may even instruct us to pull the item towards our bodies to offer additional support. This is sensory feedback at work. Our feet work in a very similar way. Have you ever dipped your toe into a cold pool??

In my previous Vibram’s post, I mentioned in point 1 and 2 that the dorsi/planterflexion had improved, there was greater lower leg muscle involvement and I felt I had better cornering ability. I have realised this is all due to improved feedback and the most significant thing that is negatively impacted by your typical running shoe.

As I have said previously the longer term effects of wearing Vibram-type shoes with their minimal cushioning is at this stage unquantifiable. Maybe the improved biomechanics due to the re-opening of the feedback loop may counter this potential side-effect?

And what about the longer term social aspects of being described as an amphibian or Man from Atlantis by a “concerned UFIT member”….nevertheless, we will press on!!



UFIT on Facebook