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Kettlebell workout: Tabatha I (Difficulty 3/10)

Warmup:

1K Run
10 prison squats
10 backstep lunges
10 Yoga Pushups
3 sets

Workout:

Tabatha 1: KB Deadlift  paired with Plank

Tabatha 2: KB Swing  paired with Pushup

Tabatha 3: Clean and Press paired with KB Row

Tabatha 4: Alternate between normal plank/ side plank

Workout duration : 30-45 minutes

Kettlebell :16/20kg  (Dumbbell optional , change clean and press to Thrusters)

 

 

 

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BJJ: What I’ve learned

Mark Chen
Physiotherapist, Personal trainer, Sports Nutritionist.

 

 

I’ve only been into BJJ for a short time and consider myself an absolute newbie. However, even in the short amount of hours I’ve spent on the mat, there are some interested things I’ve learned from it.

 

 

1. Let go of your ego

I’ve always been pretty good at sports. There’s upsides to this (obviously) which is that I tend to pick up quite fast whenever I undertake some kind of new activity. There’s a downside to it as well ; I expect myself to be good at it.
Now here’s a tricky part because I consider myself above average strong, healthy, flexible and reasonably smart, And that’s the mindset I had when I went into my first training sessions.
Ready to go and more importantly, show these other people how strong I am.
How wrong I was.

-It wasn’t just the fact that I ended up losing my consciousness wanting to be to tough to tap-

No, the most surprising factor to me was how little my strength and fitness could do for me on the mat. No matter what I tried, I ended up getting tied up, strangled and gassed quicker, the harder I went in.
A couple of sessions later I let go of my desire to be better than others and decided instead, to take any session as an opportunity to learn. And you know what?
This change in mindset allows me to relax more (I don’t care about “winning” or “losing” during training) and creates space in my head to actually pick up and learn rather than losing energy on trying to prove myself.

2. People that do BJJ are cool

I’ve experienced before that people practicing martial arts in general are very cool and easy going people. This was the case in Teakwondo, Thaiboxing and Krav Maga. I believe it has something to do with them being centered, at ease with their self, and being able to channel their emotions and energy in a very efficient way. At least, that’s how it works for me. But the athletes I’ve been rolling with since I started are all a level beyond this. They’re not just nice to train with, but friendly people that seem sincerely interested in helping you become better as well. It’s nice to feel welcome and at home at a place where you train.

3. Importance of breathing

More and more I look into breathing, the more I’m seeing the overlooked importance of it. But BJJ kind of “forced” me to address it. Simply put, my first training sessions were borderline panic when it came to sparring.
I felt as if I could do nothing. 

No sense of control, no use of my power, no way out.

And you know what is the absolute worst thing to do in a situation like this?

To stop breathing

Thing is, you need to be made aware of this. So something as simple as my training partner telling me to start breathing and relax instead of struggling around like I was about to be killed, makes a gigantic difference when applied,

  • The stress levels go down significantly
  • Energy management is suddenly an option
  • There is space to think and learn

It’s such an easy thing to forget about but it made a world of difference to me.

This video gives an amazing explanation of why good breathing is such a helpful tool.

4. There is so much more to learn

As I mentioned in the start of this article, I’m a complete newbie to the sport. I feel like I’m presented with an enormous encyclopedia of which I get to read just one page at the time, and need to re-read it time and time again to actually understand it.

But I like that.   I have a feeling this sport will become more and more interesting as I put more time into it and that it what I’ll try to do.

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The 4 Stages of Change

Where does change actually begin?

Does it begin with the actions I take?

Does it begin with results?

Does it begin with other people noticing I’m getting results?

If you want to change

This change begins, by the way that you communicate with yourself

There are four stages to changing

Number 1 is : I should change

And the sad reality is that 99.9% of all people are stuck in that stage

There’s literally people that will spend the rest of their life saying “I should change”

And after 80 or 90 years there are dying , thinking, “I should have changed

How can you overcome that?

You want to get to the next stage: “I can change”

Once you realize change is possible, it opens up many possibilites

Now what gets it to the next level?

” I will change “

And the only step between “I can change” and “I will change”

Is taking action.

So you realize you’re able to change, now is the time to get off your lazy ass and take action

To go out and pimp. To get rejected. To go to the gym. To read everything about finance.

