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Do this before you start running

If you’ve read the previous articles on running, you now know that your bodies’ own shock absorbers are of crucial importance.

Whenever I work with clients that want to either get into or- improve their running performance, I test them on multiple abilities.
One of those is their ability to jump. or actually, to land. 

By practicing and optimizing your jumping mechanics, you create can learn how to use your ankles, knees, and hips to decelerate impact. It teaches the central nervous system how to make all the different muscles and joints to work together in an efficient way.

These are the conditions for a healthy jump and landing.

  • Knees track the first 2 toes during the jump and the landing
  • There is a smooth transition between ankle, knee and hip flexion during the land
  • There is a smooth transition between ankle, knee and hip extension during the jump
  • No noticeable impact may be heard during the landing “or Ninja-style landing”
  • Has to be performed barefoot

This is how to test it for yourself, though I strongly advise getting a set of trained eyes to accompany you for a good assessment.

  • Put your phone on camera mode and select the “Slow-Motion” option.
  • Make the jump at least three times while taking separate videos for it.
  • Rate the technique on the points above. Sound usually doesn’t transfer well to slow-mo videos so you’ll have to rate that yourself.

Here’s a video of my athletes doing box jumps in slow-mo, what do you think?

 

Also, if you want to read more, Click here to find some shocking facts about running

 

 

Gyms in Phnom Penh

 

 

If you’re looking for an option to get Fit and Healthy in Phnom Penh, I’ve listed a couple of options in different facilities with options for every budget.

Fully equipped gyms:

The Place

 

This is the most well-known Fitness center and has all the facilities you could need. Top of the line equipment, pool, steam, sauna and group classes. They have 2 locations (which does not mean you can go to both on the same membership for some strange reason).

Page: https://www.facebook.com/theplacefitnesscenter/

Pricing: 60$ and up

Rating: 5/10
Would recommend: No

Superfit

Comparable to the Place with lots of space, good equipment, and pool/steam/sauna. They also have a nice outdoor space with lots of material to throw/climb/jump. So if you’re looking into a more CrossFit or HITT approach, you can do that here. In front of the gym, there is a massive parking space (which is rare) and there’s also a great atmosphere which was an important factor for myself.
Prices range from around 40-60$ per month depending on the duration of membership and if they’re running a promotion, which is quite often.

Rating: 7.5/10
Would recommend: Yes

 

Crossfit Gyms:

Amatak

This is the first Crossfit gym in Cambodia and they recently moved to a new location in Russian market. They have a strong focus on community-based fitness and offer group classes like crossfit and bootcamp. All the coaches are certified teachers and are driven to give you a great experience. Prices are 80-130$ depending on the type of membership. They also have a kitchen that focuses on healthy meals.

Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/AmatakFitness/

Rating: 8/10
Would recommend: Yes

 

 

Yiqi Crossfit

In Chinese, YiQi, pronounced yee-chee, means togetherness. The CrossFit YiQi logo personifies the uniqueness of our fitness center with our mascot, the Yi qi–half-bird, half-dinosaur discovered in China. The mascot is rendered in Khmer art style to symbolize the arrival of the world-renowned CrossFit Fitness onto the Cambodian scene. The black color represents the high-intensity workouts of CrossFit, while in contrast, the lime green gives a fresh, healthy feel to the atmosphere of our CrossFit YiQi center. Our motto, “Leave No One Behind”, embodies our most important principle: the spirit of fellowship one will feel immediately upon joining the community.

 

Page: https://www.facebook.com/crossfityiqi/
Pricing: 80$ and up
Rating: 8.5/10
Would recommend: Yes

Basic (local) Gyms

Fit zone

 

Very basic, but has everything you need, if you know what to do. Friendly people and open from early morning until late. No aircon.

Page: https://www.facebook.com/fitzonelap
Pricing : 3000 Riel (0.75 cents) per time
Rating : 9/10
Would recommend: yes

 

S-Fitness

Very comparable to Fit-zone and mostly a matter of personal preference

Page: https://www.facebook.com/sfitnesspage/
Pricing: 3000 Riel (0.75 cents)
Rating: 8/10
Would recommend: Yes

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Why you can’t trust Science

 

 

Can we trust Science?

 

I’ve been getting pulled into many discussions regarding health, exercise, and nutrition lately and the trend is clear: Everything needs to be SCIENCE BASED.

This is a good thing, or at the very least, the idea is good.

It’s good to want to support your thoughts and findings with some kind of testing to see if what you’ve seen or done is replicable or that it was just a combination of circumstances.

There are, however, some issues to the current use and limitations of science that I have problems with and I think they’re worth a share so that you are aware of it the next time you read the sentence “Scientific research shows”

1# Cherry Picking

Take an interesting topic on nutrition and it won’t take you long to find 100+ different scientific studies on it. It’s very common for people to pick a scientific study that fits their argument and use that as “proof”. If you don’t have the knowledge, or time, for that matter, to take a good look at what that article actually says, it’s an understandable result to accept that as truth.

You’ll also want to ask yourself the question: who is benefitting from this bit of research? It has happened more than once that scientific studies have been over/underplayed to favor the financer of the study.

 

#2 Science has been wrong more times than it’s been right

Take this example of cholesterol and the drastic dangers of it on your cardiovascular system. It’s a funny explaining video on how Science was wrong on it many times. It’s not that scientific studies are badly done necessarily, there are many other factors in play.
We could have been asking the wrong questions, doing the wrong tests, or didn’t quite have the right instruments to do proper testing -and who says we do now? –

 

#3 Human Errors

Science may sound bulletproof, but it’s still executed by humans. And we make mistakes.  When we have problems that can’t be explained easily we tend to blame stress for pretty much everything but stress is never factored in when it comes to scientific research. Not for the scientists, and not for the participants. But we do make mistakes. Constantly. We make them when remembering facts, with what we are supposed to write down, and sometimes, well, it helps to get paid $50.000 to say something that goes against everything you know is true

#4 Research is not Research

Anecdotal evidence, expert opinions, cross sectional studies, they’re often presented as evidence but the actual value of them in terms of the hierarchy of scientific studies is not very high. There’s a pretty serious change that there are another couple of studies of the same level of reliability that prove the conclusions of yours, wrong. And otherwise, there will probably be one very soon.

