Sunday, 22 September 2013

Power foods that you should add to your diet

Bodybuilding is an art whereby one dedicates their entire lifestyle in a bid to achieve physical perfection. In order to achieve this state however there are three principal factors that are worked on:
  • Diet
  • Rest
  • Exercise
Now these three categories are said to have varying percentages of emphasis, such as 60% diet, 30% exercise and 10% rest. Many bodybuilders will say however that each one of these three go hand in hand and require utmost dedication.

The following are just some power foods that you should add or increase in your diet to help you burn fat and increase muscle gains:


Eggs were considered one the big no-no's in dieting due to the fact that just two eggs puts one of the daily recommended value of cholesterol. This however is being overshadowed by the factor that eggs provide the highest biological value protein (a measure of how well the protein supports the body's actual needs) compared to any other food out there. Additionally research has shown that having two eggs a day will not raise your cholesterol levels. The majority of cholesterol found in eggs is comprised within the egg yolk so and alternative to get the maximum gains from eggs would be to consume the egg whites. A bonus as well about eggs is that it is high in vitamin B12 which is necessary for fat breakdown.


Water is the essence of life, and has many benefits besides the obvious factors of hydrating the body and providing the body the feeling of "fullness". Studies have shown that by merely drinking 500ml of water, subjects experienced and increase in metabolic rate by 25%. What this entails is that during periods of inactivity, your body will consume approximately an extra 20 calories every hour. In contrast to this, when test subjects experienced 15% loss in body mass due to dehydration, it was recorded that the subjects experienced a significant reduction in strength, according to 2001 study by  Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The daily recommended amount of water consumption, according to the Institute of Medicine, is 16 cups men, where as for women is 11 cups.


Besides being a great source of calcium and additionally taking up room in your stomach signalling to your brain of being full, research into dairy products is gaining popularity in terms of the massive health benefits. Research posted in the July 2007 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition, indicated that milk offers better hydration than water or sports drinks. Besides these factors, dairy is a great source of protein and on top of this, milk has been proven in a 2006 study from the University of Texas Medical Branch, to boost muscle growth through protein synthesis.

Dairy products you should eat:
  • Ricotta Cheese (High in protein)
  • Milk (Muscle Booster)
  • Cottage Cheese (High in Casein Protein)
  • Yogurt (High in Probiotics, Helps digestion and absorption of vitamins)

For the Serious Fitness Fanatic

If you believe you have the fitness levels of a god and only currently do two forms of exercise of either weight lifting or cardio; then its time to be introduced to the more general all round HIIT training routines out there namely Crossfit and Calithenics which will truly test your fitness levels.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program designed to help people gain a broad and general fitness.

So CrossFit was developed by Greg Glassman in 2000, and has taken the world by storm. It incorporates a mixture of olympic weight lifting, aerobic and gymnastics exercises. What this entails is a very broad based fitness regime that works all muscle groups in the body giving a total body workout. CrossFit is done at high intensity and tests your speed, strength and endurance all of which is timed and by the end of the session you should be on the floor panting for breath in a pool of sweat.

Think you are up to the challenge?

Well, here is link to a beginners work out routine: 16-Days of Beginner CrossFit Workouts You Can Do From Home

OR if you believe you are a fitness god, good luck trying these brutal crossfit routines: The 6 most brutal crossfit wods

Calisthenics are a form of exercise consisting of a variety of exercises, often rhythmical, movements, generally without using equipment or apparatus.

Calisthenics is a more extreme form of exercise mainly using bodyweight as the source of resistance. In its more brutal form of Extreme Calisthenics as seen above, takes years of training and dedication; but probably gives you the ultimate party tricks that can be used anywhere.

 The fundamental exercises that Calisthenics is based around are:
  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Dips
  • Sprints
  • Crunches
  • Lunges
  • Plank
These give you a great core workout, also being a compound exercise through activating multiple muscle groups in one exercise. The defining characteristic about Calisthenics is that factor that you can train practically anywhere and it is an immensely great strength gainer. By incrementally building up your strength over time, you set yourself higher targets and more extreme challenges.

Beginners guide to Cardio

Often the most difficult thing to exercise is forming a routine. They say it takes 3 weeks to develop a habit and in order to ensure that you follow through with this the best bet would be to partner up with someone who has already been exercising for a while. This way you have not only a person who can show you the ropes but also someone that will keep you motivated to keep going and working out.

Cardio is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process.

So when one thinks of cardio, one pictures a Low Intensity Steady State exercise or LISS for short. However cardio can also be conducted in a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

LISS Training involves one continuous period of low intensity training at around 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate, for example a one hour low intensity run. The break down however is that your body becomes very adaptive to LISS training, in that plateaus are reached quickly where little fat loss is able to occur. Research has shown, where people do hours and hours of LISS cardio and they should be losing kgs of weight and this does not occur. The reason for this is the body's metabolism adapts to the low intensity training and essentially only burns calories during the cardio work out. In essence you can achieve the same amount of calorie loss through LISS training by restricting your diet and subtracting the calorific value of food. Additionally to this LISS training is more catabolic (muscle wasting) to your system, in that, muscle is sacrificed and broken down during the work out session.

