Kids - Rebel Bootcamp

When less is more

Originally published in the Sun newspaper, Daniel discussed about the use of protein among youth.

IN the hearts of some teenage boys lives a mountain of muscle. All right, I wanted to say “Arnie” but many youngsters sadly don’t know who “Arnie” is. Some of these boys are already hefty, some are a little thin, but in there, I suspect there is a spark of a Spartan warrior, just heaving to be unleashed upon the world.

It takes a lot of discipline and smart training to get a physique like Arnie or Wong Hong, and most teenagers don’t understand this. Most of them join a gym, “learn the basics” from friends, then start lifting weights.

They see some results initially; sometimes they see tremendous gains. They do the same old routine and find that the results slowly dwindle, then frustration sets in.

Once this happens, the following would be the conversation that ensues in the locker room:
Frustrated Teen: I am just not getting bigger any more! What to do?
Expert Teen: Are you taking enough protein?
FT: Yes, I eat my McDonalds Big Mac, KFC bucket of chicken and Burger Lab everyday.
ET: No, no, no! That is not enough! You know to take Super Growth Muscle Buster Whey Protein Powder before, after and during your workout!

Okay. I may have embellished a little, but that is the gist of it. The number of brands and types of protein powder in the market is mind-boggling. Some are for gains, some are for shredding, and then there are the various kinds of amino acids sitting on the shelves.

I must admit I have dabbled in trying out these protein powders, but I read and understand (to an extent) the food label. For example, under the “amount per serving” portion, if there is more carbohydrates than protein then the “protein powder” is actually a carbohydrate powder.

But how many people read food labels? Especially when it comes to things like this, we go on the strength of recommendations. We see a ripped muscular person and we find out what his workout is and what protein supplements he takes.

Protein is important as part of our daily dietary intake. According to, the dietary guidelines for the United States, about a quarter of our plate should be protein, or palm size (as opposed to hand size). This is sufficient to take us through until our next meal.

Taking protein to build muscle when one is in one’s youth is not necessary. First, this is the time when male teenagers are bursting with testosterone and growth hormone. Without these hormones, you could eat a herd of cows and nothing would happen. So having addition protein is unnecessary.

But even then, when training, all that is needed is about a half gram of protein per pound of body weight. So a 90kg male needs about 90gm of protein on a training day. That’s the amount of protein in a cup of milk or yoghurt.

Second, all the protein one needs is available in natural food. Some might be shocked to find out that all the protein one needs can be found in vegetables.

Taking too much protein has its downside. Sometimes, it causes constipation issues due to the lack of space for dietary fibres in one’s daily diet (unless, of course, the protein comes from vegetables).

Usually, one would see fat gains. Although it can help in lean muscle gains, eating protein in excess of our bodies’ needs will result in fat gain, according to the American Council on Exercise.

When we eat too much protein, our body breaks down the extra amino acids into ammonia and urea. Unfortunately, in a recent fitness and nutrition talk at a school, we found a boy who had uric acid in his bid to build more muscle. Another downside is possible disorders of the liver.

At the end of the day, one perhaps needs to know that the protein powder supplement industry is unregulated and does not have sufficient peer-reviewed scientific research to have the backing of many fitness organisations.

All the protein you need is available in natural food. Why take soya powder when there is the actual soya bean?

Daniel is the platoon leader for Rebel, Central Park, Bandar Utama.

Helping adolescents get fit

When I was 11 years old, an adult friend advised me that when I was about 14 years or older, I should pick up a set of weights and begin some weight-lifting.

He said, “You have a tough build and your shoulders are broad. You will find that your frame will grow bigger. Trust me!”

I did not pick up a set of weights until I was in my 20s, but I always wondered what happened if I did? Would I have embarked on a more athletic career at a younger age? Would I have avoided having a 42-inch waist in my late teens?

These words obviously have had a huge impact on me as I always recall them whenever I pick up a set of weights.

So it is with some surprise that I find some parents are very much against their sons trying to build some muscles, or worse still, exercising at all in the first place.

