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So far Bradley Lim has created 5 blog entries.

Perfect Timing

Many excuses for finding the right time are just disguised procrastination.

“I’ll start dieting after I finish this batch of chocolates”

“I just showered, I’ll head to the gym a bit later”

“I ran out of whey protein, I’ll resume training when I get another tub”.

Don’t buy into the hype. The best time to get anything important done is now.

But eating right and exercising isn’t necessarily something that can be “done”. It is a long term, or in our case, a lifelong habit to be cultivated. Viewing it as such, there is definitely a case to be made to cultivate the perfect beginning.

Like an apple sapling, the budding stage of habit formation is the most exciting stage.

You eat right, you start a new training regime, and it seems like every day, something positive is happening. The scale tips in your favor, you get stronger in the gym, your energy level improves, and so does your mood. You’re the cheerful person you wish you could always be.

It’s an amazing feeling, and it should be.

It is in this stage that you should rack up as much initial wins as possible. You should be associating eating right and lifting weights with positive sensations. A successful beginning can set the tone to sustaining healthy habits for a very long time.

Hopefully, as long as a lifetime.

But the budding stage is also the most vulnerable stage. A few days of seasonal storm will destroy your apple sapling.

Similarly, seasonal derailments from the practice of your new training and eating habit can absolutely kill it.

Timing is a huge factor that influences success and “stick-to-it-ness” of new habits. Beginning a diet, only to have it interrupted by travel, festivities, and parties is far from ideal.

It’s far easier to go through an uninterrupted 8 week stretch of eating and training, than doing it intermittently, and to have it challenged by travels, holiday eating, jet lag, festive season eating etc. You’ll be quick to associate eating healthy and exercising as an uphill battle (because during these times, it is), and less likely to uphold after the festivities pass.

This is the main reason why I usually wait until after my year end trips, Christmas feasts and Chinese New year season to begin a weight loss regime. Even after training for years, I still find that a stop-go-stop-go approach kills my momentum.

To clarify, these are not “bad” events per se, but if you’re new and inexperienced in “riding the storm”, pick a better time.

Perfect Timing2019-03-05T08:18:31+08:00

Should my child work out?

If I get a dollar every time a parent asks if their child should work out, I’d retire by 25.

Okay, harsh, sorry. Parents want the best for their kids, and with opinions such as “lifting weights stunts growth” running rampant, it does warrant a second thought.

So, should a child work out?

For many Malaysian kids, sports and exercise take back seat relative to academic work. On top of school hours, extra classes and tuition means the only exercise they have time for is the walk up and down the stairs, into and out of tuition centers.

For these kids, I would wager that that being idle, stagnant, studying machines do more harm than having them working out.

Instead of asking “Should children work out?” a better question would be “How should a child work out?”

Here are 2 considerations when training children (age 7 to 15).

Train Weaknesses

7 to 15 is when kids absorb skills like a dry sponge to water. They have seemingly unlimited raw potential.

With this, I personally recommend less time in the gym, more time on court. They should be practicing running, jumping, kicking, tossing, rolling and all things overprotective Gen-Y parents would gasp at.

And maybe they should gasp, because unstructured play, while necessary, can be chaotic and dangerous.

This is where we return to the gym for planned weak point training.

If a child can’t seem to land without a loud “THUD”, we zone in on force absorption, teaching them how to redirect force in a more joint sparing manner.

If they cross their legs when they run sideways, we zone in on coaching lateral movement. Proper side shuffling is perhaps the most important movement in safely navigating across playing fields.

Mastering the quality of moving well in a controlled gym setting help kids meet the complex nature of movement in sports.

Now, before you register your kids for 5x a weeks of sports training…

Know When is “enough”

Having more of certain things are hands down, better.

More sleep, more money, more time, more food sans the weight gain. But more training isn’t on this esteemed list, especially for children.

Let’s talk periodization, a fancy term to imply how much activity one can do at certain time (of the week/ month/ year) relative to all other variables to ensure the best possible performance.

There is a time and place hard training, and there is a time and place for not so hard training.

During hectic seasons, when assignments pile up and having 6 hours of sleep is considered a luxury, our kids come to training looking like they’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

As coaches, we modify training intensity to coax the best performance for that day. Modification is necessary, because sometimes, they’re exhausted to the point whereby performing at 50% of their regular performance would be a challenge. Other times, with longer warm ups and rest between sets, they get up and going and perform just fine.

But on field, it’s an entirely different ball game (pun intended). The chaotic nature of sports plus even the slightest lapse of concentration is a fertile ground for injury. It’s a risk we’d highly advice against.

To bring this article full circle: If there’s anything that would stunt your child’s growth, it’d be the effects from an irreversible injury.

So, wise cut back on the 7am, 3 hour soccer practices on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during hectic academic seasons, and maintain a weekly session on weekends (or a time where they’re better rested) to maintain their skills. More intensive trainings and games can come during term breaks.

 

Coaching is a 2-way street, we communicate with clients, even if they’re children, to understand how they feel, because that is, in extension, how they will perform. But there seems to be a disconnect in parents’ appreciation of a child’s physical capacity.