Take, action.

I WILL CHANGE

And the good thing is, it feels good, it feels great taking action.

And the last stage is, I AM CHANGE

And that’s literally one of the best feelings in the world.

 

Source: RSD

 

 

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Supplements: BCAA’s (Review)

 

 

Branched Chain amino acids (BCAA’s ) are not necessarily a very popular supplement. It doesn’t promote enormous strength or muscle gains, muscle-bursting pumps or endless endurance.
It has, however, been around for a very long time and has consistently been a part of any high performance athlete’s supplement stack.

What’s the deal?

BCAA’s are known as “muscle protectors”. So if you work out hard , supplement them and you feel less destructively sore – or less long -then when you didn’t take them, they’ve pretty much done their job.

BCAA’s consist of three essential amino acids;  Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine. They’re essential because the body does not produce them on itself, so we need to get them from food or through supplementation.

The main benefits of supplementing BCAA’s can be summed up like this:

  • Enhanced muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein accretion in response to strength training and BCAA supplementation.
  • Improved body weight control and fat loss during energy restricted diets with adequate protein and BCAA.
  • Improved endurance performance via the prevention of central fatigue and/or other factors with BCAA supplementation.

 

Supplement Review: ON BCAA’S

Overall: BCAA’S are “essential amino acids”, building blocks of proteins that the body cannot produce herself. Therefore we need to get them from food or supplementation.
The strength of BCAA’S lies in their ability to protect the breakdown of muscle mass and kicks-tarting the muscle repair.

Effectiveness: I’m definitely less sore and recover quicker than I have on previous workout programs. It’s very hard to say how much of that is attributed to this supplement.

Taste: 6/10 (Raspberry Lemonade) it’s a bit too synthetic for me and a bit too weak at the same time. There’s a “chalky” aftertaste to it as well. Not bad, not good. I’ve had other BCAA’S that were far tastier than this.

Price: 28$ which comes down to about 1$ per scoop.

Would buy again: No

There’s still lots of scientific research being done on the effectiveness for these different mechanisms.

But if you’re ready to learn more take a look at the following links…

https://www.t-nation.com/supplements/bcaa-and-athletic-performance

https://examine.com/supplements/branched-chain-amino-acids/

https://labdoor.com/rankings/bcaa

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Week 2: Progress Update

 

Week 2 Progress:

Weight : 82 KG

Fat % : 14% (-2 %)

Good:

  • Missed 0 Workouts ( Weights 3x, Bjj 2x, Boxing 1x)
  • Increased Weight on all lifts
  • Getting 7+ hours sleep daily
  • No drinking

Needs work:

  • Not eating enough, need more meals
  • Practice patience
  • Fat% still a bit high

Notes:

Everything moves too slow. Which I guess, is a good thing because if my clients are anything like me, they will struggle with this as well. It really helps to keep track of objective progress ( see stat page of 5×5 app ) and imagining what that progress will look like on the broader scale of things.

 

Progress on Big Lifts

 

 

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Mindset: Positive Feedback Loops

During my session with Cheryl, she mentions right at the beginning that she might not be able to workout well.
She’s tired, her sleep quality hasn’t been good and she pulled a muscle in her during gardening work.
I make a note of it, smile at her and say “let’s just see what we can do”. During the workout session, she’s breaking records all over the place.
First, she did full sets with what her 1 rm was 4 weeks ago.
Then she completed double the work of an exercise she struggled with last week.
Last but not least, suddenly she realized that her back wasn’t hurting.

“Actually, I feel a lot better than when I came in”.

I don’t know if this will be the case at the start of the session, but clinical experience shows us that in most cases, it does.
It’s important because this realization creates a positive feedback loop which is the following:

  • I don’t feel good, might not perform well
  • Perform well, or better than expectation
  • Feel good about performance
  • Positive reference for next time when not feeling good
  • Better decision making

As opposed to a negative feedback loop like this:

  • I don’t feel good, might not perform well
  • Decide not to workout
  • Feel bad about not meeting expectations/ Lose progress
  • Lose motivation

Feedback loops

 

Mine, and Cheryl’s takeaway from this:

Especially when in the first 12 weeks of training, it’s important not to give in to expected outcomes that only give you short-term instant gratification. Make decisions based on planning, not on the emotion of the day.
Of course, if you find out that you’re actually hurting or not feeling good during the workout, you can still decide to rest. But at least at that moment you’ve made a decision based on actual feedback of your body and not a projected outcome of the brain.

