Wednesday, 29 January 2014


The English Institute of Sport (EIS) defines Strength and Conditioning as the physical and physiological development of athletes for elite sport performance. The role of the S&C coach is to bridge the gap between the theory of training and applied training, helping athletes to become faster, stronger and more flexible and to build their muscular endurance so they perform better and remain injury free. Strength and Conditioning is about more than just lifting weights - it encompasses the entire development of the athlete and what is needed to improve physical performance. This includes plyometrics, speed and agility, endurance and core stability, with strength training being just one piece of the jigsaw.

At the time of writing this, more than half of Team 2ndskin athletes have undergone their initial assessment session with GetActive, who are the team’s Strength & Conditioning Partner for 2014. The results of the assessment were an eye-opener for all of us in the team as we were made aware of the components of fitness that we were lacking and those that we could improve on.
Eugene tells us in depth about his experience in the first session with head coach of GetActive, Chloe Lai.
Get Active, Strength & Conditioning Specialists
I made my appointment for the initial fitness assessment with Chloe a week prior. She mentioned some fitness tests and that made the whole team kinda nervous. It didn’t get any better when she hinted to me that she was pretty sure all of us would fail the test, Ironman or not! :p
The morning of the assessment (my appointment was made in the evening after work), I emailed Chloe some information that I thought would assist in the assessment, like my vital stats, medical history, my goals and targets for 2014, my supplement intake as well as some personal thoughts of what I am lacking in fitness-wise (ie, weaknesses).
As I stepped into GetActive Studio (also known as The Base), Chloe was there to greet me and took me on a quick tour of the place. It was a cosy setup and immediately you feel comfortable and not intimidated, unlike some franchise gyms that “scare” you with rows and rows of heavy iron and equipment. The layout of The Base caters more for individual and specialized attention for the client, with a good expanse of space for movement, bodyweight exercises and rehabilitation. Adequate cardio equipment, multi-functional weight machines and comprehensive range of free weights lined the sports performance room.
Roy filling up the questionnaire at the start of the assessment
We kicked off the session with me filling up the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. It mainly concerns current and past health history, including some family history as a reference. Since I had already furnished Chloe earlier with my medical history and goals for 2014, we proceeded to get started with the physical assessment. The rest of the team (in their individual sessions) went through an oral interview with Chloe asking the questions to gauge what was needed for each individual athlete. Questions ranged from medical problems, to food intake, training type and intensity, injury history as well as improvement areas each athlete was looking for in 2014.
First up, was the Functional Movement Test. Simple tests conducted showed that my left upper back was tighter than my right side and that contrary to what I had thought all this while, it wasn’t my hamstrings that were tight, but actually my glutes and lower back. Glutes are a short representation for the gluteal muscles (Gluteal maximus, medius, minimus and piriformis) that make up the buttock muscles. I have always thought that it was my hamstrings that were inflexible, spending hours driving in the car and sitting on my office chair everyday. It was a surprise to realize that the range of motion in my hamstrings was quite good, but that my frequent hamstring strains, and inability to sit cross-legged for long periods was due to a hampering in my posterior chain mobility by my tight gluteal muscles and lower back. I was told, in Chloe’s words, “to activate my glutes and release my lower back muscles”.
Deo going through a roller-coaster of emotions (and pain!)
To further confirm the “diagnosis”, we worked on my glutes with the foam roller and trigger point ball to identify the points where the muscles were knotted and needed work. She also demonstrated and taught me several stretching and yoga movements that targeted the specific muscle groups (that I needed to focus on) to increase flexibility in my range of motion.
Next we proceeded to the strength assessment test. I have been cross-training in the gym with some machines and free-weights for the past few years but mainly focused on endurance with higher repetitions and lower weights. My normal gym workouts would entail more upper-body work to balance out all the running and cycling workouts that I do. I went through a series of strength tests which Chloe mentioned they only use on athletes and those who regularly workout. The 3 tests involved the squat (2x BodyWeight), bench press (1x BW) and deadlift (2x BW), with the benchmark of strength capability to strive for in brackets.
I was surprised when Chloe told me that we should be performing strength training with higher weight loads and lower repetitions that what I was used to doing as I mentioned above. When I questioned the opinion, Chloe shared some findings with me. Here, I share an excerpt from a journal by the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) who is the worldwide authority on strength and conditioning. They support and disseminate research-based knowledge and its practical application to improve athletic performance and fitness. By the way, Chloe is a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist.
“For years the standard recommendation for endurance athletes has been to use weights that allow relatively higher repetitions (70% 1RM for 10-15 reps/set) than normally performed in strength training. Now researchers at University of Rome have released the outcomes of their study showing that masters endurance runners are better served by training with heavier weights (85-90% 1RM for 3-4 reps).