 

 

#5 Research can be slow to catch on

 

Sometimes we practice certain principles that are based on scientific research for years, only to find out that it was the wrong approach all along. I touched on that with my 2nd point but here’s another great example on how we’ve overplayed the importance of calories in weight loss. It’s still the most practiced approach (and it does have value) but the point is that only now we are finding that it’s most likely hormones that play a crucial part in weight loss, and not just energy balance. This video is a long one but has very valuable information that might change the way you think about weight loss.

 

As always, I’d love your thoughts about these things. Because I need any insights I can get 🙂

 

Mark

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Burn&Learn III : Fitness Food (Butter Coffee)

 

In this video, you’ll learn why I put butter in my coffee every morning.  You’ll learn if butter is really that bad for you (spoiler alert, it’s not) and why this treat is not only good for your body, but for your brain as well.

Here are some key notes:

  • Bulletproof coffee is a mix of MCT oil, Grassfed Butter and Coffee
  • Brings down appetite, clears brain fog
  • The idea of chewing on coffee beans and animal fat is actually very old
  • Saturated fat is not the enemy it’s made out to be
  • It’s great for Ketosis
  • Ketones are a great fuel for the brain
  • Represses oxidative stress
  • Caffeine boosts ketone production
  • Having carbs with BP coffee is not advisable
  • There’s way more in the Video 🙂

Credit: What I’ve Learned 

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Readers Question: Cracked rib, can I tape it?

I fell three weeks ago. I thought it was okay, but the next day it turned out that I damaged my ribs. Thanks to paracetamol, I have no problems with exercise. In addition, an elastic bandage gives relief during walking, but that is not really comfortable. My question is whether I would be helped extra with taping while walking? If it is possible to tape the ribs at all?

-Miek

 

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist

Yes, Athletic tape can certainly support your ribs. Thanks to the tape, there will be fewer shocks on the ribs during walking. And that can help a lot! And if the Tape is placed right on the site of the bruise, this can have a good pain-decreasing effect. Some techniques can even speed up the recovery of the bruise.

There are different techniques and you will have to find the one that works best for you. Probably, a technique that imitates the function of your bandage will be a good option to start with. That is why I advise you to do this with a certified therapist. Taping ribs is quite tricky to do yourself. He/she can show you how to do it and apply the first one for you. It should be able to stay on for 4-7 days so sometimes you only need it once!

PS.

Here are the 5 most commonly asked questions about Athletic Tape

 

Best of luck,

 

Mark

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Readers Question: Cramp during workout

Last Monday I did an hour of bootcamp. The same night I woke up with cramps and sore muscles. The Tuesday after I ran with a limp and I had really strong muscle pain. I expected even more muscle pain on Wednesday because it is usually the worst two days after exercise, but I did not have any problems anymore. How is it possible that I had such a strong pain burden, but it was quite short?

-Ilona

 

Mark Chen, physiotherapist

A muscle cramp is a relatively normal and common problem, but in most cases perfectly preventable. The cause of a cramp is simply because too many muscle fibers contract at the same time and then “hold on” to each other. That is painful, and produces enormous tension in the muscle, but in most cases it is not harmful. There are several factors that can influence the risk of cramps.

One of the contributing factors is the internal environment of the muscle, for example:

– low glucose (sugar) content in the muscle
– poor fluid balance (too little fluid intake before, during or after training)
– a mineral deficiency

The muscles have an excellent circulatory system, so if the problem is metabolic in its nature, you will often no longer suffer the next day. As seems to be the case with you.

Circumstances and sportswear also have a strong influence. Have you had very tight footwear or stockings that could impede blood circulation? Or did you, for example, train while it was very cold outside? These are also factors that can play a significant role.
Just go for a walk through cold water and then immediately go jogging again. Very uncomfortable!

Also, do not underestimate that some boot camp training can be very heavy. If your physical condition is not good enough to “keep up” with everything, muscle fatigue can simply be the cause.

The question is, was this an incidental problem? Then maybe you just had bad luck, or trained a little too hard. Do you often suffer from cramps? Then it will probably be worthwhile to look at your fluid intake, diet and other factors above.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Mark

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Readers Question: When to stretch?

In the gym, we always stretch after the lesson. I have also heard that you just have to stretch before exercising, or after warming up. What is the best?

-Merel

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist:

There is a lot of discussion about stretching. For years scientific research has been done to establish the value of stretching before, during and after training. Yet there is still little clarity about what the best way of stretching is and when it can best be done.

In addition, there are also a lot different of ways to stretch, for example static, active or dynamic. All there own strengths for different goals. So the most important question is: what do you want to achieve with the stretching?

The main reason for stretching is relaxation or restoring the resting tension of the muscle. This is often done after training because it has a soothing effect on the muscles. Especially static stretching is suitable for this. Often a light stretch is maintained for a longer period (more than 30 seconds).

To get ready for training, you can actively or dynamically stretch as warming up. This way, you prepare the muscles for a work to come.

Stretching is an important part of a complete training, but is an art in itself. Choosing the right version, maintaining good technique and breathing are all important conditions for your results. So consult your instructor or coach once and see where you can improve.

Hope that helps!

 

Mark

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Episode 4: Self testing the Front-line