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


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.


Vitamin B1 (theamine): What, Why and how much?

Vitamin B1 is essential for converting fuel into energy (ATP). Is used as a cofactor for pyruvate to be converted to acetyl coa.

Also, it is important for:

– Function of cardiac muscle
-Function of the nervous system
-Supporting the immune system
– Enhancing learning abilities
– Handling stress

RDA for B1 is 1.1 mg per day for women and men.


Good sources of Vitamin B1:

Wholemeal products such as oatmeal, whole wheat pasta
Legumes such as peas and kidney beans
Milk and other dairy products
Soy milk

Vitamin-B1-Rich-Foods healthbeckon

Source: Healthbeckon.com

A deficiency of B1 can cause muscle weakness, apathy, irritability and confusion. These deficits only really happen for people in countries where little meat, dairy and whole grain products are consumed.

Alcohol and B1

Alcohol causes a drastic increase in the need for vitamin B1. For frequent alcohol is often paired with less consumption of nutritious food. This can lead to the well known Wernicke-Korsakoffsyndroom, characterized by confusion, memory loss, and uncontrolled movements.


Mark Chen



Vitamin C: What, why and how much?

In a nutshell:

– Anti-oxidant
– Helps with absorption of iron
– cofactor in collagen formation


These protect cells and DNA against the vices of oxygen. Some oxygen-using processes such as the burning of fats and carbohydrates, by-products (free radicals) are released.
These materials can affect DNA, proteins, cholesterol and cell membranes. These substances are also found in polluted air, certain foods,drinks, cigarette smoke and sunlight (a surplus amount).
Antioxidants help to neutralize these free radicals. There are many different types but vitamin C and E are the best known.

There is a lot of evidence that consuming enough antioxidants help in fighting heart disease, stroke and many other chronic diseases.

Vitamin C also helps form collagen. This is a protein structure that forms the basis for our connective tissue, such as bones, teeth, blood vessels, skin, cartilage, tendons. This collagen also functions as a sort of “glue” if you have a wound.

RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) of vitamin C is 75 mg, although sometimes 1000mg doses are used.

Good sources of Vitamin C:

– citrus fruit
– tropical fruit
– Summer Fruit
– cabbages such as cauliflower and broccoli
– green vegetables like spinach and lettuce
– tomatoes


vitamin c example

Important Fact:

Vitamin C is sensitive to exposure to oxygen, heat and sunlight. If orange juice is pressed, there will be oxygen present. If then the juice is stored in a transparent bottle, it may well be that the bottle in the supermarket contains a hugely reduced amount of vitamin C compared to the orange where it comes from!

As a rule of thumb, try to get the vitamins from the full food rather than a processed product!


Mark Chen

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


Running is a big business. Impact Guidance system, Heel clutching, Fluidride Tech, Midfoot Thrust enhancer, hell, there’s even a 250$ microchip shoe that adjusts cushioning for every stride. (yes, for real)

adidas shoe

This 250$ shoe is equipped with a microprocessor


Technology in running shoes has been dramatically changed over the last couple of decades. There are literally millions of dollars being pumped into the research for new shoe-tech.

All this research lead up to amazing shoes that make sure your feet, ankles, and knees stay strong and cozy right?

hmm… not really.

Injury Statistics

In fact, statistics show that injuries among runners have actually gone up rather than down.

Nowadays, every year, 65-80% of all runners suffer an injury. That is almost all of them, every year. If that percentage of people gets the flu we’d call that an epidemic.

These types of statistics raise questions that science can’t seem to answer. In a research paper for the British journal of sport, medicine was revealed that er are no evidence, not-a-single-one, based studies that show running shoes decrease the chance of you getting hurt.

Dr. Richards, the man behind the revelation mentioned above, decided to contact running shoe companies with a couple of straightforward questions:

– Are you willing to claim that wearing your distance running shoes will decrease the risk on musculoskeletal running injuries?

– Are you willing to claim that wearing your running shoes will improve your runners’ performance?

– If you are ready to stand by these claims, where is your peer-reviewed data to back it up?

The response he got from all the companies he tried to contact was all the same:


Where does that leave you if you’re ready to get into running just now? It might only mean that you don’t have to throw down as much money as you thought.

Don’t fear. The takeaway from this article is not that you are going to end up hurt like everybody else. I suggest a different path.

A path of strength, coordination and smart planning. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts!



*Source: Born to Run, Timothy McDougal (great book!) 

Cholesterol is a part of fat which has a bad Rep. Actually it’s an 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.

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

Some facts:

  • In the US, 73.5 million adults suffer from high “bad” LDL 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.

The Good, the Bad, The Ugly

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

LDL is the so-called “Bad Guy“. 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 the 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

What actually matters: the 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!

Calculation 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 lifelong of statins, but more on that next time.


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

And if you need some one-on-one time for me to sit down with you and help you out, book a session 



If you’re wanting to join a gym, make sure you get a program that is tailored not only to what you want, but also to what your body needs.
By getting a Movement Screening done, it’s possible to predict risk on injury. A logical step from there on is to spend some time on corrective exercise to make sure you’re balanced, healthy and prepared to go all out in the gym

Copy of Mark Chen movementKettlebell (1)

During a Movement Assessment, the trainer will look at all the main weight-bearing joints to see if there are any imbalances.

After pointing out the weaknesses and discussing them with the client, a corrective exercise program will be set up.

This approach makes sure the client is aware of any weak spots before jumping into a rigorous exercise program and teaches him/her what needs to be done to restore balance.


Pricing can be found on the Website  –  SPOILER ALERT – It’s worth it.