They concluded the following.

Taken together, the results of this preliminary study indicate that master endurance athletes seem to benefit from concurrent strength and endurance training because the rate of force development may be crucial for RE (Running Economy) improvement, one of the major determinants of endurance performance.

The use of heavier weights was thought to result in greater neurological adaptation, as opposed the creation of new muscle tissue, allowing the subjects to use more of their strength potential.

Those lifting heavier weights in the study didn’t gain any more weight than those lifting lighter weights. In fact, neither group saw a change when compared to the control group, who didn’t weight train, but continued running. The majority of us simply don’t possess the genetics to gain appreciable muscle while maintaining our diets and continuing endurance work.”
 Irene working with resistance bands
I fell short of the prescribed benchmark. No excuses, no reasons. I needed to incorporate more strength training into my routine if I wanted to achieve my targets for 2014. For the record, I have some specific speed goals for running that I want to hit this year, and by increasing strength in my lower body and core, I would be able to power through hills faster.
During the strength assessment, I also realized that my form while performing squats was incorrect and that I have been squatting with weights with the wrong movement for as long as I remember. Honestly, if you are serious about improving yourself, you need to get a specialist to correct your technique so that you are utilizing your muscles properly and avoiding the dreaded injury. After monitoring my form while going through the full range of squat motion, Chloe noticed that I tend to rely heavily on my quads (quadriceps muscles at the front of my thigh) and not activating my glutes properly. I was not pushing up with my heels as much as I should and therefore not maximizing the benefits of the workout. Form correction was necessary and I had to relearn how to squat properly. I also had another drawback in terms of doing the deadlift. Now, the deadlift is an excellent posterior muscle chain strengthener, if done properly with the right form as it targets the glutes, hamstrings and hips. With the history of my lower back immobilization previously due to acute injury, I was very apprehensive to perform the deadlift, and I feel it was more a mental block rather than a physical limitation. Chloe understood that, and demonstrated another move which also simulates the workout of the deadlift but with additional stability aspects incorporated. As this move used lighter weights, I was more comfortable and able to apply it to my regimen.
Single leg movements train stability, balance and iron out muscle imbalances
Chloe prescribed 2 single leg movements which I should make part of my strength training routine. I will share these 2 workouts here for the benefit of everyone as that is how we at Team 2ndskin work; we learn and share. These 2 routines work the glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and quads, making them stronger and giving you the benefit when running or cycling, climbing hills and stairs. The added benefit is of course training your stability and balance, which helps prevent injury and increasing your core strength.
For both workouts, warm-up using your bodyweight with about 10-15reps before you start with weights. If you find balancing an issue with weights, then practice without weights until you are strong enough to proceed to the next level.
Hold a dumbbell / weight on the opposite side of your front leg and keep your body straight with chest proud and shoulders square. Go through the entire motion in a controlled manner and keep note of your posture. Key takeaway here is not how heavy the weights you can manage, but getting the form right to activate the right muscle groups for maximum results. Once you start with weights, work with one that allows you to complete up to 10 reps without losing form. For best results, you should perform stretches and rolling of your glutes, hamstrings and lower back before each session. The 2 routines are the
Single Leg Squat Back Foot Elevated (
Romanian Deadlift Single Arm/Single Leg Contralateral (
Try them out and incorporate into your regular workout routine. I found them to really target my glutes as the day after the session, I was sore in places I have never been sore before (even after a 42km!). In the meantime, before I go for my next session with Chloe to improve on other aspects of strength and conditioning, I will be applyin these plus the other rolling and trigger point techniques that would help keep injury at bay. Note that it is not adequate to just learn the techniques, but more importantly, to put them to use, because knowledge is useless without application.

