Sunday, March 29, 2015

My goals, and the 10 physical skills.

When you hit the free weights section, put on your running shoes or/and take your bag of rackets and leave your doorstep, you need to think about your goals. Goals give your workout a deeper meaning. This applies to your daily job, your life and everything you choose to do now, especially when time is precious (you'll come to realize it with age, like me *cough cough*),

It was the new year's day of 2015 - and I had some time to sit down with my laptop and brainstorm my short term and long term goals dividing them to sections of personal, relationships, finance, self-improvement, spiritual, social/community, health and fitness. So here is it copied and pasted for your leisure read;

Long term goals: 
Reduce prevalence of joints injury and counteract muscle atrophy that naturally comes with age and with my bad genes, i.e. to not break my hips from a small fall when I am hitting 50s! (yes I am thinking very far ahead)
Solution to this?
- To include more functional and compound workouts. 
- To be well-balanced in all aspects of physical skills - cardio endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. 
Mid term goals 
To master the foundation of calisthenics, weightlifting AND yoga, because in my opinion they are the best synergy of workout that can bring balance to the symmetry of my body (left vs right limbs, hamstring vs quads, adductors vs abductors, abs vs back, internal vs external rotator cuff)

SHORT TERM GOALS: To improve on...
1) Core strength (to reduce lower back overcompensation of load for the lack of it!) 
2) Postural balance (to balance sedentary lifestyle - hamstring tightness, upper cross syndrome, rounded shoulders etc) 
3) Left upper body strength and flexibility (no thanks racket sports dominance since young!) 
4) Anterior chain flexibility (thoracic and abdominal extension, hip flexor extension) 
5) Posterior chain strength (degree of importance and priority: shoulders > glutes > upper and middle back > hamstring)

My deadlift PR for a first timer: 70kg (120% my bodyweight)! :D
So being the geek I am, here are analyses on my physical strengths, what defines them, and each are rated according to where I think I am vs how far do I need to go to be where I feel/think I need to be;
  1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance: The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen. 2.5/10 
  2. Stamina: The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy. 5/10 
  3. Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force. 2.5/10 
  4. Flexibility: the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint 5/10 
  5. Power: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time (i like to call this muscle explosivity!) 3/10
  6. Speed: The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement. 3/10 
  7. Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement. 5/10
  8. Agility: The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another. 4.5/10 
  9. Balance: The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base. 4/10 
  10. Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity. 7/10

Proof of poor stamina after singles in badminton! :p

Learning on the court, in the gym, in the studio and off them, over the last two months has made me more aware (and also excited) of my body's strengths and weaknesses. I was going to mention something about health but I realize my ravenous and carnivorous eating habits prohibit me from being anywhere close to even have the intention to discuss about 'health'.

And that wraps up my rant of the day!

"What makes you unique?" 
I am a powerful challenger.

Read more

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bath half marathon and Resting Metabolic Rate

So I stumbled upon a new documentary by BBC regarding diet and upon doing the quiz, discovered that I am a 80% feaster, 20% constant craver and 0% emotional eater.

But what's more interesting is that I discovered that just by resting (and not doing anything the whole day) - I am easily burning 1500kcal per day. You can try it out on this website to see what's your resting metabolic rate which takes account your gender, age, weight and height.

Since I came back from my sedentary lifestyle of working and eating (a lot) in Sg and MAS - I went back on a workout routine to prepare myself for another half marathon at Bath, which I accomplished today within 2:30, my new PB considering how my knees are always the main deterrent.

I actually dislike running (it is too lonely and boring!) - the only run I did since the last half marathon (Bristol in Sept 2014) up to the Bath Half was a 5.6km run around the Downs. That single one.

I had only the month of February to train for my Bath Half and it was tricky. So I found an excuse to experiment on myself - minimal running and cardio training but build a routine to focus on my strength and flexibility. (or really just another excuse to skip running!)

So my rough plan for each week was;
  • Weightlifting 1 hour
  • Yoga 1 hour
  • Pilates 1 hour
  • Tennis 2 hours
  • Badminton 2-4 hours
  • Circuits or swimming (if there is no badminton or tennis)

[Most of this was done in Nuffield Fitness & Wellbeing, and the racket sports at Clifton College]

The fitness bug hit me last year in April when I was taught of how much need there is to be aware of my body as everybody has a different morphology and that training should cater to these differences! Thanks to Andrea Spencer (pilates), Ann See Yeoh (yoga) for getting me so immersed into this the first place!

So I started reading the Strength Training Anatomy and Scientific Key Poses of Yoga in my free evenings because I realize that the foundation I should be building is to understand the musculoskeletal system, specific to functional movements and functional workout.

Jack my fitness mentor developed a training plan for me after I told him my short term fitness goals;
  1. Develop core stability and strength 
  2. Left arm and shoulder strength 
  3. Posterior chain strength
So he developed this for me to do it on the weekly basis after checking out my form;
  1. Back squat 40kg 8x3
  2. Walking lunges 20kg 20x3 for both legs
  3. Supine Row BW 8x3
  4. Single Arm Row 10/12kg 8x3
  5. Straight walkouts to Pike 3x3
  6. Plank rotations 8x3
  7. Plank to press 10x3
  8. Side plank rotation 10x3

Okay okay I DIGRESS, now back to my little half marathon experiment discussion.

So I had a few hypotheses that while my cardio endurance sucked (as I had duly neglected it out of laziness);
  1. My strides will be bigger assuming the increased in hamstring flexibility. 
  2. My thigh muscles are stronger which leads to slower fatigue
  3. Also being more aware of my form, I will be running to land on a mid-foot strike (if not forefoot since I have been a heel striker) to minimize knee injury from my shorter/tight IT band which externally rotates my knee when running.
...all of these will therefore lead to similar running time as my last half marathon race.

So, importantly how did the half marathon turn out? 2:34, one minute faster than my last best.

My first three miles: Hardest wall to overcome ever as my mental prowess was taking a beating due to lack of any running at all! 
10km mark: My left knee started to hurt, which made me realized that I have been running on the left hand side of the road. We have to remember that the amazing roads of the UK have drainage gradient to channel/drain excess rain water. So I have been running with an extended left leg to make up for the slope. So it's time to switch to the right side of the road for the last 11km. And I did it - I saved it from hurting further 
Last three miles: I realized that my timing may be a bit slower than my previous half marathon, I sped up that my running pace 9-10 mins per mile! Lol.

Secondly, what were the major aches from the day after the half marathon? Quads and a bit on the lower back

This means I am still a quad-dominant runner, which isn't good as I am using more knees that I should be. Lower back aches mean I am not using my core to stabilise my form, so that needs improving.

So to wrap this all up, what I have learnt -

1) Strength and flexibility is as important as cardio for half maras.
2) that half marathons are actually quite fun when you include 'people-watching' as your past time. That killed time and distracted me from the aches and niggles! :-)

So there you go, my first rant of the month!

I run how I crawl, how I sit, how I walk.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Inception Part 2

I love to learn and immerse myself in them.

I am super curious.

About everything, about anything.

I am the jack of all trades (but master of none, hah!)

I have different phases of learning depending on what I have identified as a lack of knowledge (or rather, ignorance) about the certain subject.

I like to talk about it, share about it and write them down.

So I figured, why not collate and collect them in one place?

This allows me to look back at my 'diary of discovery' one day and remind me of things that I was once so engrossed in.

It's been years since I have actively blogged, and now with my new conviction that  - pen on!

Change is constant.
- Heraclitus of Ephesus