Water plays an important role in exercise, especially for thermoregulation. Inadequate hydration or dehydration not only affects performance, but also causes serious health complication or even death, if not managed properly. In Singapore’s hot and humid weather, the risk of dehydration through sweat loss during exercise is even more significant. Fluid loss of 3%-5% of body weight results in cardiovascular strain and impaired function to dissipate heat. Collapse is likely at 7% loss. 
Here are several tips on combating dehydration during exercise
The guidelines for proper hydration are shown below 
 Greenleaf, J. E., & Harrison, M. H. (1986). Water and electrolytes.
 Sports Singapore (2017, March 16). Safety Resources & Useful Links. Heat Disorders Prevention Guide. Retrieved from https://www.sportsingapore.gov.sg/sports education/sports-safety/safety-resources-and-useful-links
1) Decide on the exercise, number of sets, loads, reps to be performed.
2) Keep the reps the same for every set.
3) Perform ascending sets for the first part before doing descending sets during the second part.
4) Rest time should be minimal. Rest time can be more for the first part and kept to a minimal for the second part to achieve the effects of a drop set. Rest times can be adjusted accordingly to the difficulty level dictated in (1).
Exercise: Back squat
Number of sets: 11
Loads: Bodyweight -> unloaded bar squat (20kg) -> 40kg -> 50kg -> 60kg -> 70kg -> 60kg ->50kg -> 40kg -> 20kg -> bodyweight
Reps: 10 reps/set
3) The load for the heaviest set should be not be your 10RM as you would not be able to perform them. Instead, find a load around your 15RM.
4) Additional warm-up is not necessary as it is covered during your lighter sets.
5) Rest time < 20-30s. Minimal rest for the descending sets - perform like drop sets.
Choosing a suitable gym involves much consideration especially when you have to sign up for a long term membership. There are a few factors that you may like to consider.
Even in Singapore where everywhere is relatively near and convenient, still I certainly don't want to travel too much for my workouts. Imagine you are so tired after work and still wants to workout. It is best that the gym is conveniently situated nearby. Or else, the "excuse monster" will take over and bring you somewhere else.
What are your workout goals? Does the gym offers you a conducive environment that suits your needs? If you are doing Crossfit or powerlifting for example, a typical commercial fitness centre may not be a good choice as the gym rules and equipment does not support your activity. You are better off going to a gym that specifically caters to your needs. The environment such as the users and staff would be more supportive and accommodating. However, if you want to workout in a comfortable environment with towels provided/nice shower facilities and exercise classes, then these fitness centres should be the ones for you.
It is value-for-money that is more important than the actual costs itself. If you want an exclusive gym, you should be prepared to pay for it. If you just want to workout hard and doesn't care if the gym doesn't smell as nice as your bedroom, a no-frills gym would offer the best value for your money. Just workout and get out.
Conclusion: It may be difficult to find a gym that satisfy all your needs. You have to do your own analysis and decide which factor/s matters to you more. Personally, I don't like to travel around for my workouts. That is why I set up my home gym. It may not have all the things I need but I save on traveling time and hassle, and this matters a lot to me. Feel free to comment below to add on.
We are aware that post-exercise recovery is important for us to reap the benefits of exercises and to recover physically and mentally for the subsequent workout sessions. However, the next question is "how should we recover?"
There are generally 2 categories of recovery that we can use: Active and passive recovery. Passive recovery involves taking a complete break from your workouts. You can choose to laze around at home or go about your usual routines minus the exercise. Active recovery however, means working out at a lighter load/intensity/duration. A recovery workout means having a easy/light workout compared to your usual workouts. The type of workout can be similiar or different. For example, a lifter can choose to perform fewer exercises with a much lighter load OR just go for a swim/run/play sports etc on his active recovery days.
Given that each type has each pros and cons (read this article), how shall we decide which type to choose? It depends on several factors such as exercise frequency, intensity, duration/volume, type etc. For example, compare a training cycle of 1 week comprising of either 3 or 5 similiar workouts. You can choose to take 2 days off completely (passive recovery) for the 5 workouts/week compared to having 2 active days and 2 off days. It all depends on individual and other mitigating factors.
