Daniel Chandranayagam - Rebel Bootcamp

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!


The Great Outdoors

The place to exercise Have your workouts been indoors all this while? It’s time to go al fresco, and this is why:

  • Being outdoors brings us closer to the way humans used to be centuries ago, when we were hunter-gatherers. Activity conducted outdoors brings us closer to nature, is considered more ‘green’ due to the lack of equipment, and brings the exerciser out into fresh air;
  • Most outdoor exercise utilise the exercisers body. This is crucial in terms of acquiring functional fitness, as the exerciser gets to learn how to use her body. In addition, body weight exercises generally strengthens the core of the exerciser and requires greater body coordination, which means more calories burnt, more functionality of the exerciser’s body and a stronger body;
  • Exercises are performed on uneven terrain, which requires more body control and activates more joints and muscles than working out on a flat surface indoors. This also improves balance;
  • Exercisers have their minds totally engaged all the time, by dodging tree roots and rocks, smelling the fresh air, hearing birds, feeling the rain, sun or wind on their face and bodies;
  • Exercisers not only de-stress through exercise, but have the added benefit of being outdoors, which research finds to be a healthier option and mood-boosting element for exercise.

Most organised outdoor exercise programmes, like Rebel Boot Camp, are designed based on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) methods, which has been said to be more effective in terms of weight loss and muscle gain ratio for the exerciser.

Scientific Proof

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted a research study to assess the health and fitness benefits of HIIT styled workouts. The findings were that the average exerciser burns approximately 9.8 calories per minute during a typical boot-camp workout (based on a ‘typical’ boot camp programme put together by the researchers), amounting to approximately 400 calories in 40 minutes!

John Porcari, Ph.D., who led the research team, said, “The biggest benefit is you’re burning an average of 600 calories per hour,” says Porcari. “That’s obviously going to help with weight loss, but you’re also getting the muscle-building benefit from push-ups, arm curls and squat thrusts that you wouldn’t get just from going out for a fast walk or jog.” In addition, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment when compared to exercising indoors (Environmental Science and Technology 4 Feb 2011).

Madeline Toh of the Bandar Utama evening session says, “Each session brings a new surprise and pushes you across limits which you would never ever think you could surpass. I won’t sugarcoat it; it is one hell of a workout but I complete every session feeling extremely proud of myself. Rebel does not simply train your physical strength, it trains your psychological strength too. Like what my trainers say, “You are physically strong because you are mentally strong!”

Check out 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.

Twice the Happiness with Rebel!

Traffic woes, angry bosses, stressful job, sometimes life can be a drudge. Finding happiness sometimes remains elusive, but there are ways we can get happier, backed by science.

Firstly, we can exercise. This is a no-brainer. Exercising helps to release endorphines, our feel-good hormones, into our brain and nervous system. In fact, exercise has such a significant effect on our happiness, that it has been found to be a more effective form of therapy for those suffering from depression than medication!

Secondly, we can spend more time outdoors. A study found that as little as 20 minutes outside every day can boost our mood, as well as improve working memory and broaden thinking. A study from the University of Sussex revealed that participants were substantially happier outdoors in an all natural environment than in a concrete jungle setting.

At Rebel Boot Camp, we combine both. Fitness in an outdoor setting, with the added plus of fun and a good community. With a military-inspired workout, those who attend Rebel Boot Camp are not only that much closer to their fitness goals, but also to a happier work-balance life.

As Maz, of the Bandar Utama evening session, exclaims, “Holy Heavens! I just fit into the jeans that I have not worn since 2008! Super Happy! It’s a celebration!”

Everything is a celebration at Rebel Boot Camp!

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.

Sustainability & Fitness

Originally published in the Sun.

“Sustainability” used to be one of those words bandied around by businesses to show how hip and how current they are with business trends. It is unfortunate that over time the word has taken on increasingly complicated jargon and definitions, so much so that if an ordinary person were to read an article on sustainability, they would be wondering if they got the concept in the first place.

I’m going to put forward a simple definition. Let me start by taking it down to the micro level. What does it take for a human being to be sustainable? I’ll be a little controversial here and say that she just needs to be healthy. So, eating right and exercising right, staying away from processed foods and products, this makes a human being sustainable.

Simple, right? By eating and drinking correctly, a human being consumes stuff that is good for her. Natural foods, as opposed to processed foods, on the whole tend to be more environmentally friendly, emit less pollution during their production cycle, cause less suffering for the animals, etc.

All this is pretty sustainable living, not only for the individual in question but for the environment and for society.

By exercising frequently, again the human being builds and maintains a sustainable body, requires less pharmaceutical products (thereby again contributing less to the manufacturing process), and if the individual exercises outdoors, the individual is more likely to develop a better appreciation for the environment and environmental issues.