If any of you are interested to get yourself assessed to understand more of how you can improve on your chosen sport, or how you can beat that recurring injury or to achieve your fitness goals, do get in touch with GetActive. Drop Chloe an email at chloe(at)getactive dot com dot my and mention Team 2ndskin. Make an appointment at a special rate and be on your way to a better, fitter, stronger you this 2014!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Cross Training - A Cross Discussion

We have all heard the term “cross-training” bandied about whenever the topic of training comes up. What exactly is cross-training? Well, Wikipedia defines it as “an athlete training in sports other than the one that athlete competes in with a goal of improving overall performance”.

Now, the key words here are “other than the one that athlete competes in”. So if you take part in running races primarily, then any other sport/workout you indulge in qualifies as cross-training. However, if you’re a triathlete (competing in triathlon events), then basically swim-bike-run is your core sport and not considered cross-training. So, what do the team athletes indulge in for cross-training (if any)?

We talk to Deo and Eugene, who are primarily runners and Chan and Irene, who are triathletes, to get their viewpoints and what they think of this subject. Over a cup of coffee of course. (conversation color-separated for ease of reading)   
Good afternoon fellas! Everybody all comfy and relaxed? How has the start of the year been for you?
Chan:    2014 has been an awesome one so far, I try to get my personal goals clear before I plan for my racing and training program. The upcoming Langkawi Ironman is my biggest event for this year, all the trainings basically gearing towards Ironman preparation. It has been almost a year after graduation, I find challenging to balance between working and sporting commitments.  
Irene:    2014 will be my awesome year. A lot of goal, dream and also PB to be achieve. Look forward n train hard to reach my goal, dream and PB.
Eugene: Yo guys! 2014 has been great so far, both on a personal level as well as the team mechanics. It looks to be a bright year ahead!
Deo: It has been great for me so far, being in the 2ndSkin team among these great athletes. Although I feel a little pressure to match up with their achievements, I’m taking this opportunity to learn as much from them. 
Today, we talk about cross-training. Why do you think cross-training is important for an athlete?
Chan:    I’m a man of many hobbies, likes and desires, when everything combined together, it makes a good cross training for one another. In my opinion, doing a single sport will build up the strength and power because the workouts are mainly focusing on one particular sport. However, the weakness underlies are those overpowered muscle groups will wear out fast. Cross training keeps the workout exciting and also improves overall fitness; we also get to meet different people from different sports.
Deo:      Although I am not doing other sports other than running, I still feel it is important to cross-train. Just that in my terms, cross-training for runners is not just about doing other sports but also about running on different terrain, you know, trail vs road, elevation vs flat. I cross-train as much as I could firstly, to avoid boredom of doing the same routine or running the same terrain or surface. Secondly, I also do steps training whenever I could to strengthen my lower body. Thirdly, cross-train could help in preventing injuries, for instance running on trails and downhill consistently would improve balance and reduce ankle problems or possibilities of injuries. 
There is some school of thoughts that to get better at a sport, you should fully focus on it, as in practice makes perfect. Cross training is only applicable when you are injured or in rehabilitation mode. What are your thoughts on this?
Eugene: Some people do follow that principle. Some runners I know only run, and don’t partake in any other sport, workout or hit the gym. Even if they do get into the gym, the treadmill is the only thing they get on. My opinion is of the opposite spectrum, I believe that cross-training actually helps one to get better and it definitely irons out the weaknesses that an athlete may have, or muscle imbalances.
Irene:   Cross training is important for me as it help me to build my strength and also prevent injury. Cross training is my large toy room. I am very enjoy having training and meet up some old friends in there and share the knowledge together.
Deo:     Well, to some extent it is true because it is the only thing you can do when you’re down with injuries that prevents you from doing your core sports. However, cross-training is also a preventive tool to avoid injuries like what I mentioned earlier on how trail running could prevent ankle problems to runners. Going to gym is a must to any athlete to strengthen those core muscles, at least.  
Chan:   Cross training is actually an injury prevention move, because by strengthening the less used muscles which are comparatively less flexible and less strong, the chances for those muscles to get injured is lesser. As a multisport athlete, my training schedule is never boring by having cross training. In fact, my fitness gets better with lesser mileage.