HIIT Training involves periods of high intensity training, raising your heart rate and training at around 90% of your maximum heart rate, with successive periods of low-moderate intensity training. Examples of this would be a 1 minute sprint coupled with a 3 minute light jog or walk, as to bring the heart-rate back down to normal. HIIT training is meant to hurt and put you into the uncomfortable zone where you gasp for air and sweat buckets, and if you are feeling that, then you are doing HIIT training right. We mentioned that LISS training is more catabolic towards muscle in the body than HIIT. So HIIT training is probably the only cardio method for people to preserve or gain muscle mass, and this is clearly shown in a comparison between endurance runners and olympic sprinters.

Marathon runner vs Sprinter: LISS vs HIIT

One of the main differences between LISS and HIIT training is the factor of the adjustment of metabolism. In LISS training as mentioned earlier, the body adapts to low intensity training. In the case of HITT training however, studies have shown that the metabolism is raised, which results in a calorie burn post workout.

All of this is not to say that LISS should be chosen over HIIT, the best option would be a combination of both. I have added a few research studies below with an in-depth analysis of HIIT and LISS training, which thoroughly explain the differences between the two and the advantages or disadvantages of either.

Links to articles citing the advantages of HIIT over LISS:

Cardio For Fat Loss: High Intensity Interval Training Cardio Vs Low Intensity Steady State Cardio

Fit with HIIT: Science Is Dropping The Hammer On Endless Bouts Of Steady-State Cardio.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Exercising over Dieting

Now I write about this as in this current day and age, health is one aspect of our lives that we should never dismiss. The idea that your body is your temple is truly a mindset that everyone should adopt for its the one thing that stays with us for our entire lives, so why would you not look after it?


 You may ask why should one exercise when you could just diet? Many people diet in a bid to lose weight however they forget that this results in short-term gains with possible long-term consequences. Consequences in the manner, that by depriving your body of nutrients, it enters into a "survival mode" and after dieting, your body will attempt to store as much energy from food as possible. So what often occurs is that people will lose weight by entering ridiculous rabbit food diets (Atkins Diet) of eating one leaf of lettuce a day or a bowl of gluten free, sugar free, carb free noodles (Superlite Shitake Noodles) but the consequences of this are generally negative and do not help your body. Let alone where are you even getting your essential nutrients and vitamins from? Imagine what that will do to your body in the long term from depriving yourself for so long? A total misconception is that when people refer to dieting what sparks to mind is of enjoying a cup of lettuce soup for weeks on end; however correct dieting would involve eating the right foods that will incorporate all the necessary vitamins, nutrients and of course most of all protein.

A little known fact about fat is that it never disappears from your body. What actually occurs is mitosis, where the fat cells overflow and divide into two cells. What does this mean? Well, for the rest of your life, you will have the same amount of fat cells in your body (Unless you get liposuction of course but have you seen the series that show how it's done? It looks like you getting skinned alive). What essentially occurs when you "lose fat" is your fat cells are shrinking.

How mitosis works, A picture that I found on Google images and I have no clue what diploid cells are?
The difference that exercising pertains is that not only is your body burning calories during your workout but additionally your metabolism is ramped up. Your metabolism will continue burning calories during periods of inactivity (What whaaaaat?!), which is highly advantageous as in this manner you are not only now burning fat while exercising but additionally while you are just sitting around watching YouTube clips. What else occurs thanks to exercising is you release endorphins which not only make you feel better but also boost your immune system.

So that is in a nutshell why you should exercise over dieting, but for maximum gains the best would be to diet correctly and have a complete exercise routine simultaneously.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

An Introduction to Everything yet Nothing.

This is my possibly hundredth attempt at trying to start a blog as per an assignment for an academic course. I have an incredible tenacity to avoid work especially one's that do not seem interesting and it becomes incredibly difficult to sit down and focus upon it. As a mechanical engineering graduate you would expect my ability to sit down and process this blog assignment as being a piece of cake however I am sure that all of us lean towards procrastination in the event of assignments.

It reminds me of this picture :

I am unsure whether I should be proud or sad that I have completed all 12 "levels" of being a procrastinator, however it is true. Alas however I have duty to do and that is to entertain you with my blog. Now most blogs seemingly have a theme that is resonant throughout the topics however in my case I have been struggling to decide on a theme.

Oh before I forget, the little introduction of myself: My name is Sylvester, and I'm a born and raised first generation Chinese South African. I'm 23 years old and currently reside in Cape Town, living the student life of continually hustling, in a bid to balance the social and work life. I've been living in CT for 5.5 years now, and have adopted the CT culture of pretty much being relaxed and enjoying life.

As I'm pretty much a general guy who's quite open minded and I'd like to think diverse, I have decided to just write about several topics that I have slight experience or exposure upon and hopefully on some topics I shall be able to enlighten you and keep you interested. So I do hope you enjoy reading any posts that I do create...