Rebel Bootcamp - Outdoor Fitness Program in Malaysia & Singapore

How To Shed 2 Kgs While On Holiday

Holidays are taken for many personal reasons. Most families use it as a family time, some to visit friends and relatives in a foreign place and perhaps country. More common, holidays are taken for reasons of having a down time. Shopping, exploration, adventure, gastronomic indulgence comes in the package of being away at a foreign land.

Here is the catch. I am in the opinion that holidays, although it is a refreshing mind release from the everyday grind, can be quite strenuous onto the body. Have you never had the feeling that you’d wish you could take another day off after returning from one?

Holidays are stressful and if you manipulate it well, can aid in some weight loss. Here are a few pointer how you can do it with success.

Holiday tip 1 – The breakfast conundrum

Destination holidays come packaged with a wakeup call time in plan, and it’s usually at an unacceptable holiday like timing which is even worse than a normal working day. If a tour bus leaves at 8am, it means the FREE hotel breakfast needs to be ‘enjoyed’ and savored at 7am, which means the the wake up call will be at 6.30 or 7am. Lady folks need a 30minute minimum prep time. And then there is the issue of who uses the bathroom 1st.

Then there are the creatures of habit who turn instantaneously green in the face from a full breakfast and need to rush to the toilet after a full breakfast.

Here is the catch again. Breakfast may be free and there will be temptation to wallop everything available and still knick the odd apple and banana for later. Restrain yourself. A measure of control to consume minimal calories helps.

Holiday tip 2 – Plan an activity oriented holiday

I went to Pulau Perhentian once and even that holiday had an agenda. Swim, snorkel, dive, sunbathe, party, sleep repeat. For 3 days. That! Was tiring. Tour holidays are worse. Packed into a vehicle by nine and return to hotel in the evening. Some tours require lots of walking. Some tours are shopping centric; more walking.
The average person actually walks and is active up to 5 times more on holiday than on a daily work day. Equate that into calories consumption and it is a lot. It is no wonder that we tend to eat more on holidays.

Holiday tip 3 – Avoiding a gastronomic meltdown

There is a tendency to indulge more on holiday. After all, it’s a holiday. The food is always nicer and better in a foreign location. Its called a gastronomic adventure. At home and in our comfort zone, some measure of control can be administered to not over indulge. On holiday, that rule usually gets tossed out of the aircraft window.

I know it can be hard to control holiday over eating, but with a bit of self-control, it can be done. I personally control myself using these 3 simple rules:

  1. If it is not worth the calories, don’t eat
  2. If it does not look and taste remotely nice, skip it.
  3. If I’m almost full, stop eating.

Try it.

Holiday tip 4 – Workout

On holiday, unless you opted for a no frills budget stay, most decent hotels do have a gym and swimming pool as part of the facility. If a pair of sneaker is too much luggage to handle, I’m sure swim wear can be managed. A 30 min swim is not only relaxing it can give you an extra appetite for around 300cals.

There is even a multitude of exercises that can be done in a hotel room. Google up body weight exercises and a whole slew of results will follow, both on cardio and strength training.

Have fun on holiday!

Learning to run free and natural

Originally published in the Sun.

VIBRAM USA has reportedly been in the limelight lately as consumers are hitting the company with lawsuits for false advertising over its toe shoes.

The maker of the glove-like Vibram FiveFingers running shoes has agreed to settle a class-action suit against it that alleged the company made false and unsubstantiated claims about the health ­benefits of its footwear.

Vibram USA had jumped in to capitalise on the barefoot running boom that came about when Chris McDougall ­published a book entitled Born to Run in 2009.

I own a pair of Vibrams myself. It’s an awesome shoe that allows and mimics natural running like no other.

With a pair of Vibrams on, our feet could function in the normal manner which they were ­intended to and yet not be considered barefoot.

McDougall writes that the human foot was not designed for footwear. Modern running shoes with their elevated heel cushioning and high heels are what’s causing calve and foot muscles to weaken.

In Born to Run, McDougall tracks down members of the reclusive Tarahumara Indian tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons.