I’ve been applying this mindset experiment over the last year -not just for fitness purposes- and it has given me great results. Hope it can do the same for you.

Mark



 

 

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10 easy ways to live more healthy

1. You’re not a dog

Stop rewarding yourself with comfort food every time you’ve been a good boy or girl. You are not a dog.
It’s far more productive to reward yourself with good food. Healthy food, good sleep, time to relax or a good massage. Try to establish an upward cycle with habits that increase each other’s value instead of constantly bouncing back and forth between feeling good and feeling guilty.

2. Cut the bullshit

You know how much b******* you are consuming. You know how much sugar you’re getting. How many sodas you’re drinking. How many times you order fries instead of salad on the side. You know it and therefore you know how much of that you could easily cut out to increase the quality of your diet. Take a good and honest look at the amount of stuff that doesn’t add anything of value to your diet and just cut it out.

3. Eat close to nature

The current paleo diet has a lot of things good about it. Most of the things that you’ll be eating and that diet are close to Nature.
So that means you’re either eating something that “had parents” or something that comes pretty directly from the ground. Think meats, fish, eggs, nuts, vegetables.. pretty much all types of a food with a high nutrient density.
Try to stay away of processed foods because usually with the processing comes a lot of addition that you don’t really need. Think about additives for scent, taste enhancers, preservatives, sugars or transfats. The closer you eat to nature the more you remove these unwanted additions from your diet.

4. Watch your calories

Calories in vs. Calories out remains one of the biggest parameters to take control of your diet. The basic Science is quite simple; As long as you consume more than you burn, you gain weight. The moment you consume less then you burn, you lose weight. The challenge is to find the sweet spot between what your body needs for maintenance and for activity.  Though this may seem like a challenge, it is actually quite easy to figure this out. Just download a calorie tracker and use it to note down everything you eat for a week or two and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how you’re doing. Measure and make changes from there.

5. Rev up

Ramp up your engine.  Your metabolism has a very big impact on your health and your body composition. You need to try to rev up metabolism of the body to make sure all the body-building processes take place in the right amount, at the right time. When you’re sitting down for a couple of hours, everything slows down inside the body as well.  There’s a lot of ways you can rev up your metabolism but a good first thing to just start moving more.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take the bicycle instead of the motorbike. Go for a walk instead  instead of bingeing on Netflix. This is not rocket science guys.

6. Short shelf life

Next time you’re out for groceries, try to make sure you aim a for food that doesn’t hold for longer than 2 weeks. This brings us back to the point I made before on eating closer to nature. As long as you make sure you only buy products that have a short shelf life, you’ll make sure that you take a lot of the processed b******* out of your diet. So pay attention next time you go shopping and only take products with a short shelf life. A good diet starts with good shopping.

7. Cut down the toxins

 

Toxins are the opposite of micro-nutrients. Instead of building the body and supporting the immune system they basically sabotage the entire system. They mess with your hormone system , immunesystem and with your mood. These toxins include the more obvious ones like alcohol, tobacco and sugar but also think about additives in food like BPA and phtalates.
Check this T-nation article for more info https://www.t-nation.com/living/fight-the-t-killing-toxins

8. Pull out the sweet tooth

Try to watch your brain and see how dependent you actually are on the nice feeling you get from getting a sugary rush. A lot of people don’t know this, but they’re actually addicted to sugar. Sugar has a comparable effect on the brain as cocaine does. It triggers a strong response in the reward system and the more often you trigger this reward system, the more often you get a “call” for more this good feeling. Long term, this means that usually you won’t even actually need or want the food that you suddenly crave. It’s more that your brain is being hard-wired to tell you that it wants the reward. So it’s your job to start to recognize these signals and start to ignore them to make sure the addictive signals start to wear thin and eventually disappear.

