Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fitness First Hardcore

This quarter, Fitness First Asia released a new exercise program that targets your core muscles within 30 minutes - Hardcore. I was intrigued when I first saw the class in motion while I was outside the GX studio and so I had to try it.

[caption id="attachment_6431" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Fitness First Hardcore Fitness First Hardcore[/caption]

The first 7 minutes of the class includes 2 groups of 4 sets of cardio and plyometrics. 4 minutes separated by a 60-second activity of each movement. Then, after a 30-second break, the 2nd group of exercise kicks in. This will raise your heart rate almost near to 90% of your VO2 Max or your maximum heart rate. Spiking up the heart rate in less than 2 minutes and maintaining your 90% will definitely keep your core temperature prepared for the next phase.

Another 2 groups of 4 sets of abdominal workout are introduced on the latter phase. This may include burpees, planks or crunches. I find myself sweating more on this phase because I have a very weak core and have been training on cardiovascular exercises for years already.

In a span of two weeks of doing the program of at least 2-3x a week, this helped me lower down my body fat percentage by 1%! I would consider this a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as the specification of raising the heart rate near to the max then performing anaerobic exercises would perfectly for HIIT.

OK fine, I am very technical here. Let us just consider this as a very effective circuit training that targets your core zone.

Make sure you check out the timetable so you can experience the pain and joy of Hardcore! Surely, you will not be disappointed on the result it will bring. Seriously, I am looking forward for more sessions of doing this.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

High Intensity Interval Training

What is this? If you are into fitness, you might have heard of this recently.


[caption id="attachment_6421" align="aligncenter" width="490"] HIIT Cycling[/caption]


Aerobic exercise is very important in reducing body fat. In due time, your body will come into a state where it will cope to your regular exercise routine and that's commonly known as a gym jargon of fitness plateau. This is one of the problems when you stick to one program that you will gradually be stuck in achieving your goal. Although other forms of exercises may help you in other forms of body composition like heavy weight training, preparing for a marathon and endurance training.

Recently, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) proves a scientific study that it maybe be more effective not just in losing your body fat (BF), take note, not total body weight (TBW) especially in reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than any other exercises after performing the skin fold test. Also, HIIT can help you lower your insulin resistance levels because of different muscle adaptations due to enhanced skeletal muscle fat oxidation and glucose tolerance. This is a perfect workout for Type II diabetes individuals.


[caption id="attachment_6422" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Treadmill Running[/caption]

Regular Steady State Exercises (SSE) such as walking, jogging and other aerobic exercises require a moderate intensity effort. Yes, these workouts are proven and been a long time form of exercise that can decrease weight loss. For people who have stagnant lifestyle, SSE can help them increase their aerobic efficiency, improve their fitness level and help them lose weight.

HIIT involves repeated brief sprint exercises with an all-out intensity and it is immediately followed by a low intensity exercise or rest. The sets from the sprint to the recovery period may vary from 6 seconds up to 4 minutes. Most of HIIT sprints are performed using a stationary cycle ergometer until you reach an intensity level of 90% of your maximum oxygen uptake or commonly called VO2 Max. Computing for your maximum heart rate (MaxHR) can help you determine your VO2 Max.

Response and Adapation to HIIT

Studies have been performed in adolescents, young men and women and older people. They performed HIIT in a period of 2 to 6 weeks at 3 times a week. Acute responses to HIIT resulted to change in heart rate level, blood glucose, lactate levels, autonomic, hormones and metabolic reactivity.

Heart Rate - during the study, recorded peak HRs of 170 beats per minute (BPM) immediately after doing a 30-second maximum cycle sprint. HR averages at 150 BPM within 5 minutes seconds of doing the cycle sprint and increases to 170 BPM within 15 minutes, with 8 to 12 seconds of recovery period. The heart rate decreased between 5 to 8 BPM during the 12 second period of rest.

Hormones - catecholamines, cortisol, and growth hormones.

Catecholamine is released by adrenal gland - a part of the fight-or-flight response. This has effect on heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose level and reaction to the sympathetic nervous system, in which it increases these effects in your body.

Epinephrine and Norepinephrine levels were elevated after 20 minutes of HIIT when done with 8 sec/12 sec cycle sprints. When compared to SSE, only a small difference in these hormones were secreted.