Would it be cynical if I said that it is hardly surprising that these parents don’t look like they exercise regularly themselves?

Parents have a huge role to play when it comes to the health and fitness of their children.

Like my own experience with the friend who advised me to lift weights, these kids will always remember what adults tell them, or any negativity a close adult has to an activity.

So if a parent is against exercising or bodybuilding, that will stick in their head. And they in turn will tell their children that exercise is bad and perhaps that is how our nation has ended up being the most obese nation in the region.

Lifting weights is not bad for young adults. In fact, it helps strengthen their muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. Muscle growth will occur, which in turn helps to burn more fatty cells. All these things help to prepare teenagers for their adult years.

Furthermore, young athletes will find themselves performing better. I can’t think of any athlete who does not have to strength train in some way.

What might be detrimental to youth who pick up weights might be incorrect technique and postural alignment while exercising.

With such continuous practice, these youths might experience injury, whether in the short term or later in life.

Another practice not encouraged for youth is one maximal repetition that is pushing, carrying or pulling to their maximal strength.

Also, current practice of protein supplementation is unnecessary and can be detrimental if taken to the extreme. Still, the pros outweigh the cons. All that adolescents need is someone to guide them.

Parents have a humongous responsibility. Some have asked for it and some have come by the role by accident. Their job, whether they understand it or not, is to ensure they bring into society functional human beings.

Functional in every sense of the word, including climbing up stairs and carrying a heavy bin of rubbish out for throwing.

The Yale School of Medicine states, “Nearly 80% of obese 10- to 14-year-olds with an obese parent will be obese as adults … By adolescence, a child’s obesity, rather than the parents’ obesity, is the most important predictor of being an obese adult. Nearly 65% of obese adolescents will still be obese as adults, even if neither parent is obese.”

Whichever the situation, one would think that a parent would encourage their children to be active, especially if their children show an interest in a sport.

I was fortunate, as my father was in sports and encouraged my brother and I. So when we wanted to learn tennis, we got tennis racquets and coaching. When my brother wanted to lift weights, he got a set of sand dumb bells.

If a teenager wants to exercise, perhaps the best option is to teach him or her how to do it right.

Originally published in the Sun, by Daniel Chandranayagam, BU Platoon Leader.

Tomorrows Golf Champions

This past week I had the great pleasure of working with the Maybank Junior Golf Champions Academy, hosted at the Saujana Golf Club. Head coach Tony Maloney the “Go to Golf Guru” was running the show looking for raw talent that could be moulded into the next Champion from these 9-12 year olds.

There were 30 of them in all having been selected from a group of over 600 applicants from around Malaysia.


was opening day when the juniors arrived and checked in to the hotel and said goodbye to mom and dad. The kids looked great a few mom and dads shed some tears. Then straight to it with an introduction from Tony Maloney to what was expected of them to make it to the next round, by the end of the week 20 of them would be cut and 10 move forward for more training.

Tony had a nice surprise for them as one of his prodigies Gavin Green was at the course for the MPI Saujana Amateur Championship. Gavin had just won the Malaysian Amateur Open, the first Malaysian to do so in 15 years.
He was great with the juniors telling them how he started where they are now and to keep working at it, play a lot and have fun.

Gavin and me, did I forget to mention he is a big lad.

Once the introductions and the photos were out of the way I got to work. The first workshop I had with the Juniors was to work on inner talk and the midset of champions Positive Mental Attitude. We began with some ice breakers as the kids from all over the country did not know each other. Then we moved on to some games to highlight how they need to remain positive not just on the golf course but in daily life. It was great to see them changing the words they used from negative to positive. :)

After this it was on to the driving range, putting greens and chipping areas for the first assessment.


Began bright and early for the juniors. I arrived at 6.45 am to prepare for their first workout session. They were all in the hotel lobby by 7.15am for an 8.00am training session. These kids were really mentally prepared to give it all it takes to get the results they want.

If only I could get this Positive, Proactive approach into some of my older clients.