What do you do for cross-training? I understand that for a triathlete, you already work on 3 different sports (or disciplines), is that enough for you?
Irene:    I start my cross training since 2004. Basically during the training I will more focus on building my overall body strength and also some preveting injury exercise, etc, weight training, basic core conditioning, stretching.
Chan:    My non triathlon races are my cross trainings. In year 2013, I’ve done multiple trail running races and adventure racing which involves long distance kayaking, midnight orienteering, mountain biking, high ropes, inline skating and caving. Adventure racing can really stretch the participants to the limit. Unlike a normal 2 hour triathlon races, I had to keep myself moving for more than 24 hours while struggling to stay awake. It was a great experience for me racing in other sports, every sport offers different kind of challenge, so it indirectly build up my confidence to stay competitive in all races that I do.  
Eugene: You can say that I am primarily a runner as 95% of the races I take part in are runs. Therefore, I qualify cycling and weight-training as part of the cross-training I do. For cycling, I work out mainly on the RPM bike in the gym, or on my bike trainer at home. Time is of the essence for me, so I like to keep my sessions short and hard.
Deo:     For me, as I’m still restricted to just running, my cross training definition is about going on different terrain. So, I mix road running and trail running into my schedule. I hope to take up cycling in this very near future, and maybe yoga?

Have you reaped or seen the benefits of your cross-training? Tell us your story.
Chan:    Due to my busy schedule, I have to squeeze in swim, bike and run to gain mileage for Ironman 2014. Cross training is one of the ways I can cut down mileage while keeping myself fit. For example, every time I run a 15km at lactate threshold pace, my quads and hamstring would be a little sore. So the next day I’ll probably do swimming to work out my upper body or go cycling which is less impact to the feet. To me, triathlon itself is already a cross training.
Eugene:               I’m a believer in cross-training. Late last year in 2013, I went through a bad period with tight lower back and hamstrings. I cut down on my running mileage to a bare minimum, between 10 – 15kms a week and no single run longer than 11km. I supplemented that with lots of time on the bike trainer and that helped to keep my fitness up but the pain down as I primarily utilized a different set of muscle group. With that, I still managed to cover 50kms at the year-ending MR25 Ultramarathon in Singapore on 15km running mileage a week.

For a pure runner, what do you think is the best cross-training sport/workout? Similarly, for a pure cyclist?
Eugene: For a long distance runner, I think cycling helps in terms of fitness as well as strengthening the heart, lungs and evens out the muscle imbalance in long distance runners. For sprinters and short distance runners, definitely weight-lifting for the explosiveness. Cyclists are a different story altogether. My opinion is running doesn’t really make a cyclist better, I’d say hit the gym and use the rowing machine or an elliptical trainer. Upper body workouts also recommended for long rides on the saddle.
Chan:    Lung training is a good workout for all sports. Once you get your VO2Max improve, a new PB is awaiting you. In addition, lung trainer is a small pocket size training tool, can be carried anywhere and can be done anytime.
Deo:      I always believe that triathlon is a sport that was introduced for reason. You can always put three different sports and called it triathlon but the most notable triathlon sports are swimming, cycling and running. So, I deeply believe that these three disciplines complement each other. And with many people taking yoga lessons these days, I started to feel that yoga could be a great cross-training ‘sport’ especially with the breathing technique as well as improving our balance.
Irene:    I would say core conditioning is very important for all the sport. Every session of cross training I will have at least 10min core training.

OK, last question peeps. How much time do you think one should spend on their primary sport vs cross-training? Give us a ratio.
Deo:      Going back to my road running vs trail running, the ratio would be 50:50. But, once I take up cycling, I plan to have 70:30 running to cycling ratio, at least.
Irene:    for me, as a triathlete vs cross training, the ratio be 90:10. I will have my cross trainingbtwice a week not more than 1 hour per seesion.
Eugene:  I’d say it depends on the individual and what their goals and targets are. If I were racing competitively, I’d look at a 80:20 ratio. If my main intentions are to maintain fitness and/or surpass personal bests, then I’d look at somewhere 60:40 to keep things mixed up and not plateau.
Chan:    Agree with Eugene. I think at competitive level, an athlete still need to focus on building up strength for their primary sport, cross training is something supplementary.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. Have a good day everyone!
Irene:    Kamshahamida ^^
Chan:    Thanks =)
Deo:      Thanks!
Eugene:  Chow!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Gammon China Coast Marathon Race Report - Azrulhisyam "Deo"

Last weekend, many of Malaysian runners, whom I consider as the toughest ‘weekend warriors’, made their ways to Hong Kong to participate in the Vibram HK100 Ultra Trail Marathon, the first event in the Ultra-Trail World Tour 2014. While I was also a part of the travelling flock of Malaysian runners to Hong Kong, I was not there to participate in the Vibram HK100 but to participate in the Gammon China Coast Marathon instead. The marathon has been in existence for 32 years, although I only knew about this marathon in October last year and right away registered for it. Not much also could I gather from running blogs from previous marathon, making it one of the best kept-secret marathons, perhaps.