A runner himself, ­McDougall marvels at the tribe’s ability to run ultra ­distances of over 26.2 miles or more at incredible speeds, without sustaining any of the ­injuries of most runners.

He asserts that modern cushioned running shoes, unlike the thin sandals worn by the Tarahumara ­runners, are a major cause of running ­injuries, pointing to the ­explosion of running-related injuries in modern times.

The secret of barefoot ­running is actually in the foot strike. Natural barefoot ­running stride lands on the forefoot or mid foot. The heel barely lands on the ground.

This method ensures that our foot lands gently on ground.

For most people who run heel-strike style, that would be hard to comprehend until you take off your shoes and run.

What McDougall and ­Vibram have done for the foot and running industry is truly a milestone.

Some may not realise it, but they helped change the way we look at running now, and more importantly for me, how we look at foot function.

Heel-strike shoes inhibit our ability to run naturally (forefoot strike) and alters our gait. That’s why runners are still sustaining injury with modern traditional running shoes.

However, it’s not the shoes that are the problem. It’s the training patterns and the way people run that create injuries.

Traditional running shoes with high-cushioned heels and motion-control midsoles are severely inhibiting our natural running form so bad that a high percentage of runners are getting injured.

Here is what I know is the truth about transitioning to running with forefoot/midfoot strike:

► Your feet and legs are going to be extremely sore, even after 10 minutes of running. From running heel strike since birth, forefoot running will be alien to your body. There will be a lot of pain.

► Adaptation takes time. Muscles need time to heal and adapt. Adaptation to a full forefoot strike run and, eventually, to marathon ­completions will take months to years.

► Old injuries incurred from heel strike will also take time to heal as well as new growing pains of switching to forefoot strike ­running.

► The first 10 steps of a child’s walk is done with caution and slowly. Do the same when you transition from heel strike to forefoot landing.

► Forefoot running may not be your thing. If you have been running heel strike with no problems, don’t re-invent the wheel.

Prior to running forefoot, I ­occasionally had knee pains and regular twisted ankles from runs. But I have no more knee pains since. I run free and natural these days.

Jonathan Tan is the Senior Sergeant of Rebel Boot Camp.

Outdated fitness rules

Originally published in the Sun.

To update the readers, here are some outdated rules and advices for physical training.

► Rest indefinitely in between sets

Well, yes. Do catch a breath and shake off the muscle fatigue after a set of exercises.

The guideline for intervals between rest sets is no more than 30-45 seconds in between sets or opt for circuit training.

If you sign up for an hour-long workout on your busy schedule, resting 2-5 minutes between sets and ­exercises is counterproductive.

Fitness is becoming more time-efficient with each ­passing day. We want results. And we want them in 30 ­minutes or less.

Shorter intervals and higher physical challenges ensure time efficiency.

By cutting down your rest time, you challenge your body to do more, while it’s still warmed up.

Longer intervals lead to muscle cool-down in between sets, which could cause injury or cramps.

Quick tip. Keep your smartphone in the locker. That way, your 3 minutes will fly by quickly.

► Pre and post workout snacks

Unless you are in the habit of getting gastric attacks or low blood pressure, then yes, have a 200 calorie snack.

If you’ve eaten a heavy meal a couple of hours before the workout, a pre-workout snack is unnecessary, ­especially if your workout goal is to lose weight.

Snacking up to 300 calories before a session to workout 300 calories? That’s not smart.

The rule, however, is more of a personal check. Do you feel hungry, tired, and low on energy 30 minutes before a workout?

If yes, then eat a pre-workout snack of 100-300 calories, depending on what your day’s calorie budget permits you. Post workout snacks are not for the average exerciser.

This method is originally intended for high intensified workouts as such of athletes and bodybuilders that last more than 2 hours.

A typical calorific ­expenditure of such is close to 1,000 cals. Fast replenishment of calories is thus needed to prevent muscle loss. For you and me, the smart choice is a planned post-workout meal.

► Is aerobics or walking best for long term fitness?

Hour long sessions of aerobics in the form of classes and walking are great exercise. But if your goal is for the long term exercise and optimal weight management, you need to work those muscles with weight training.