9. More veggies

Double or triple the amount of veggies that you eat. Truth is, it’s very difficult to get too many vegetables – or even enough – in your daily diet and there’s many reasons to put more into your diet.  Think about the enormous nutrient density, the amount of minerals and vitamins that you’re getting and the amount of fiber. It also makes you feel  full you up so that you don’t get trapped into eating junk. The more vegetables you eat, the more nutrients, the less likely you’ll eat crap.

10. Water

Drink water. Lots and lots of water.  Don’t forget, roughly 80% of the body is made up out of water.  I don’t understand how so many people fail to get enough water. There’s plenty and you can get it everywhere. And every little bit extra makes sure that all the processes in your body run more efficiently. You’ll feel better, you’ll move better, you’ll recover better, you’ll sleep better. Plus. because the stomach is more full you won’t be as hungry and  tempted to make bad food choices. Check your water intake and if you don’t get enough, up it. Get a glass of water right now.
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Treadmill Training : Do this, not that #1

I don’t know many people that get riled up when a 10k run on the treadmill is on the menu.

And fair enough, it’s not exactly spectacular. Most people like stimulus, challenge and variety. Treadmill work doesn’t offer any of those, and therefore there’s a big chance you’ll find yourself thinking about other things to do, like binging on pizza and Netflix.
– Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that – , I actually happen to like both.

But for training purposes you might take a bit of a different approach.

Here’s the facts:

  • Slow jogging is NOT effective for either weight loss or increasing aerobic capacity
  • Slow and steady treadmill work is hard on the joints and connective tissue
  • Slow jogging has a poor ROI (return on investment) in terms of calories and hormone response in the body
  • Slow jogging is catabolic, and can cause you to lose muscle tissue (OH NO!!!)

jog sprint

 

The solution:

With the right approach, training on the Treadmill can be effective. You’ll get the most bang-for-your-buck when you try to focus on forms of training that have the ability to increase your Vo2 max* and create EPOC*.
Most of the time, these effects will be obtained from doing high intensity forms of cardio. In some cases this can even help you build muscle because of the necessary explosive demand on the type II muscle fibers and the increase of anabolic hormones such as testosterone, epinephrine and growth hormone rise.

Before getting into the real stuff , get a sense of what it’s like to perform on HIT and see what happens to your Heart-rate during and after.

This is what you do:

Get on the treadmill and do a 3-5 min warm-up. Soon as you’re starting to lightly sweat, you’re ready to begin.
Your goal is to run 1 kilometer as fast as possible. There’s two approaches to this.

  1. choose a steady phase and stick to it. (for example, 11.5km/h will make you do a 5 min KM)
  2. choose a medium phase with 30 second higher speed intervals

After you’ve finished. Note your time and Heart-rate. Take a moment to rest and repeat, trying to beat your previous score.

After you’ve tried this a couple of times you’ll get familiar with pushing the intensity and you’ll learn how to deal with the feeling that comes with a higher heart rate.

Give this a try and I’ll guarantee you won’t have much time to be bored. Post the results below this post so I get an idea of how slow I am compared to you all  😉

 

My first attempt: 5 min 8 seconds , Heart Rate 110 (you can probably draw your conclusions on how hard I “pushed” it on this one)

 

Happy running! More workouts will follow soon.

 

Mark Chen
MarkChenMovement.com

 

PS. If you’re interested in investing in your own treadmill, check out this research into the top models currently available: https://www.reviews.com/treadmills

 

*Google is your friend, my friend… I’ll do write ups about them later, promise.

 

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Ketosis diet: What I’ve learned

After being on Ketosis with some of my clients for about 8 weeks, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grip on what it is, what it does and how to decide it’s something for you.

This is what I’ve learned:

  • You’ll lose weight fast. I’ve dropped down from 83kg to 76kg in 6.5 weeks with a 3.5% drop in fat mass
  • Clients who were strict dropped around 5-8 Kg in 8 weeks, the ones that were not strict dropped significantly less
  • Cheat meals or “refeed” meals didn’t seem to affect weight loss
  • Energy levels were great and steady
  • No noticeable drop in performance during workouts

 

So what is the Ketosis diet ?

