Bring Out The Sexy You

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This month we have a series of poster / wallpapers that hopefully would encourage you to work that body of yours to find that sexiness that is already inside of you.

Stay Fit. Stay Sexy. Fit is Sexy.

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Fueling Up


Most people don’t really understand what the body needs in order to perform sports activities. Due to the many fads out there in the market, it is easy to lose focus.
Fueling the body properly is vital in any sport but knowing how and when to fuel as well as how much, takes some know-how and practice.

Your muscles use energy all day even when you are just sitting around. When you increase your physical activity, you use more energy. The more intense the physical exertion the more energy is used. Your energy comes from food that contains carbohydrates (carb). Anything starchy (rice, noodles, pasta) or sweet contains carbs. There are simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are found mainly in fruits, milk and anything that has sugar as an ingredient. Complex carbs can be found in grains, legumes and starchy vegetables like corn, peas and potatoes. Your body converts carbs into glucose which travels through your bloodstream providing energy throughout your body.

Your muscles usually store small amounts of energy resource in the form of glycogen. When you run out of glycogen after some physical activity, you will feel fatigue and tired. The more muscles you build the more glycogen is stored and more energy is used. This is why you may feel the desire to eat more than usual as you exercise more often.

Complex CarbPlanning your meals before exercise is important so that you don’t run out of energy too soon. To do this, you first have to know how much energy you will need and for how long. It is generally advised to have a small meal one to two hours before exercising, giving your body time to digest and process the food into energy. You should never go into a workout session on an empty stomach; neither should you eat until you are so full that you end up feeling bloated or nauseous during a workout. The more you eat the longer it takes for the food to digest. This meal is meant to fuel your muscles and therefore should mainly consist of carbohydrates for that very purpose. A small bowl of rice or noodles, some bread or fruit would do the trick. Reduce on proteins and fats as both take a longer time to process and generally do not provide sufficient energy boost.

Sports like badminton, squash and tennis require short burst of energy. The same goes for resistance workout and bench pressing. Your muscles would work for brief periods only and you have the time to rest before repeating the process. During the rests, you have time to grab an energy drink for an instant fuel supply should you require it. Fueling for activities like running or cycling for 30 to 60 minutes is pretty much the same. On the other hand, long distance running, cycling and any other form of endurance activities that extends up to several hours without opportunity to rest, require a prolong and continuous supply of energy. In such activities, it is not convenient to carry along that much energy drink and energy gel packs can only do so much. In a half-marathon (about 21 km), the average runner will run for nearly two hours. So what do marathoners, triathletes and ultra-marathoners do for energy? They carb-load.

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Carb-loading (or carbohydrate-loading) is a strategy used to increase the amount of fuel stored in your muscles to improve athletic performance for endurance sport. Basically, the athlete eats more than the usual amount of carbohydrate for 2 to 3 days working up to a race. The carb is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver becoming the most easily accessible source of energy. For this to work, a diet of complex carbohydrate is required and the most common of this is pasta. You can also take oatmeal, bread, pancakes, bagels, fruits and any other source of complex carbohydrates.

Originally developed in the late 1960’s, carb-loading typically involved two phases. The result was a boost in glycogen storage beyond the usual levels. This technique starts with a depletion phase where the athlete would go through 3 to 4 days of hard training and a low carbohydrate diet. This depletion phase was thought to be necessary to stimulate the enzyme glycogen synthase. This was then followed immediately by a 3-4 day ‘loading phase’ involving much lower training time combined with a high carbohydrate diet. The combination of the two phases was shown to boost glycogen storage beyond their usual levels. Sports nutritionist Ilana Katz, R.D. says that it is common to see at least four pounds increase in body weight when you carb-load. “With every gram of stored carbohydrate, you store an extra three grams of water,” says Katz. This means that you will also be hydrated as you fuel up.

Carb-loading will not make you run or cycle any faster. There is no increase in efficiency nor skill. Carb-loading merely gives you that extra energy supply when you are working your muscles over a prolonged period. An endurance athlete who does not carb-load may hit “the wall”. Hitting “the wall” means that your body has run out of fuel and its reserves; and is starting to convert fat into energy, however, it takes the body more effort to convert fat into fuel. When this happens, your body starts to feel weak and unresponsive; you may even lose focus.

So, plan your “fueling” meals according to your activities. Getting this right will give you just the right boost of energy. Have a small carbohydrate meal a couple of hours before a regular workout or sport; and work out a one week carb-loading meal plan for an endurance workout or race that’s going to take several hours.

How To Buy A Bike?


Cyclists_at_red_2I am assuming by this time, you would already have an idea of what type of bike perks your interest. If you are not sure or simple didn’t know there are options,read this article first.

Next you need to figure out how much you are willing to spend on the bike, however, you need to first have a little understanding in choosing a bike. A good price tag does not necessarily mean a good bike and a great bike in the hands of a beginner is just a bike. Imagine giving the keys of a brand new Ferrari to a 16 years old. If you don’t know how much you should fork out, simply read on and maybe by the end of this article you might have a better idea.
Generally though, I advice beginners to put out around RM3,500 for a road bike, RM2,500 for a mountain bike and you can get a decent folding bike for around RM1,000. If you just want a simple commuter bike just to get around the neighbourhood, then park aside around three to four hundred.

