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

Archive for March, 2013

Food, who needs it??

Hi guys, it’s Darren here, a few of us at UFIT will be sharing duties on the blog and it’s my turn today!

Some of you reading this will know me, some for a number of years and some, for a relatively short period of time. A while back (ok so a year and a half ago!) I posted on this blog an item about Food. The first major statement I made in that post was my belief that people, generally, eat too much food. And I’m thinking, generally, people would agree! I made a challenge in that post for the reader to drop his/her food intake by a half! A 4 day Challenge! I received some feedback but I didn’t create a big debate about this so I presume everyone believed me, did the 4 day Challenge, lost a load of weight and have been silently thanking me ever since. Or maybe not.

Enter our colleague and now great friend Nathan Williams (Nathan’s own blog is here). Nath is a BIG believer in change and is a walking Change-Agent!! When we first met in mid-2012 he made a statement that resonated with me for a long time, “I can easily drop 2-3 kg’s off anyone in a week and it won’t be all water”, or something like that. It was almost a throwaway comment made during our interview process but I must admit it made me immediately sit up.

Once Nathan was on-board at UFIT we began chatting about stuff and soon enough we were discussing food. He mentioned various individuals including an intriguing chap named Mark Sisson. Mark has an awesome blog and website. What Mark says is not dissimilar to what I was blogging about a year and half back (he was talking about it way before me, of course) but Mark Sisson takes it another few steps forward. Mark engages in and promotes Intermittent Fasting or IF.

FASTING??!! No freaking way!! Well, you better get used to some basic facts regarding food and humans.

The first thing I want you to consider is this. What exactly is body-fat? Why do we have it and what is its purpose?

As humans we are predisposed to store fat. Why? Well for one it’s our basic form of fuel. I recently watched a Youtube video that made the statement that grazing off carbohydrate in our stomachs is our primary fuel source. This is why we need to eat every 2 hours. This is rubbish. Do you think 50 years ago we had supermarkets and fast-food and everyone went around eating every 2 hours? Of course not! What about 500 years ago? What about 50000 years ago when our first true ancestors appeared? Back in those times humans could go days without eating. In these cases their blood-sugar levels must have been really screwed right, I mean, these days we go 3-4 hours without food and we’re getting dizzy, we can’t concentrate and we’re basically in big trouble! Have.to.get.sugar!!

The reality is this 50000 year old “Paleo” man was “fat-adapted”. And so has been subsequently, the entire human population. Remember your Mum saying you must eat 3 square meals a day and how now nutritionists, dieticians and Trainer’s all scoff at that suggestion these days? Paleo man’s food came sporadically and as a consequence he was expert at storing fat. This meant he could go long periods without food using stored fat as energy. Of course water was reasonably plentiful so hydration wasn’t an issue and as we know with water, humans can go long periods without food. And since Paleo man we have done very well thank you storing fat, living off it and then re-storing! All the way through to recent times when we have developed this crazy dependence on sugar.

So this is where the problems with modern food start.

Paleo man predominantly ate meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. He didn’t eat a lot of grains, these came much later in our human development, estimated to be 10,000 years ago so pretty much for 40,000 years we were eating a paleo-type diet. Then 10,000 years ago some communities began farming foods that included grains. There’s debate about whether the grains were being originally grown for human consumption or to feed the recently domesticated animals farming was producing. Either way human consumption of grains began. Ok so back in this agricultural farming “great leap forward” grains were eaten in percentage terms much smaller quantities than what they are eaten in today. Plus the “processing” of these grains was quite rudimentary and didn’t alter the composition of the grain as significantly as it does these days (think shiny, white rice as an example of how a hull covered cloudy browny looking rice grain can be so radically tampered with during “processing”).

That shiny white rice has had all the nutrients stripped from it and is now essentially sugar. So is white bread. So is white pasta. And the other thing is both these 2 are man-made, they aren’t really food anyway, well, not food that our bodies process easily. These are the “white devils”! We have become so dependent on these processed foods we now must eat every 2-3 hours which is not what we are supposed to be doing!

These sugars spike our blood-sugar levels and these are precariously high across the spectrum in developed nations. This is why we have so many health issues, it’s not just diabetes but cancers, coronary heart disease, skin and blood issues, gum and tooth decay and many many more. So not only are we not supposed to be eating these foods based on our genetic predisposition they are making us really, really sick!

So let’s get back to Paleo man and IF, IF is –

The process of not eating food for periods of time and then subsequently consuming nutrients in a timed window.

There are many versions of IF and different people offer different perspectives and “systems” but the bottom line is we fast to break the dependency on sugars and an individual forces his/her body to resume using fat as its primary fuel source. We become fat adapted and not carb-dependent. Our blood-sugar drops and you may suffer some symptoms of this “re-wiring” or re-booting of the primary system but it won’t last long (maybe a day or 2 of headaches). Also note that typically our current blood-sugar levels are way too high having been artificially inflated by these modern diet choices.