Easily put, Ketosis is a state in which the body prefers to use fat as an energy source. This state can be achieved by depleting the bodies’ storage of carbohydrates. Once you get into this state, your body will be running with fat as fuel. It takes around 3 days of strict dieting to get into this fat-burning mode but once you do, there’s lots of benefits. A lot of people, myself included, describe a feeling of being “on”. Having a clear and clean mindset, good energy and lots of motivation. No dips in energy that we know and hate from our carb-splurges.

Marnie Sablan has a great explanatory video on her Youtube Channel which you can see here:

By the way, I’m not familiar with the product promoted in the end nor do I have any type of affiliate connection with them. I just think it’s very well explained.

 

What to do if you’re interested in starting a Ketosis diet?

There’s some excellent sources that can help you on your way (Pm me for more info and I’ll gladly set you up), but it’s important that you start to practice some mindfulness to your eating. Try and analyse your diet and see how much or your daily intake comes from carbs. It will typically take you a week or so get a hang of it. From then, it’s a matter of doing the right kind of shopping.

Shop for meat, fish, eggs, nuts and greens. But be careful, there’s even some vegetables that are on the no-no list!
It’s important to be strict, because even a small amount of carbs can “kick” you out of Ketosis and that will hurt your progress.

 

Be strict and you’ll be amazed at how great it is!

 

Mark Chen

 

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What you need to know about cholesterol

Some facts:

  • In the US, 73.5 million adults suffer from high “bad”LDL Cholesterol levels (30.1%)
  • 1 out of 3 has their situation under control, usually with the use of medication
  • People with high cholesterol have around 50% more chance of heart disease.

 

Cholesterol is a part of fat which has a bad Rep. Actually it’s essential building block for the cell membranes. Every cell in our body needs this in order to function. Aside from this, Cholesterol has a part in the creation of multiple hormones.

It’s also a precursor to Vitamin D which helps with the recovery of muscle tissue, regulation of inflammation and ans it supports the immune system …. so it’s pretty essential for us.

So we might need to acknowledge the good part of it, not just the bad. Structurally, cholesterol is a fat particle bound to proteins and transported through the body. There’s multiple kinds of these “transport wagons” but we’ll limit ourselves to the well known LDL and HDL.

LDL is the so called “Bad cholesterol“. It transports cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. A low amount of LDL is needed to help repair tissue damage but these parts can get “Stuck” in the arteries and have negative effects, such as high blood pressure and blockages, eventually increasing risk of stroke.

HDL is the cholesterol “good guy“. It takes LDL away from the body and transports it back to the liver where it’s broken down.

If you ever get your blood checked (you should) , these are the number to look for:

Total Cholesterol:

-Ideally, should be lower than 5.0 (mmol/l)
-5.0-6.4   Slightly increased
-6.5 – 7.9  Increased
-> 8.0       Strongly increased.

LDL levels: < 2.5 is optimal

HDL levels: < 0.9 is too low

Triglycerides (amount of fatty acids in the blood, often measured in the same package ) : > 2,1 too high

Cholesterol Ratio:

This is the relationship between the “good and the bad” of cholesterol.  If you have a high level of LDL with a low amount of HDL, that’s not good.
If it’s the other way around, there’s no need to worry, even if your LDL is slightly increased. The higher levels of HDL will take that away and back to the liver. Make sure your ratio is in check!

Calcuation of the Ratio is done like this: HDL + LDL Divided by HDL. In most cases, however, it’s already calculated for you on the result sheet.

As long as the value is under 5, you’re fine. but the lower the better!

Below you can see my latest bloodwork. My results can be interpreted as this:

Cholesterol: slightly high. No need to worry yet, let’s take a look at the HDL and the Ratio, remember?

HDL: 97 mg/dl  = 2.50842 mmol/l. The value should be higher than 0.9 so this is a great level.

: 123 mg/dl  = 3.18078 mmol/l. The value is slightly high, but my HDL compensates for that.

Ratio: (2.50842 + 3.18078 / 2.50842 = 2.24 ) which is a great value

Bloodwork Feb 2017

Bloodwork Feb 2017

 

Cholesterol can be a silent killer and yet can be easily controlled through diet. Being aware of your levels and being proactive in managing them can increase your quality and quantity of life. Aside from that it can save you a life long of statins, but more on that next time.

 

Let me know if this was helpful and any questions are welcomed!

 

Mark