While we think the general activity level among kids can be increased, it is equally important to scale back when necessary. And such are communications we often have with parents to design the best approach to bringing out the best athlete in their children.

Here’s a clichéd analogy to end this article: like fertilizers, there is a right time, place and amount necessary to grow a strong tree.

Should my child work out?2018-11-13T07:43:17+08:00

Popular Supplements’ Consumption Guide

1.43pm, as I’m writing this, I’m sipping on my 4th bottle of whey shake, “5 more to go for the day”. A constant, IV-drip like supply of protein, the best way to prevent muscles from withering away.

Jokes aside, with absurd claims being the driving force behind many products, the world of supplementation is a tough one to navigate.

Fortunately, supplements that actually work have withstood the tests of research and time, and in this article, we’ll narrow it down to the select few that make this esteemed list.

But I need to preface this: Like my previous article on exercise selection, your choice of supplementation is goal dependent. Someone with arthritis is going to have a very different looking supplement cabinet compared to someone looking to put on weight. Figure out your main goal before picking any supplements.

Protein Supplement

Before I go on and plug a protein powder with my discount code, some answers to some FAQs:

  1. How much protein should I consume?
    Not having enough protein is no big deal, the human body can survive with various percentages of macronutrient breakdown. However, in the purpose of getting stronger (i.e., increased muscle mass), aim for 1.5g – 2g of protein/ kg bodyweight. E.g., a 60kg person should consume about 90gs – 120gs of protein per day. Err on the low side if you’re new to a high protein diet.
  2. Can protein make me too muscular?
    I wish.

The main reason this tops the list: Most Malaysian meals lack sufficient protein. With meals built around noodles, rice, and bread, it’s no surprise that carbohydrate dominates the nutrient composition of our typical meals. Consuming even the low end of 1.5g of protein per kg bodyweight can feel like a stretch for many.

And this is why protein supplementation is the whey to go (pun intended).

Whey protein is a cheap and convenient source of protein. A scoop usually provides the protein equivalent of 100g of chicken breast: 25g.

I’ve tried doing it, but eating 600g of lean meat every day to hit my daily goal of 150g protein is not something I see myself doing for life. Having 2 scoops of protein supplement and just being more conscious about consuming more protein in meals is a better entry point for anyone seeking to improve their body composition.

Caffeine
Caffeine’s capacity to increase strength, endurance, and alertness (albeit transient) is the main reason why it’s ubiquitous in many sports stimulants. An hour of increased performance, over 1 year, can be the difference between winning the league vs being relegated.

Beyond the walls of fitness, caffeine’s effect on improved alertness and cognitive functioning is the reason why coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It is, as I like to believe, the reason why the world still functions.

However, there is a biological downside to this. Caffeine is not a free pass to stay “wired” 24/7, and should be a supplement ON TOP OF sufficient sleep. Over consumption can lead to caffeine tolerance: where the effects of caffeine is no longer potent.

Thus, I recommend lowering doses on days where activity level is low to prevent tolerance to caffeine

Step 1: Find your dose. A blanket recommendation is to keep to within 500mg a day, but I find myself wired for hours even with 200 mg. A typical espresso shot usually yields about 80mg of caffeine, a red bull can has about 75mg.

Step 2: Plan your caffeine intake around periods where energy levels dip. I recommend it to be sometime between 10am to 3pm, where the natural dip in energy levels occurs for most people upon waking around 730am, and not too close to general bedtime of 11pm. Personally, I drink my coffee at 10am and at 2pm.

“Supplement”

Definition: “a thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it”.

Supplementation is only useful on top of an already sound and consistent diet and training plan. It can make the fitness journey easier, but it’s no shortcut to actual work. With that, I urge you to prioritize on creating a lifestyle that supports your fitness goals, and only then, layer in the equation of a supplement.

Curious on how to design a training program that works according to your lifestyle, contact us at Healthworks, Mont Kiara to schedule a fitness consultation with our fitness trainers at 03-6211 7533.

Popular Supplements’ Consumption Guide2018-10-04T02:45:12+08:00

What should I do in the gym?

With instructions to every exercise imaginable at our fingertips: You’d think that we’d be the healthiest generation in human history.

Spoiler alert: We’re not.

With abundance comes confusion. The most common question with exercise “Where do I begin?” I believe the answer comes from self-inquiry, here’s a few to get you started:

  1. “What would I like to achieve with training?”

This a difficult but necessary question. Ask yourself. Answer specifically and honestly. “I want a smaller waistline”, “I want broader shoulders”, “I want a stronger lower back”, “I want bigger biceps”, “I just want to have fun” are common answers.

It’s important to not judge what you want, because your answer determines your training approach.

If bigger biceps are truly what you desire (although we can argue about the utility of this goal), that crosses out lots fluff. Your approach should zone in on performing exercises that stimulate muscle growth of the biceps brachii, rather than spending an hour running on the treadmill.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you want to have fun, unless you love the agonizing burn of concentrated curls or high-rep deep squatting, Zumba, dance, or group exercise classes are safer bets.

  1. “Can I do it 2-3 times a week?