From the official website of the Athletic Veteran of Hong Kong (AVOHK), the organizer of this marathon, the race course is set along some of Hong Kong’s most stunning scenery and as it is held in January, it shall give the best chance of good running weather. This gives a more reason for me to sign up as it is always easier to race in cold and low humidity weather. The marathon was also the first AIMS-certified marathon in Hong Kong, ahead from the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, and the organizer also claims that it is a good alternative to the crowded, polluted and impersonal HKAAA’s Standard Chartered Marathon as it is organized by runners for the runners (I sensed some domestic rivalry here).

Knowing the fact that it is an established race with detailed information of the race was provided through AVOHK website, including online registration, I registered as early as in October last year. But there was something that I missed to read carefully from website when it is mentioned that “…It was first held in 1981 and won by Ron Hill in a time of 2:34:35. Ron described it as the toughest marathon he'd run and although the course has changed over the years, it is still a tough challenge. It is not a race at which personal bests are set, but it offers very good racing against some of Hong Kong's hardiest runners…”
Fast forward to the race day, I registered myself for the bus transfer option that took me from Hong Kong Space Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui to the race village in Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung Peninsula. As my hostel was located some three kilometers away from the bus pick-up location and the MTR was still not in operation at the wee hours, I had to fastwalk and run the last kilometer to arrive on time. It gave me a good warm up on that 13-degree Celcius morning. The journey took about one hour and I had a good nap in the double-decker bus that was fully filled with runners of different categories. After arriving at the Pak Tam Chung, I did the first thing to do which was to collect my race pack containing a race number with timing device embedded behind it and a large a reusable water-proof plastic bag to be used as drop bag. The venue was all so familiar to me as it was the same venue as the start of Vibram HK100 race.