Cardio exercises are great for cardiovascular fitness, but not good enough for weight-loss or weight management.

Strength training directly affects weight management and benefits your body by boosting metabolism and training your body to burn calories more efficiently.

► Light weights for women, and heavy weights for men

Lift weights that challenge your body , increase muscle performance, joint strength and stability irrespective of gender or weight.

If you’re able to complete three sets of 15 reps each

without breaking into a sweat, you aren’t challenging yourself enough.

The only thing heavier weights will do is give you a leaner and stronger body that is better capable of maintaining a desired weight.

Weight lifting does not bulk up women as women just don’t have the levels of testosterone men do. Lifting weights build strength and power. Isn’t that what ­women have been striving for this century? Go women power? Well, start with the weights then.

► Yoga is enough for weight loss

Yoga is great for aiding breathing technique, digestive problems, fighting allergies, and body weight strength but it isn’t the most complete fitness workout. How yoga impacts your fitness goals, depends on what your fitness goals are.

If you just want ­flexibility, light strength and better lung power, then yoga’s the workout for you.

But if you aim to lose weight, get toned, and lose inches, then you’re better off with cardio and weight routines.

Then there is the lack of cardiovascular fitness in yoga sessions. One hour of yoga, even power yoga, burns ­approximately 200-350 ­calories only. This isn’t enough for a sustainable weight loss fitness routine.

► Spot target for abs, legs, shoulders, hips and thighs

Every once in a while, I’ll get a question like this, “I hate my thighs. Tell me what do I have to do?”

Only programmes that tackle overall weight loss or toning will help you deal with your problem areas.

Spot targeting exercises like hip abductions, a ­million crunches, lunges to hell and tricep extensions won’t lose the fat as how you would imagine.

What actually works when you spot target is waste time and make the area more pronouncedly bigger than what it is. It’s unproductive.

A well-rounded ­programme that includes cardio and strength training produce the best results.

The same amount of time spent on 10 extra sets could have in fact been spent on a more comprehensive ­programme that increases your metabolism and intensity.

Jonathan Tan is the Senior Sergeant of Rebel Boot Camp.

Don’t be in just a statistic!

Recent news reports have shown that Malaysians are among the heaviest in Asia! New findings from British medical journal, “The Lancet”, reveals that 49% of women and 44% of men in Malaysia are be obese.

Prime Minister’s science adviser, Zakri Abdul Hamid, was reported to have said, “This is a big problem because obesity can cause diabetes, heart problem and others and our Prime Minister has asked the global science and innovation advisory council to work on this.”

Well, it doesn’t have to a problem for you. Workouts at Rebel Boot Camp has shown to be an effective method of melting the fat away. James Lee, one of the founding Rebels at the Bandar Utama location, lost five kg in the first month alone. Along with the exercise, the coaches at Rebel will also help with some nutrition advice for fat loss.

In addition, James says, “I personnally feel that Rebel Bootcamp has helped to build me up not only in physically but mentally stronger… The hardest part was we have to continue doing it over and over again where all the relevant muscles and breath wanted to give up! … [but] our friendly trainers and participants are motivating each during the training and we really enjoy the process to getting ourselves fit.”

So don’t be among the 49% or 44%! Getting fitter and healthier is just a click away!

Watch for Rebel’s new morning sessions at Central Park, Bandar Utama (6.45 a.m. to 7.45 a.m.) and KLCC (6.30 a.m. to 7.30 a.m.), beginning August 2014.

Be an all-rounder at Rebel Boot Camp

Stretching is one of the most understated components of fitness (the other two being cardiovascular and strength training). Yet stretching is what gives your body the opportunity to lengthen the muscles and to rejuvenate the entire body, not only from the workouts experienced at sessions, but also from the trials and tribulations of daily living.

From January 2014, Rebel Boot Camp has introduced Rebel Yoga Stretch, taking place at 7.00 a.m. at the Subang location every Saturday morning (except on reset weeks). Led by Senior Sarge, Daniel Chandranayagam, the sessions works to get participants to stretch out those muscles, while also working on core strength and spinal strength and mobility.