One session of bicep curling will not do anything to grow your biceps. No exercise session is worth doing in isolation.

Sessions should beget sessions, and to truly reap the benefits of exercising, learn to schedule in multiple sessions throughout a week. Rather than expecting instant results, long term planning for long term progression should be the goal.

Some clichés are true: Fitness shouldn’t be a destination, but a journey. Treat the fruits of labor from exercising as being able to keep on exercising.

  1. “Can I do it pain free?”

No exercise is worth doing if it causes pain that sets you back.

That said, it’s important to discern between soreness and pain. Pain usually comes in sudden, acute, sharp sensations, and are often located on joints. Pain is indicative of injury, while soreness, although sometimes unbearable, are an expected result of exercise.

Pain: My knees hurt when I walk down the stairs. Soreness: My glutes and quads are sore walking down the stairs.

While exercise induced pain is something to avoid, an experience of it provides important insights. Movements that cause pain can sometimes be sign of a problem that may lead to more severe future pain.

This is where a consultations with a physiotherapist or an exercise specialist can be valuable. Pain is so multifaceted that entire textbooks have been dedicated to examining this phenomena.

If you’re facing pain or any issues while performing your exercise of choice, know that it’s not the end of the road. It never is. Drop by Healthworks Mont Kiara and schedule a consultation session with our team of Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Exercise Specialists as we work holistically to get you back on track.

What should I do in the gym?2018-09-05T01:47:48+08:00

Deadlift – The King of All Exercises?

The conventional deadlift is like coconut oil, chia seed, bulletproof coffee in the realm of exercises. It is widely believed to be a MUST DO exercise, which we widely believe is far from true.

Let’s explore why.

Before adding an exercise into your routine, several questions have to be asked.

Q1: “What is the purpose of this exercise in relation to my training goal?”

To Build Muscle? The conventional deadlift is not the best leg (hamstring), back (latissimus dorsi, rhomboid) or butt (gluteus maximus) builder. It is a decent exercise for these muscle groups, but there are superior movements:

Back: Bentover rows, chin Uus and pulldowns.

Hamstrings: Romanian Deadlifts, lying leg curls and stiff legged Deadlift.

Butt/ Quads: Squats, hip thrusts and leg presses.

These exercises train those muscle groups for their a) specific anatomical function, b) stress those muscles through a larger range of motion, and c) provide a much longer time under tension compared to the conventional deadlift.

To Get Stronger? Via the deadlift mechanics, the body is capable of moving a lot of weight (more so than other compound movements), true that.

But strength goes beyond how heavy you lift off the floor. Getting “stronger” can be achieved with any properly coached movement; being able to jump higher, run faster, toss further, curl heavier, curl more reps, curl with fuller range of motion equates strength gain (I’m a big fan of curls).

A beef I have with the conventional deadlift: The movement subjects everyone to lift off 211mm (bar height from floor), which makes no sense for a 6’6″ basketball player who has poor deadlift leverages compared to a 5’8″ soccer player.

In this case, a Romanian deadlift, or a Stiff-legged deadlift would reign supreme.

The shorter athlete with better success in the lift would be deemed stronger compared to the taller athlete but we’re not only comparing unjustly, but fitting everyone into a preset mold.

Just because the body is designed to mechanically lift heavy off the floor, it shouldn’t be viewed as the be all end all for strength gain. Specificity matters a lot for strength gain and it that’s when the next question can help:

Q2: “What do I need to get stronger for?”

If your goal is to get stronger in deadlift for the purpose of powerlifting, the conventional deadlift, lifted off the floor in a dead (paused) position, is the KING for that goal.

However, if your goal isn’t solely powerlifting related, not so much.

Specificity matters and I encourage everyone to discover that by revisiting Questions 1 and 2.

You don’t have to go extremely heavy 

The meteoric rise of deadlifts came with the meteoric rise of Powerlifting.

Which is amazing: Periodization, accessory exercise variations, activation exercises, mobility work, proper technique are all brought into the spotlight.

Unfortunately, it came along with the meteoric rise of heavy lifting. I’m sure we’ve all seen the beginner who lifts one rep, with said rep taking more than 5 seconds, with form that resembles a fishing rod.

Don’t get me wrong. For advanced powerlifters, heavy singles or triples have their place in training. but it shouldn’t be something you do 4 times a week if you’ve merely been deadlifting for 2 weeks. Benefits from the exercise can still be derived from much lower intensities at higher repetitions (4 to 6), a far better options for beginners dialing in technique.

4 sets of 6 reps for 24 total reps facilitates learning better than 6 sets of 1 rep, even more so if you’re executing the movement with proper form with a more manageable weight. I don’t find many fitness maxims to be true, but in this case – leave your ego at the door, the gym, your lower back, the commercial plates not designed for slamming will thank you for it.

At Healthworks, we analyze the mechanics of every exercise, even movements as straight forward as the deadlift. Details matter, and how you preform a movement can be the difference between leaving the training session better, versus leaving a training session feeling like a wreck.

Optimize your movement patterns and start exercising to improve your life, not set it back.

 


Deadlift – The King of All Exercises?2018-09-04T08:31:23+08:00
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