Race pack collection tents, on the race morning itself
As it was too early and too cold to strip down to my racing gear, I decided to walk around the place to keep myself warm as well as joining the long queue to use the toilet. With some 20 minutes to go before the race, I dropped my bag, no hassle there and made myself to the start gantry which was already filled up with runners of all categories – full marathon, half marathon and 10km, which all would be flagged off at once. So, it was quiet crowded there especially when you were placed in the middle and towards the back of the pack and it was a slow march towards the start line after the flag-off and also lots of zig-zagging around the slower starters required in the first couple of kilometers. 
Runners toeing at the start line
The first kilometer of the route was similar to the Vibram HK100 route but runners in Vibram HK100 would take the trail route to Sai Kung Man Yee Road but we took the winding and uphill sealed road, instead. It was an uphill battle right from the start, going from 6m above sea level to 97m in 1.33km. As normally I would feel the strain in my quads going uphill at the fast speed early in a race, I felt stronger this time around, going swiftly to the top. I guess the week in and out visit to Mount Datuk helped to prepare me for this climb and I tried to apply Chan’s (my 2ndSkin team mate) technique of ‘landing under hip’, as much as possible. As we got to the Sai Kung Man Yee Road, it was winding and undulating (mostly downhill) route until we reached KM5 where the climb (with some downhill sections) started, going from 51m to 133m above sea level in 1.33km stretch. I was still going strong, fascinated again by the nice view of High Island Reservoir as we ran on a road across the dam/reservoir. Although the view was nice, the strong and chilly wind that was blowing occasionally especially when you run in an open area (crossing of dams, there were three of them on one stretch) made it very cold to the skin to the already cold 11-degree Celcius morning and made it hard to breathe in an already thin air. I had never run in such a chilly marathon race, not even in Berlin or Auckland. As comparison, I was wearing my running gloves only halfway in Auckland but I was wearing them all the way in the race. We reached East Dam at KM9.7) before making a u-turn towards the other end of the route in Sai Kung Sai Wan Road (KM20.4). 
A runner looking out at the nice view of the High Island Reservoir
While running toward the half-way u-turn mark, I saw some runners making their way on the opposite direction towards East Dam again. When I first saw three runners, I thought they could have started the race late and were on their way for the first ten kilometers. But after a while, and seeing more full marathon runners coming on opposite direction, I told myself in disbelief that it was a two-loop marathon. I wished I would have registered just the half marathon so I don’t have to repeat the whole stretch once again but the reality was, it took me another three dam crossings with chilly wind blowing from all directions and undulating route to get myself to the second u-turn mark, located at 148m above sea level which you need to run up for 72m in 1.23km stretch. 
The route map. It was a two-loop route
…and the elevation
After the u-turn, you run back to the East Dam, repeat all over again, but this time with fewer crowds as the half marathoners would have gone back to the finishing line after completing their one loop race. So, another three dam crossings with chilly wind blowing from all directions, again, towards East Dam and add those jelly legs and strained muscles from going up and down the undulating route to the equation. East Dam reached after some time, and that marked 31km of the race. Although there was just some 11km to the finish, my pace was not any better and nothing much could help to motivate. Even going on downhill sections was not as enjoyable as during the first loop. The nice view of the reservoir no longer enthrall me and I lost track on Chan’s ‘landing under hip’ technique where I just left it to the tired legs to drag me to the final u-turn point at Sai Kung Sai Wan Road (repeating three dam crossings with chilly wind blowing from all directions and undulating route routine) and toward the finish line. As I reached the final u-turn point, it marked another 2.3km towards the finish line in Pak Tam Chung (same place where the race started). I was in the brink of missing the 4-hour mark but thankfully the all-downhill route towards the finish line, helped me to run strong and still finished the race with few seconds under 4-hour mark. I finished the race in 3 hours 59 minutes and 53 seconds (official net time) to complete my 24th full marathon to-date. 
24th full marathon completed!
Runners were handed out with the finisher’s medal and t-shirt after the race together with water and some breakfast foods. Overall, it was a well-organized race with detailed information and clear communications provided by the organizer. The support stations were adequate, fully manned and never short of water and isotonic drink supplies. The volunteers (if there were boys’ Scouts for Vibram HK100, the race has lots of boys’ Cadets) manning the support stations and junctions were helpful, handing out waters as well as providing clear directions and keep encouraging the runners. It was always nice to run in Hong Kong during this time of the year. The weather was great for a race as it was not as cold as during the start of Vibram HK100 in 2013 but the occasional wind made it hard.  To me personally, it was a hard marathon (a great hill workout, though) and the two loops of the route really killed me. Comparatively, although not accurate, it was like running from Bukit Aman car park towards PETRONAS Station in Sri Hartamas, return back to Bukit Aman and do it for another loop. And with the many dam crossings encountered during the two loops, it would not be too much to jokingly dub this marathon as ‘That Damn You Dam Marathon’.

Gears Used:
- Kraftfit compression long bottom
- Wrightsock Coolmesh II socks
Garmin FR910XT watch
- Ultimate Direction Jurek Essential waist pouch

Friday, 17 January 2014

Training While Travelling

Fresh from the oven as Tri Stupe returned home from a week away for work in the beautiful island of Cebu, Philippines. For those of you following this blog or his blog, you know he is training for his Ironman this year. Being away from home is no excuse not to train and he said "I will delay my rest week to maximise the opportunity to train while away, so to make it more relevant as a sharing" - in his Whatapps chat with us in the team. Nicely done, this is his sharing. See if this help you when you are travelling!
13 Training Tips While Travelling
The Modified Training
An hour after I've checked in and cleared the last (6pm) email for the day, I kit up and headed to the Gym. As with every place that can call themselves a "gym", they will have two very basic equipment - a treadmill and a spinning bike. Of course the compulsory weight stations and if you are lucky a cross-trainer. However, as the training I am in concentrate on Swimming, Biking and Running, I will use whatever machines there are in the gym as baseline for training. Here are my 5-days training.
5-Days Workout Tri Stupe way.