Here’s some quick tips –

  1. When fasting drink water, tea and coffee only. Coffee should be black because this is calorie free.
  2. Recognise what massive sugar intake we really have in our food, the following are the biggest culprits – dressings, soft drinks, the “white devils”, alcohol.
  3. Eat whole foods being meat, fruit, vegetable and nuts and seeds. For your information carbohydrates are found in fruit and vegetables and in much better quality than what you get from the white devils!

So what happens on IF? The IF affect is amazing! No longer do you constantly suffer sugar withdrawl when you haven’t eaten for a few hours. You can go hours and hours without feeling any ill-effects. Nothing suffers, not even exercise. You can train in a fasted state and feel strong! I have always said that hormonal balance is what we should be striving towards on our pathway to healthier lives. Exercising in the way we are supposed to, interval style produces positive hormone responses and so does eating with your adopted IF program.

Striving for the holy grail of fitter, leaner, stronger is what we are about, IF will definitely help you!!

At UFIT we have a program called UFAST, an amazingly successful program, check it out!!

Email me at darren@UFIT.com.sg



UFIT is growing!

Welcome to UFIT’s Blog! This is Dean, Technical Director here at UFIT HQ, 88 Amoy St, Singapore!

As we usher in the new year, we are looking forward to bring you cutting edge information in health, fitness and lifestyle

Our trainers here at UFIT are a different breed because we have ongoing technical training sessions weekly which means we are always keeping abreast of the latest developments in fitness and physiotherapy.

We adopt a holistic approach with all our clients and we have a variety of screening processess that allows us to tailor a specific program for each and every individual client. We understand the needs and goals of every client before recommending a training program. And our multi talented staff ensures that there will always be a trainer that can meet the training needs of every client.

Before we proceed, I would like to touch on our new space, which is 88 Amoy Street.

The new space features an open concept to allow our members to perform multi-planar movements with our equipment without the worry of running into another member performing a set of barbell squats!

We also have a Reformer, a heavy kicking bag, an uppercut bag, 2 TRX Rip trainers and a Bulgarian bag as additions to our current equipment list.

The space also allows us to conduct “Lunch Crunch” classes more effectively and also introduce kickboxing and grappling classes to our list of services offered.

Please make time to drop by and say hi and take a look at the new space if you havent already!

So without further ado, here is my first post!

One of the more recent transitions that has taken over the fitness industry is the term ‘functional training’

This is generally a good thing as we see a lot of developments in strength and conditioning and we have a more holistic approach to designing training programs. A lot of trainers and professionals in the industry have benefitted from learning from bright and talented coaches and even sports doctors who are sharing information and exchanging thoughts on the industry.

The only problem as with all new developments in the industry, many trainers jumped on the bandwagon and ditched the traditional solutions and methodologies. Some have even made their clients perform single leg bosu balances with bicep curls to supposedly increase propioception while under load on an unstable surface!

Functional? Maybe, if the client was a performer in Cirque de Soleil.

Many lazy trainers think that by making clients perform fancy moves that look different, it was ‘functional’. While the newer equipment that allows us to train in multiple planes are great, a lot of times performing basic compound lifts with weights is more ‘functional’.

It all boils down to proper application of exercise selection and clients’ goals.

Another problem that I see is with fads, usually being a new piece of equipment or a training system. The fad becomes so popular trainers will make clients spend their whole 1 hour session doing it. This worries me!

Not absolutely wrong but we need to understand that every equipment has its benefits when it comes to training. It should be a tool in a large toolbox in which the trainer will decide which tool will have the most benefit for their client’s training goals. In many situations, having a mat and performing floor exercise progressions can be much more challenging and beneficial than any fancy equipment.

Which is why understanding movements is a big part of fitness training and we need to understand that the body is a complex and integrated system. No muscle in the human body works independently. A squat pattern might not seem like much but with many of us, the complex muscle firing pattern in that movement might not be efficient which could lead to poor posture, poor performance and injuries in the future. Training in all 3 planes of movement is just as important because our body was designed to move in these planes. Every individual and especially athletes in many if not all sports require the mobility, stability and strength in the body to perform their movements efficiently.

Therefore, exercise selection plays a crucial part when designing a training program. We also utilize our equipments in a systematic way according to our clients goals and training levels, not just because we think its cool!

Here at UFIT we utilize a training pyramid that starts from (depending on the client)

-Neural re-education, proprioception

Every client will have to undergo a static postural assessment and the functional movement screen. As mentioned earlier, movements are the basis of every human being and it would be a mistake to overlook this important aspect before embarking on a new program.

Stay tuned for more entries in the next few weeks from James, Darren and Alex and also from some of the more Senior UFIT Training Team!

Dean Ahmad
Technical Director
UFIT Urban Fitness PTE LTD