Cortisol - also produced by the adrenal gland. This is released to the body's response to stress. It increases the blood sugar, suppresses the immune system and helps metabolize fat, protein and carbohydrates metabolism. When you lack sleep, exercise burnout, trauma and anorexia can increase cortisol level.

Growth Hormones - this stimulates basically growth and cell reproduction. Secreted by the pituitary gland, it is known to have an anabolic effect that is why this is abused by athletes and body builders. This increases muscle mass, protein synthesis and stimulates your immune system.

Lactate Acid - depsite that increase of lactate levels were observed during HIIT, free fatty acid transport also increased. This is very important as a source of energy and adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Blood sugar - people with Type 1 diabetes who suffer hypoglecemia or low concentration of sugar in the blood can benefit to this effect. The stabilization of glycemia, the content of sugar in the blood, associated with elevated levels of the hormones mentioned above, remained at near baseline level.

Increased aerobic and aerobic fitness, skeletal muscle adaptation and decreased fasting insulin and insulin resistance are the body's chronic responses to HIIT. Two weeks of doing HIIT on a cycle sprint with a 4-minute recovery and doing it 4 to 6 times increased the VO2 Max by 7% to 13%. This has greater effect that you can achieve of up to 41% and 46% in Type 2 diabetic and older people.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity

[caption id="attachment_6418" align="aligncenter" width="560"]HIIT and SSE Fat Loss HIIT and SSE Fat Loss
Chart provided by NCBI[/caption]

(a) is Subcutaneous Fat and (b) is Abdominal Fat Loss. This is the result after 15 weeks of doing HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training compared in doing the Steady State Exercise or SSE.

Significant abdominal fat loss is recorded especially to untrained individuals. Possible causes would be of increase exercise and postexercise fat oxidation and decreased postexercise appetite. Yes, HIIT can help you reduce your appetite due to corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that has effect on stress and anxiety.


HIIT is not recommended for those individuals who are just starting their exercise regime and would want to lose fat. Strong aerobic and anaerobic level must be attained first before attempting this program. If you have been doing exercises for a while, it is a great opportunity to ask for your personal trainers if they have HIIT programs. This has greater benefits than doing your normal walking, jogging, swimming, cycling.

Les Mills is releasing a new exercise program called GRIT Strength. It offers weightlifting, running and plyometrics for a full body workout in a short 30-minute workout which passes the criteria for a HIIT exercise.


Doing HIIT can have a significant increase in aerobic and anaerobic fitness and gives signification skeletal muscle adaptations that are oxidative and glycolytic in nature. This can also help you achieve a greater result in losing your abdominal fat.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Keep Your Water Bottle Bacteria and Fungi Free

How often do you clean your gym water bottle? How sure are you it is bacteria-free?

I like using reusable water bottles not just because I have a good habit of rehydrating during intense workouts at the gym, but also  these are very environment-friendly. Rather than buying distilled drinking water in soft plastic bottles in which you always throw away once done, these are more expensive. I know that practically all gyms and fitness centers would have a free drinking filtered water.

But when your water bottle remains wet inside, bacteria and fungi will definitely make their way to propagate in your bottles. Especially, like mine, that I put whey products after each workout and sometimes leave the bottles uncleaned or at least, unrinsed. Definitely, the foul smell of the milk or soy products is a decent sign that you badly need to develop a habit of cleaning your water bottle more often and more thorough.

[caption id="attachment_6412" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Cleaning Your Water Bottles Cleaning Your Water Bottles[/caption]

As my common practice, after using it, I make sure that I rinse the bottle. And when I reach home, I will clean it with a brush somewhat like those used for disinfecting the baby bottles with a dishwashing soap and run through hot water; rinse thoroughly. I keep the bottle and the nozzle, if there's any, open in a place where the sun shines. Bacteria and fungi love a moist and dark environment.

If you have a dishwasher, throw it there and let the machine do the work for you. Most of the good water bottles are dishwasher-safe.

From time to time, I use vinegar. All-natural, eh? Acetic acid is cheap and has a cleaning substance that can kill certain germs and bacteria, though this is not as effective as killing off the influenza virus, for example. You may also use a very weak bleach solution. 99% of the common bacteria can be easily killed by sodium hydrochlorite or commonly known as the bleach. A ratio of one tablespoon of bleach to one quart of water is good enough. Fill the bottle with the solution and let it sit for around two minutes. You can actually use this solution in your other dishes, just make sure that you soap and you rinse them thoroughly afterwards.