Click here to read more

Friday, 10 January 2014

GETACTIVE – Our 2014 Team 2ndskin Partner

One of Team 2ndskin’s new partners on board for 2014 is GetActive, who complement Team 2ndskin by providing professional fitness and nutritional programs tailored to each individual Team Athlete to achieve their respective goals and targets for 2014. So, whether it is conditioning to race the Ironman or strengthening the core muscles for injury prevention or even optimizing the diet and nutrition for active workout and recovery, Team 2ndskin will tap into GetActive’s depth of resources and knowledge for better performance and results.

So, question is, who is GetActive? 
Get Active is also a family favourite
GetActive is a fitness training company that prides itself with a team of Internationally Certified personal trainers who provide safe and effective fitness training. Our main centre, The Base, located in Mont Kiara is fitted out with high standard equipment providing exclusivity and comfort for our clients.
Training sessions are by appointment only with your trainer and they are not limited to the centre alone. We also do sessions at your home, condominium gym and even outdoors. As a result, you get to work out at your own pace and leisure guided by our certified trainers. 
The GetActive team is a team of committed, responsible, sincere, passionate, creative and fun certified personal trainers who believe greatly and acts upon the fact that having an active lifestyle will give us a better quality of life. We will work according to our 10 Points of Culture to make sure that everyone we touch will benefit greatly from our knowledge, congruency and positive energy. 
Personalized training programs
GetActive is in the business of facilitating positive changes in an individual’s fitness, health and well-being, and disease prevention using a variety of lifestyle interventions (i.e. exercise, nutrition, stress management) and behavior-modification techniques. Our clients, regardless of age, fitness level or fitness goal look to us for guidance and motivation to achieve their fitness, health and wellness goals. They are people who take responsibility of their well-being and want to live an independent and good quality lifestyle as they age. 
We train a wide variety of clients ranging from ages 6 to 80 with different needs. These include clients who want to lose weight, gain muscles, improve performance on their sports, require post-rehab from an injury and regain pre-pregnancy fitness levels. We also have the knowledge to train clients with special conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Rehabilitation experts
The safe and effective training programs we use are the latest training methodologies, which are personalized to our clients, guaranteeing the results they want. Being result oriented, GetActive maintains and upkeeps physical and health records of each and every client. Our personal trainers are trained to present undivided focus and attention on our clients. 
Our personal trainers continuously keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and developments in our industry. We also strive to keep our clients programs fun, challenging and motivational, encouraging them to raise the bar and reach their goals. 
Core strengthening programs and exercises
GetActive has a network of health professionals and in-house certified dietitians who can provide nutritional advice and guidance for long term healthy lifestyles. 
As fitness professionals we take pride in interacting and communicating with other healthcare and medical professionals in order to provide our clients with wholesome solutions. All our trainers and wellness partners diligently maintain our certification by continually growing our wealth of knowledge and education. 
We empower people to live a better quality of life through adhering to a healthy and active lifestyle. We do not perform miracles, but we guarantee results. 

2014 has just kicked off, and health and fitness improvement is top on your resolutions list, get in touch with GetActive and see what they can do for you.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Skechers GoBionicTrail Review : Chan Jun Shen

