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.

We don’t pay much attention to the water we drink. It’s not a concern to most people, which is strange when you consider that the body consists of roughly 69% water

More and more people are focusing on getting their fruits and vegetables from organic sources, so that they can limit the amount of chemicals on the food they eat.
However, when it comes to the water we drink the general idea is “tap water is fine”.
I mean, it’s just H2O right? –  2 parts of hydrogen and a part of oxygen.
Well… not really. Water has countless different forms and chemical structures. Since almost all of our systems’ processes run on water, both quantity and quality of out water matters.

Fun fact: tap water has lots of chemicals like fluoride, antibiotics and other waste products. 1

Dr. Mu Shik Jhon, considered by the scientific community to be the top water expert in the world, writes that the best drinking water contains a balance of essential minerals.

In his book The Water Puzzle and the Hexagonal Key, Jhon says that from a biological and medical point of view, de-mineralized water is simply not healthy to drink.

In fact, Japanese water experts consider de-mineralized water as “deadwater, while mineral-rich water is referred to as “livingwater.

De-mineralized water is not found in nature. Nor does is it promote growth or health of living organisms.

Among the daily bottled waters we are drinking, there's a couple of common types which are the following

Among the daily bottled waters we are drinking, there’s a couple of common types which are the following

Spring water:
This is water from a natural source, or a “spring”. It has to be won straight from this source and has to contain the same physical properties during production as when it was bottled. It will contain a balance of trace minerals that are important to the human body. Depending on the location, the consistency of these minerals will be different and sometimes chemicals may also be present.
Purified water:
This is water that has been processed through reverse osmosis, distillation, deinozation or other processes that change the physical properties of the water. Must contain no more than 10 parts per million disolved solids and therefore has very limited nutritional value.
This type of water is often sold as bottled water but is very likely the same as tap water.
Distilled water:
This water is boiled to remove microbes (and this process also removes minerals) and afterwards recondensed from the steam. It’s water with a bit of a flat taste and significantly less (or none) micro-nutrients.
Mineral Water
Water from a natural source with at least 250 particles per million dissolved solids. When sold, the same type and amount of trace minerals must be present as they would at the source.
“Good” Water needs to have a couple of qualities, for example:
Contaminant free: Filtered of unhealthy substances, like toxic metals, bacteria and viruses, chlorine, fluoride
Mineral Rich: The natural occurring minerals should not be removed because of purification processes (like described above)
Alkaline Ph:  Ph level (acidity) needs to be between 7.0 and 9.5, which indicates a healthy level of alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium
Good taste: Simply because otherwise there’s no incentive to drink enough of it 😉
With this in mind, check the label of your standard water source and see what kind of water you’re getting. You might be one single step removed from changing your quality of life for the better.
1 http://freshlysqueezedwater.org.uk/waterarticle_watercontent.php

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


The Tubs scream for your attention with the promises of buffed up bodybuilders like Arnold, Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler.


“This is my protein. It’s what gotten me this HUGE and will do the same for you.”

Usually this is because of some “patented-filtration-technique” or in this case a “Supreme multi-faceted protein complex” that makes the powder super absorb-able and pretty much turns it into instant muscle.

But is it really? In what way are these claims true and should you  invest money to get yourself some of the good stuff yourself?


All these guys -yeah that’s a massive generalization but it’s probably true-  worthy of promoting muscle building products are on (most times) excessive amounts of steroids. That’s most likely what helped them get to an almost superhuman size. No trying to discredit them here, there is still enormous amounts of hard work needed even with steroids. I’m just saying that most non-steroid using humans won’t be able to get to no matter how much tubs of protein you consume.

So lesson #1 : Don’t trust the labels.

Here’s some facts when it comes to Protein and how much you need:

The ISSN has investigated the amount of protein needed for individuals with variable training intensities.
As you can see in the figure below, for general fitness the required protein is around a gram for each KG of body weight.

I’m around 75KG, so that means that with around 75 grams of protein, I should be getting enough.
What does this look like in day-to-day food intake?

100 gram of chicken contains around 30 grams of protein
1 egg contains around 7.5 gram
A glass of milk contains around 5 grams

So as you can see, with 100 grams of chicken spread through the day, I’d already get enough protein.

This means that the answer to the Question “Do I need Protein Powder” is a pretty clear “NO”, if you’re willing to undertake even the most minor effort into organizing your daily meal plan.

Inline afbeelding 1

Does this mean you shouldn’t use it?

Not necessarily.

There’s good reasons to use protein powder as an addition to your diet and I’ll give you a couple of reasons of why I use it.

  • 1: It’s comfortable. Instead of going home and cooking up a piece of chicken I’ve got my perfect amount of protein needed down in around 20 seconds.
  • 2: It’s tasty! Depending on the brand of course, there are some pretty awesome flavors that turn a protein shake into a real treat!
  • 3: It’s a good snack. Especially when you’re trying to cut out some carbs or have a tendency to eat a more sugar-filled treat during your snacky moments

Bottom line: In contrast to popular belief, eating more protein does not lead to more muscle mass. The amount of protein needed for an individual can be easily calculated and usually the requirements can be easily met by diet design.
By doing this, a protein supplement is probably not necessary to meet your daily requirements. But this fact doesn’t mean it’s not worth buying. There’s plenty of reasons why it’s a good supplement to your daily food intake.

Hope this helps!

Happy shaking and catch you next time

The Next Step

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re well on your way and just calculated your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate).*

Great work! This will give you a good indication of the amount of energy your body needs on a daily basis.
The next step is to take a look at your Physical Activity Level. This gives us a good idea on what kind of energy you spend on movement.
Because as you may recall from the previous article, the RMR only tells us the amount of energy we spend when we rest.

We use the PAL-value to calculate the combined amount of the RMR and the activity per day.
This value tells you what value to multiply the RMR with to calculate the total energy expenditure over a day.

PAL = Physical Activity Level. (It runs from 1.1 to 5.0)

Which description fits you the most?

Sit (almost) all day: 1.1-1.2 
Seated work, no sports activities: 1.4-1.5
Seated work with interruptions, lack of exercise in free time: 1.6-1.7
reasonably active during work, recreational exercise: 1.8-1.9
Much physical activity during work and leisure: 2.0-2.4
Extreme physical stress: 5.0

To calculate the total energy requirement: Multiply RMR with PAL
* Thermal effect nutrition does not take part in this calculation.

This calculation gives a good estimate but still needs to be adapted to the individual. Remember that underestimating this need leads to weight loss and low performance in sport. Overestimating the value lead to weight increase.

Calculate, Weigh yourself after 2 weeks, and adjust. That’s the magic formula.


I weigh 75 kg and my RMR is 2035.
My work is Physical and I work out every day. My PAL value is 2.0-2.4

To calculate my energy expenditure, I multiple my RMR with my PAL level ( 2035 x 2.0) = 4070 Kcal on workout days.
Not too difficult right?

Let me know if there are any questions and share your value with me here below!


  • If you didn’t calculate your RMR yet, you can do so here. Takes you 10 seconds!


Oh and if you need any more help, book a one-on-one session with me right here