Active Versus Passive Recovery.Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/training/active-versus-passive-recovery.html/
It is commonly known that sleep deprivation affects exercise performance. This study by Skein et.al. (2003) investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on postexercise recovery which the research was limited, accordingly to the authors. Eleven male amateur rugby players were selected for the study and the effects of sleep deprivation on recovery following competitive matches were examined. It was suggested that sleep deprivation after a match negatively impacted their recovery. Their abilities to recover for training the next day was affected, specifically their counter-movement jump distances and cognitive function. It was recommended that players should sleep adequately after their matches to promote better recovery for the next day training or if not possible, the coach should adjust the training demand accordingly to suit their reduced physical and mental conditions.
Conclusion: Though this study is on rugby players, this could apply to athletes from other sports. For example, players may not sleep enough due to various reasons after a night game. This would affect their recovery for training the next day, more so if it occurs in the morning. Not only that, they may be required to play on the next day as well. The coach should be mindful of this. He/she should instill the habit in their players to have adequate sleep as much as possible.
Skein, M., Duffield, R., Minett, G. M., Snape, A., & Murphy, A. (2013). The effect of overnight sleep deprivation after competitive rugby league matches on postmatch physiological and perceptual recovery. Int J Sports Physiol Perform,8(5), 556-64.
Most of us had experienced "pain" before while playing sports or exercising. Pain is a signal that our body "tell" us that we should slow down or stop whatever we are doing. But not all kinds of pain are the same. There are the good pains and the bad ones.
Let me further elaborate. Some of the good pains are the muscle aches and "burning" or "numbing" sensation we feel in our muscles due to the lactic acid accumulation etc. Bad pains are the sharp or nagging pains in our muscles and joints, chest pains, headaches, nauseousness and etc. Good pains are often inevitable for the serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts. However, bad pains should be avoided at all times. For example, a sharp pain in the muscle or joint may be a sign of an existing or potential injury. Should you continue in the activity, the injury may occur or worsen. It is not worth the risks to bear with the pain and continue with the activity.
With more training experiences, you should be better able to figure out the good and bad pains and strike a balance between pushing your limits and minimizing the risks of injuries etc.
Note: The information is for general purposes only. Please exercise your own discretion and follow advice from your doctor or other healthcare professionals.
Let's say you want to perform strength training and cardio separately in the same workout. What would be the recommended sequence? Firstly, it depends on your priority and preference. for example, if your priority for the workout is to focus on cardio, then cardio should be done first when your body and mind is fresh.
If you have no priority/preferences, it is usually better to perform strength training first before cardio. Generally, cardio takes up more energy than strength training. For example, I find it easier to run after my strength training compared to the other way round.
Perhaps that is one reason to why we have to take our static stations before the 2.4km run station for our IPPT
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a concussion is a type of brain injury that is caused a blow or bump to the head or body which disrupts the way the cells in the brain typically work. A concussion may result in impaired thinking, memory problems, emotional or behavioural change.
Why am I writing about concussion? Because it is a type of injury that is likely to happen in contact sports such as rugby and basketball, but yet it is treated with less importance or simply ignored as compared to other injuries that affect the performance of the athletes.
The American National Football league (NFL) are currently embroiled in a lawsuit termed the “NFL concussion settlement” with thousands of retired NFL players claiming that many of them are at a higher risk of certain medical conditions such as dementia and brain injury which were associated with concussions incurring during their playing years (New York Times, 2014). This shows that the dangers of concussions are evident and may affect us permanently if we do not address them properly.