Being part of Team 2ndSkin for more than a year, I’ve got the opportunity to see our proud sponsors growing each passing days. Skechers being a new kid on the block competing with other giant shoes manufacturers is progressing pretty good in producing high quality elite level running shoes with a competitive price. As my loyal trail buddy the Skechers GoTrail is wearing out after more than 300km of mileage in all sorts of trail, it has shown very obvious wear pattern especially on the fore part of my shoes’ outsole and the cushion in the heel collar had sort of collapsed. Nevertheless, it was my only pair of trail shoes for racing and training. Skechers GoTrail has to be retired from active duty after being my choice of gear winning Tioman Island Challenge, Langkawi International Ironbound and Mount Jerai Challenge. All the podium finishes, wouldn’t be possible without GoTrail. 
Skechers Malaysia has been a great partner for our team, last month when I came back to KL meeting Mr Ivan telling him about my GoTrail, he offered me to try out the newly launched GoBionic Trail. Normally a newly launched Skechers shoes will somehow reflects the previous model, for example, GoRun2 looks a lot like GoRun3, GoBionic looks similar to GoBionic Ride. However, I personally do not see any identical features of GoTrail on the younger brother. It’s time to abuse it, test it in the harshest trail and write a review for all to read.
The weight for men size 9 is 8.4 Oz for GoTrail and 8.0 Oz for GoBionic Trail. I’m wearing a US Men size 7, so for sure the weight will be lesser than 8.0 Oz. Comparatively, GoBionic Trail feels a little bigger than GoTrail. What I want most in my trail shoes is my heels are snugged and fit, water draining ability, minimal cushion for a more responsive run, good grip and lastly doesn’t trap mud.  My first impression on GoBionic Trail was that the toe box was wide, my toes could spread freely, not too loose until it causes blisters though. The upper mesh is made of hydrophobic “diamond shaped” mesh and synthetic upper that repels water. Once I tighten up my laces, it hugs my midfoot comfortably (the laces are identical to GoBionicRide). Similar to the other Skechers shoes, the shoes’ tongues are sewn high up to the third lace loop from the top, multisport athletes love this. For those aiming to do XTerra, do check this out in Skechers Stores.
BionicTrail came with an insole for a 4mm heel to toe drop, under the insole has grooves to retain it in position so that it doesn’t slide while we run. I ran with it for my first trail run after my long sailing to Sydney. The cushion was too good, too soft, combined with a wet muddy trail, I felt very slow. To make it more responsive, I have it removed for my next trail run. The outsole’s cushion is more than enough for me, if I were to name this pair of shoes, I would have named it Skechers GoBionicRideTrail =p I feel that the GoTrail is more “bionic” or responsive or more ground feel. That’s how I feel it, subject to personal preference, some runners might disagree. That 4mm insole will be kept in the box unless I run with girl. I’m short, I need that 4mm to be taller =p    
The lugged outsole is made of Resagrip, the same material used to make the outsole of the elder brother. Although the material is the same, the tread design is totally different, offering a much better grip on muddy trails. The outsole is divided into 15 segments; the depression is clearly seen dividing all the lugs (similar to GoBionicRide). Not only this feature improves the flexibility, it also contributes to better traction getting the mud removed before the next stride. The separations between lugs are wider and have multidirectional grooves on it, so it is not easy for a chunk of mud to stick underneath. I ran the Teluk Batik Trail in Lumut, I descended much faster than before without worrying mud stuck under my shoes. GoBionic Trail drains water VERY well. In terms of “wet” weight and ability to drain water, GoBionic Trail beats GoTrail. When it gets wet, it dries really fast since the shoes was built without much cushion in it. The more cushion in the interior part retaining water, the heavier the shoes become. Nobody likes heavy shoes.  
Skechers has shown some serious effort in improving their shoes, this newly designed GoBionic Trail ticks almost all my requirement for my racing choice of gear. My only unfulfilled wish is, I want it to be more responsive, I prefer the Resagrip to be made of harder material for faster speed and longer lasting in the harshest condition. As a military man, I want all my gears to be extremely robust and ever ready to be abused. Haha. Other than trails, I went on road run with it. It feels very comfortable, although the heel and the fore part of the outsole is slightly elevated, I do not feel the “rocking”. Interior parts of the shoes are pretty soft, since I have yet to try run with it sockless, I can’t comment on it. Overall, I love the performance and the design, my next aim is to go on podium with it. With all our team2ndSkin partners providing us with the best gears, our next job is to train harder to get some podium finish. 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Introducing Azrulhisyam Hussin (Deo) for Team 2ndskin 2014

It gives us great pleasure to announce the latest Team Athlete to join Team 2ndskin for 2014, Azrulhisyam Hussin, or affectionately known as Deo amongst the running and sports community.
 Ultrarunning Cili Padi Deo
Deo is no stranger to the local running arena, and is well-known as an ultra runner who is not only physically fit, but also mentally strong. He is a 5-times 100km ultramarathoner and has completed >20 full marathons across different countries from New Zealand to China to Vietnam.

An extremely humble character, given his lengthy achievements, including a 5th place finish in last year's (2013) Sabah Adventure Challenge, Deo brings about a different experience and knowledge to the team. He will definitely be an integral component that complements an already immense team spirit within Team 2ndskin.
Marathon running all over the world
2014 promises to be an exciting year for Deo as he considers embarking on a whole new challenge on a different platform. We will talk more about that when he gets the grilling interview that all Team Athletes go through.

For now, lets welcome him into the fold and may he enjoy his time with the team. Welcome Deo!!