Other benefits of the class include:

  • Detoxifies – Fluids and blood will flow
  • Improves mobility, stability and balance
  • Improves posture
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Enhances clarity and concentration
  • Rejuvenates the body and sometimes slows the aging process
  • Helps with stress management
  • Helps to prevent injuries
  • Creates more body awareness that participants can take into bootcamp sessions
  • Increases breath awareness
  • Helps to promote healthy joints

Some participants leave the session saying how bright and alert they were for the rest of the day!


A mid-life weight crisis

Originally published in the Sun.

MOST people find that as they get older, it becomes harder to manage their weight due to their metabolism slowing down.

Diets that worked in the past have also become less ­effective.

Contrary to most weight loss advice (which seems to treat everyone the same), my take is that once you have passed the age of 40, you need to approach weight loss ­differently.

So if you’re over 40 and want to shed a few kilos, here are a few things you need to be aware of.

► Exercise is not enough

You can’t rely on exercise alone for weight loss. If you’re ­working out regularly and still not losing weight, it’s because you have to pay more ­attention to two factors – what you’re eating and how your workout is structured.

The problem with dietary control after age 40 is that you can now afford to eat better and more often while your ­metabolism rate has been decreasing over time.

Also, people in their 40s tend to be desk-bound with longer working hours and more commitments.

You now find that you can’t lose weight as quickly as you did when you were 25.

Even when you are putting in ­effort, you’ll feel ­frustrated and discouraged at the pace and difficulty of the progress.

All I can say is that your ­metabolism has failed you.

Starting at around age 20, you’re looking at a natural decrease in resting metabolic rate (RMR) of about one to 2% per decade.

This slowdown is mainly due to a decline in lean body mass – something you can stave off by adding strength training to your workouts.

If at age 25 you ran 5km five times a week to maintain your weight at 60kg; at age 45, you would need to run over 7km five times a week to maintain that weight and not diet.

This, coupled with the fact that many women become less active as they age, is why weight gain is so common among the fairer sex.

► Quick fixes don’t work

Weight loss products and treatments are a multi-billion dollar industry. Everyone wants a fast way to lose weight.

If you are gullible enough to enter into a ­programme that recommends you take sachets of powdered meal replacements five times a day with ­guaranteed results in one week, then I’d say that the programme works only if you could endure ­digesting only ­chemically-­synthesised ­powder for up to a month.

You might think that it’s a good thing that you can drop 2kg in a week. But you have to focus on making long-term changes, which is the ­cornerstone of any ­successful weight loss.

Not only can you not rely on quick fixes, but you really can’t rely on dieting any more, either.

► Reassess failures

Often, one failure is enough to put people off from trying again. People in their 40s have a long list of diet failures behind them. For some, the diet never get off the ground.

The best way to lose weight is to change your ­eating habits. For most people, even if they are given the best food plan in the world, they struggle to stick to it.

Why? Because our eating habits are ingrained, restricted by time, likes, food dislikes and food availability.

Every active gain starts with a plan. Make small ­manageable changes. Don’t completely overhaul your ­current eating habits.

Start by taking control of your food environment. ­Remove tempting food from your line of sight (on your desk at work or the kitchen).

Next, focus on being more mindful of when and what you’re eating. Share desserts, minimise portions to lower calories while still enjoying foods you love.

There are plenty of ­different areas of your eating you can change. The idea is to “nudge” your behaviour in the right direction.

But remember: the best changes are small ones that you barely notice.

► Persistence is the word

Things won’t always go your way. There will be weight plateaus and reversals. There will be bad ­eating days, busy no exercise days.

But that’s okay. Just keep focusing on your goal, keep making small changes and keep going. That’s the key to success.

While it’s possible to lose weight at any age, there’s no denying that you’ll have a smoother ride the sooner you start.

Your success is your own doing to gain better health, quality of life and overall ­wellness. So start now!

Let’s be fit!

Jonathan Tan is the Senior Sergeant of Rebel Boot Camp.