We began with joint mobilization, moved to contralateral movements, balance skills, cardio strength and “longer and stronger” . All this they would have to know by themselves by Friday. Tony told me I was not allowed to help them on Friday they would need to show they paid attention and learned WOW.

So we began with some new funky names for the exercises to help them remember better. Prizes for any fitness trainer who knows the kung fu panda, transformer robot or the Mr. T moves to name a few. The kids are very creative.

Following their workout it was breakfast. Great to see JNG Golf Academy and Tony Maloney had ensured the food was spot on and packed with nutrition.

From here it was back to swinging the club and practicing their putting. Its still only 9am.

While the kids were going through their paces I was been put through mine by the “Go to Golf Guru” Tony Maloney as he explained the golf swing he was looking for in more detail. I spent the day checking form with Tony cramming my brain with information.

That afternoon I ran the kids through some Sports Team Work as they were expected to not only be outstanding individual players but great team members. Then back to the greens and driving range before an early night.


Another early start for our young golfers. I was expecting them to be tired from the 2 long days they had put in under the hot sun, having their heads packed with info on how to perfect their swings.

To help them with the “blues” I had my best motivational speech ready. Not required. They all rocked up 7am (they were getting earlier). High fives and shouts of morning coach I have PMA (positive mental attitude) what are we doing today.

The MPI Saujana Amateure Golf Championship was under way, and Gavin Green was clearly the Juniors top pick to win. After watching a little of the seniors warm ups it was back to work, to ensure one day they would be on that leader board.

In the afternoon I had them for Leadership Training, wow strong individuals, team players who can lead. These are 9-12 year olds preparing to play golf. At the end of their program with JNG Academy they will not only be prepared to play a great golf game but a great game of life. One of the demands from Tony the kids should be well rounded not only for golf but for life. I know a few adults who could benefit from this training.

My surprise Tony told me to get myself on the driving range and get a feel for the mechanics of what he wanted. No problem there another tough day in the office, (this was work .. really).

Then it got a little harder as Ainil Johani another of Tonys prodigies dropped buy to see how I was doing. Ainil is one of Malaysia’s female touring golf professionals, and was wondering why I wasn’t hitting the pitching wedge as far as her. I told her I was focused on which muscles were in use and not really trying that hard. (she didn’t seem convinced). Then Lawrence another of Tonys coaching staff dropped by to give me a few more tips, shortly followed by Tony a Professional golfer himself. Not much pressure on those shots with 3 top professionals watching me. Fortunately no photos were taken.


Another great start, the kids now have all my exercises completely renamed and they sound a lot more fun. Think I will start using these names myself.

Crunch time on the MPI for Gavin Green as this was the last day and he was in with a chance to win. The kids dropped by to watch him warm up. He even had them step on to the players area to get a better look. True Champion stuff, inspiring and motivating those just getting started. Despite the pressure of the last day of the Championship.

Warming up beside Gavin is Arie Fauzi who would be his playing partner for the day. This was a big day for the juniors to, as today they would be on the Championship course to get a feel for it themselves.

Good Karma pays off. Gavin knocking in a 10 foot downhill to seal victory later that day.


This was by far the toughest day of the week for the Coaches, 30 started out the week today we had to cut 20 and select the final 10. This was rough.

First all 27 Receive their certificates for successful completion. Thats right 3 did not make it to the end. Told you this was tough.

The final 10 who will go forward for another week of intensive training and a whole lot of fun.

The man himself “Go to Golf Guru” Tony Maloney. Briefing the 10 who go forward.

WOW what an intensive and fun week. Got to meet and work with some of the top professionals in golf development. Imparted some knowledge on the stars of tomorrow.

And thanks to Tony got to work with the stars of today. Working with motivated athletes is always a buzz. They offer no excuses, just get on with what is required. Success is easy when you take that approach.

Big thanks to May bank for supporting this Global one for the logistics.

Huge thanks to Tony Maloney and his team for putting together a world class training programme, and of course for inviting me to be part of it, and for cramming all of his years of knowledge into my head in a few days.

Looking forward to seeing some of those juniors on the leader boards in a few years.