The signs and symptoms include;
- Headaches or “pressure” in head
- Vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Balance problems or dizziness
Conclusion: Some symptoms may be immediately while others may appear later. If you suspect that you have a concussion, stop all sporting and other physical activity and seek medical attention immediately. Your brain needs to heal with rest before you can slowly and gradually return to your daily activities. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow down recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States of America (2013, July 03). Concussion. Facts about concussion and brain injury: Where to get help. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/Fact_Sheet_ConcussTBI-a.pdf
New York Times (2014, June 25). N.F.L. Makes Open-Ended Commitment to Retirees in Concussion Suit. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/sports/football/nfl-makes-open-ended-commitment-to-retirees-in-concussion-suit.html?_r=0
You have 30 minutes for your workout. What should you do? Hit the gym and lift some weights or simple grab a pair of shoes to run. What if there is a workout that enables you to target your muscular fitness as well as your aerobic fitness?
If you are thinking of circuit training, you are right! Sorry, I am not talking about CrossFit. Anything involving a series of exercises done in succession are generally labeled as circuit-type of training, regardless of other names given to it in the industry currently. In this article, I shall focus on a circuit workout in the gym.
A sample of a circuit workout
1. Dumbbell goblet squats x 20
2. Barbell/dumbbell rows x 10
3. Dumbbell Romanian deadlift x 20
4. Dumbbell chest press x 10
5. Barbell/dumbbell overhead press x 10
6. Burpees x 20
- There are six exercises in this circuit which is a general full-body workout. These exercises are chosen as they require lesser set-up time and space in a gym which may be occupied with other users.
- Firstly, perform 20 jumping jacks to warm up the body. Go through a warm-up circuit with light weights and lesser reps before you stretch (if necessary). This will take 5-10 minutes.
- Start of workout. Perform the circuit AFAP with good form. The only rest time is the set-up time for the next exercise. Due to time constraints, aim to complete 2-3 circuits within 15-20 minutes depending on your ability. You are allowed to rest for 1-2 minutes in between circuits.
- Cool down and do some flexibility work for 5 minutes.
- The whole workout should take no more than 30 minutes including warm-up and cool down.
Note: The main characteristic of circuit training is to perform the exercises with the required reps in succession with minimum or no rest in between until all the exercises are completed. Choose a weight that you can perform the reps without struggling, but with considerable effort.
Conclusion: Circuit training using resistance exercises coupled with aerobic exercises such as burpees or skipping is an efficient and effective method to target your muscular and aerobic fitness in the gym. You can do this 2-3 times weekly and change the exercises and/or order accordingly.
Let’s say you want to work out during your one hour lunch break. You can only spend fifteen minutes on it and are limited to your workplace. You would want to do something short and yet effective enough for your health and fitness goals. The following is a sample of a workout plan that allows you to work out five times per week.
Sample workout plan
Mon/Wed/Fri – Cardio days
- Warm up by walking up and down a flight of stairs at an easy pace. Can do some stretching if necessary after that (5 mins).
- Start of workout. Run up and down the stairs as fast as possible (AFAP) for 8 mins.* There should not be any stopping for rest within the time allocated. Your rest time is the time taken for you to climb down the stairs before going up again.
- Cool down (2 mins).
* The pace should be set accordingly to your own ability. For beginners, you could start with a moderate pace (can speak but cannot sing). For advanced, the pace should be high intensity (barely able to speak).
Note: Preferably find a flight of stairs with at least 3 stories high which should be easily accessible by most office workers in Singapore.
Tues/Thurs – Strength training days
1. Squats x 10
2. Leg raise x 10
3. Push-ups x 10
4. Back extension x 10
- Perform these four exercises and required number of reps as a circuit.
- Warm-up by doing 20 jumping jacks, stretching and an easy circuit (e.g. lesser reps, slower pace) for 5 mins.
- Complete as many circuits as possible within 8 mins.
- Cool down for (2 mins).
Note: Find an area free of clutters in your office or nearby. You only need a small space (around 2m by 2m). Let your co-workers stare in envy while you sweat out the stress and fats.
Conclusion: Feel free to modify the sample workout plan accordingly such as having 3 sessions instead (2 cardio and 1 strength). Let me know if you have any questions or want specific plans to fit your needs.
All information presented on this site is meant for general purposes. It is not meant to replace health and medical advice from healthcare professionals.