This kind of lifestyle has become so popular in certain quarters that if you do a Google search on “Paleo”, you’ll find heaps of people who have eschewed modern lifestyles while living in the modern world. They make their own soaps, detergents, dental hygiene products, shampoos, etc.

They grow their own vegetables and fruits and some even hunt their own game. In the meantime, they go to the office like you or me, but perhaps they walk, cycle or even run. I can’t think of a better form of sustainable living.

In the meantime, you might find contemporary yogis and yoginis depending more and more on natural oils rather than detergents; herbs and spices rather than MSG and salt; natural 100% cotton or rubber products than synthetic hybrids. This also is a form of sustainable living.

All right, no one says we should do all this. In fact, to run, cycle or walk to work in urban Malaysia would decrease one’s life sustainability index to zero. But that is what we are talking about when we talk about sustainability.

So why is health so low on the priority of Malaysian’s business sustainability priorities? Two of the greatest components of health are fitness and nutrition, and yet we see overweight company CEOs incapable of climbing up one flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. Is that a sustainable human body? How is a business to be sustainable if its leaders are incapable of sustaining their own bodies?

I put forward that Malaysian business leaders need to, first, consider their own health and wellbeing; second, set an example for their own people, and then set an example for the community. Thereafter, opportunities need to be afforded both internally and externally.

While we might try to do great things for the environment, what is the point with a creaking deteriorating community of human bodies within it? In fact, newspapers this year reported that one in six Malaysian urban couples have difficulty starting a family. Doctors interviewed stated that stress and unhealthy lifestyles (including obesity as well as being underweight) were the main causes. How can we be sustainable when we can’t even procreate?

So what does it really mean for us – as businesses, communities and as individuals – to be sustainable? To me, it just means to be healthy. If we make healthful choices, along the way, the environment, the community, the people will benefit.

Daniel is the lead instructor at the Bandar Utama platoon.

An insidious lifestyle disease

First published in the Sun newspaper.

While browsing my handy Evernote web-clipper, I came across an article I had forgotten about. The news report, published in November last year, stated the Health Ministry had found the average Malaysian consumes seven tablespoons of artificial sweetener, four tablespoons of sugar and three spoons of condensed milk in his/her drinks.

I must admit I was pretty shocked. I know we consume a lot of sugar, but not that much!

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Shirlin, who had revealed this in Parliament, added that we have about 3 million Malaysians living with diabetes as at November last year – double the number in 2006.

And of course, she also revealed that our nation holds the Malaysia Boleh award for being the most obese nation in the region.

From my viewpoint, Malaysians apparently do not perceive being overweight or obese as a problem. National Heart Institute chief dietician Mary Easaw-John commented in a recent news report: “Often when I talk to patients who are obese, they give me excuses like ‘my whole family is fat but nothing has happened to them’, or my friend who said that ‘if I lose too much of weight, I will not look nice’.”

Interestingly, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing made the same sort of observation in another recent news report. He remarked: “I find it interesting that whenever people here see their friends slightly overweight, they tend to comment that he or she is looking ‘healthier’ to imply that they have put on weight … by doing so, they may not realise what you are trying to tell them.” Masing said obesity should not be seen as solely a medical problem, but also a social one.

The AIA Healthy Living Index Survey revealed the same. Conducted across 15 Asia Pacific markets to determine how the population of the region views health, it found that Malaysians didn’t think their weight was a concern, notwithstanding that they felt they were eating unhealthy food and not exercising enough.

This might explain why we have 3 million people living with diabetes. Just a bit about this ailment – there are three forms of diabetes, namely types 1 and 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes frequently occurs in children or young adults, although it can occur at any age. This condition sees the body’s immune system destroy pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin, which the body uses to store energy from food (glucose).

Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not use insulin properly. As the demand for insulin increases, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce it, which means there will be loads of glucose floating around in the blood. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and is the most rare of the condition.

Usually, when one consumes too much sugar or simple carbohydrates, one develops type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95% of diagnosed cases in the West. This is why the condition is labelled a lifestyle disease – it occurs because of the lifestyle choices we make; in this case, the type of food we eat and the quantity in which we eat them – for example, seven tablespoons of artificial sweetener, four table spoons of sugar and three spoons of condensed milk in drinks on average.

It needs to be said that type 2 diabetes among children is on the rise. As with adults, the heavier a child is, the higher her risk of getting the disease. Personally, I think this is a greater threat to the nation than most of the supposed threats reported on the front pages of our local dailies in the last month.

Aside from medication, the “treatment” for diabetes is weight loss, nutrition modification and exercise. This reminds me of a viral online quote: “Would you prefer to exercise an hour a day or be dead 24 hours a day?”

Daniel is platoon leader for the Bandar Utama location.