SECOND HAND BIKE

I just have to put a word in about second-hand bikes. There is always somebody trying to get rid of his or her bike. For a beginner, considering a second hand bike might be a good idea. Firstly, you will only spend a fraction from the cost of a new bike. Second, you can test it and trash it and not worry too much about the bike’s survival. You will learn more about the sport and as you grow into it you will learn more about what bikes are good, where to get deals and most of all, what exactly you want in a bike. More importantly, will you still be cycling 6 months down the road or would you have moved on to something else.
In fact both my first and second bikes were second hand bikes. Both times the owners were upgrading and sold their bikes for a good price. My Cinelli came with a Shimano Ultegra groupset that would have set me back 7 to 8 thousand, but instead I only paid RM3,000 plus.

NOT JUST THE BIKE

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe bike is just the first part of your purchase. The other essentials don’t come with the bike. I’ll do a quick rundown now and get into more details in the future. Here’s a list of things that you will also need to buy:

  1. Safety helmet
  2. Front headlights
  3. Tail lights
  4. Bicycle lock
  5. Cycling gloves
  6. Cycling glasses
  7. Cycling apparels
  8. Cycling shoes
  9. Repair Kit (Spare tube or patch kit, multi-tool, tyre levers)
  10. Emergency pump
  11. Cleaning equipment and tools

These accessories will easily set you back RM1,000. The good news is you don’t have to buy them all at once. The most important of the lot are your safety helmet, lights and lock. A decent helmet will cost you around RM100, a set of lights (front & rear) will cost about RM50 and a simple bicycle lock will only cost RM30.

Gloves
There are generally two types of cycling gloves – one for road bikes and the other for mountain bikes. Road bike gloves fit snug and comfortable without compromising on movement. They are also thin so that it can wick sweat off faster. It provides you little padding and only in specific areas to relief  stress off the palm of your hands. Mountain bike gloves are stiff, have thick padding and protection around the knuckles.

Cycling Glasses
You might wonder, “Cycling Glasses”?
Well, a cyclist is general exposed to the environment around him/her. You need cycling glasses to protect your eyes from flying insects and pebbles from passing vehicles.

Cycling apparel is not necessary but it does add to your comfort and also the look.
For road bikes; the top is usually snug fitted and has 3 pockets at the back and in arm’s reach where you can store your wallet, phone, a small towel or even some snacks. The shorts usually don’t have pockets and are usually very snug.
For mountain bikes; the top is usually a long sleeve and worn a little loose. These also have back pockets. The short look like regular khakis shorts except they have sewn-in padding.
All cycling shorts have padding on the inside to provide you comfort when sitting on the bike for extended periods. The shorts also prevent chaffing of your skin in the crotch area.

Cycling shoes is not a must but if you have ever had your laces caught in the chain of a bicycle, you will know why there are shoes for cyclist. Also, if you get serious into the sport, cycling shoes will help with performance drastically as they clip onto the pedals so that you can add power by pulling the pedal up and not just pushing down.

If you plan to do long distance cycling, a repair kit is vital. The repair kit is usually packed into a small bag under the seat and usually consist of a spare tube, tyre levers, a patch kit and a multi-tool for cycling. Along with this, you will need an emergency pump that is small and serves only to temporarily inflate your tyre till you can get to a shop.

Last but not least, cleaning equipment. In order to prevent your parts from coming apart or deteriorating to natural element, you need to clean your bicycle on a regular basis. Soap and water alone is not enough. You will need the right tools and cleaners as well as lubricant to keep everything in tip-top condition.


This sums up the first part. Next we will get into the things that affects the cost of a bicycle.

The Left Bank


CyclistRecently, Kimbeley Yap, a SEA Games Gold medalist in triathlon was injured in an accident on the Penchala Link. She was hit by a 20 years old driver with his Harrier while cycling in the morning. On one forum, most everyone were saying how stupid of her to be out riding on the highway in the first place. Irrelevant of highway rules on cycling (or your puny point of view), most of you can be rather self-centered on the road. You take little to no notice of cyclist and pedestrians. Your only concern while driving, is getting to where you are going as fast as you can, your phone calls, text messages and your postings on Facebook, Twitter and whatever social sites you subscribe to. So I just had to voice this out to all motorist out there (and those who have a negative perspective on the victim).

First of all, you cannot train on a road bike in a “taman” (park). If we hit someone there, you will all say that we are stupid for riding in a park and we should ride else where. Riding up and down Cameron, Genting or Putrajaya is no more safer as drivers there are no more different than most of you, self-centered pricks.

Time of the day? Morning is peak hour traffic. From 11am till evening is high heat (unless it’s pouring). 12pm thru 2pm is lunch traffic and after that it only eases a tad bit until the 4:30 peak traffic moves in all the way till after 8:30pm. When we ride after dark, you will say we are causing a danger cause you cannot see us in the night. So? Are we to cycle after the world has slept? Trust me, even then it is no different with wasted drivers coming out of pubs and bars.

Kimberley YapIn Malaysia, road bikers don’t have a place to train properly where they are not avoiding potholes, pedestrians or errand motorist every other second. Highways roads are the only feasible options for competitive and avid cyclists. I cycle around my neighbour hood where traffic speed is not that high nor heavy, yet I still almost got run over by a car that tried to squeeze between cars at the traffic stop and me on the left bank of the second lane. And even when there are no other vehicles on a two lane road, I have had drivers swerving into me. Cyclist don’t ride out in the middle of the road; we cycle on the left bank which you are not suppose to drive into anyway. How big a road do you selfish tarts need for one freaking car. Why can’t you share the road?

So, it is not about where or when we ride. We are in constant danger of stupid-selfish motorist who seriously don’t give two hoots about anyone be they cycling or walking or even driving. All I want to ask is for you to try a little kindness and not just take notice of cyclists but to share a tiny little space on the left bank of the road with us. Is that too much?

I pray that Kimbeley will recover really soon and that she is not permanently injured in anyway.

Kimberley's Bike