There are other commercial products that are designed to clean bottles - bottle cleansing tablets. This is the most expensive apart from investing in buying a dishwasher.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tito Sotto: The Great Translator

And he did it again! Congratulations senator. It is, indeed, a great act of faking another turno en contra privilege speech regarding the Reproductive Health (RH) bill on Wednesday.

Tito Sotto
Translating another's work in your vernacular language does not merit its authenticity. And yes, this is another form of plagiarism. For those who speak the Filipino and English languages, you will definitely notice that it was directly translated then,  partially spun to adjust to his mother tongue.
Ilan ang magiging dakila sa pagbali ng kasaysayan, subalit bawat isa sa atin ay maaaring kumilos, gaano man kaliit, para ibahin ang takbo ng mga pangyayari. Kapag pinagsama-sama ang ating munting pagkilos, makakalikha tayo ng totalidad na magmamarka sa kabuuan ng kasaysayan ng henerasyong ito.
Ang mga hindi-mabilang na iba't ibang galaw ng katapangan at paninindigan ang humuhubog sa kasaysayan ng sangkatauhan.

Tuwing naninindigan tayo para sa isang paniniwala, tuwing kumikilos tayo para mapabuti ang buhay ng iba, tuwing nilalabanan natin ang kawalan ng katarungan, nakakalikha tayo ng maliliit na galaw. Kapag nagkasama-sama ang mumunting galaw na mga ito, bubuo ito ng isang malakas na puwersang kayang magpabagsak maging ng pinakamatatag na dingding ng opresyon.
- Tito Sotto
Here's the original transcript:
Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of all these acts, will be written the history of this generation.

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these that the belief that human history is thus shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Some will be great in breaking the story, but each of us can take action, however small, to change the course of events. When combined together our little act, we create a totality that mark throughout the history of this generation.

The non-countless different motions of courage and commitment are shaping the history of mankind.

Whenever we stand for a belief, when we act to improve the lives of others, when we resist injustice, we are small generative motion. When nagkasama together the ripple moves them, they constitute a powerful force can knock even the strongest walls of oppression.
- Robert Kennedy's Speech, Day of Affirmation Address
When you search and check for plagiarism points of the Google translated version, his speech will definitely show 0% points - meaning it passed the plagiarism check. Yes, it would! That's why people are being hired for spinning and this is one of the best and effective tools in SEO to get more points from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

This has been circulating around Facebook which will give you a comparison of both speeches. What do you think?

Vicente Sotto and Robert Kennedy Speeches
It is not surprising when he actually mentioned to the media that he claimed that he wrote it and never attributed Kennedy's Day of Affirmation whatsoever.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Firmoo Glasses

It is very rare that you would find an online store that offers prescription glasses and fashionable shades for a low cost.

Firmoo Full Frame Shades
Firmoo contacted me recently to try one of their glasses. I was skeptical at first because I rarely accept such offers since I wanted to keep my blog as personal as possible. And yet, when I looked at their product line, they are promising! Until the shades were delivered to me!

Firmoo Glasses
I was not really expecting that it would come so fast - roughly around 3 working days after they confirmed that they shipped it. It comes with a nice hard case, a non-lint cloth, some spare screws and microscrewdriver and a black velvet pouch to keep your shades handy and protected while inside your bag.

Although I have a perfect 20/20 vision, this does not mean that the shades or other prescription glasses they offer would not fit you. What I really like about the website is that you can actually preview what the glasses/shades would look like on your face. Just upload a mugshot, set some key points on your face and choose your preferred design. This is just one of the reasons I like online shopping.

Last weekend, after my usual Sunday gym routine, I made use of the bright daylight to take some narcissistic shots using my camera. It could have been better if I used a more controllable light with a decent white background. You would notice that my shoes, clothes and an eyesore of orange plastic bag is hanging by the door.

Anyway,  this is just to show off my tan and my progress so far. And yes, you are right! Although the shades I picked is primarily designed for women, it seems it could fit well for a unisex face; or maybe my facial features are soft enough to fit into the full frame shades.