CrossFit at a new Fuel Athletics gym!

A few weeks ago, I had a great experience at the weight lifting introduction class in Fuel Athletics. Recently, they opened their doors to a new outlet in Shah Alam and invited me plus a few friends to try CrossFit after iftar (breaking our fast). I immediately said yes because I was drawn to CrossFit’s high intensity; I can get maximum amount of work done and calories burnt in a short period of time.

CrossFit can be roughly defined as varied high intensity functional movements, while combining certain aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. (source: https://www.crossfit.com/what-is-crossfit). Based on this definition, CrossFit is not new to me. I had similar experiences before at Revelation Republic and a few LesMills GRIT classes, under various names such as Body Conditioning or GRIT Strength. To me, the principles and movements are pretty similar so experienced athletes (or in my case, athlete-wannabes) will have no problem transitioning.

However, what makes Fuel Athletics different is its location and spacious design. Currently, Fuel Athletics is the first CrossFit certified gym in Shah Alam, attracting crowds from as far as Sungai Buloh and Puncak Alam. The location at Menara Naza TTDI is strategic, with a nice mix of working adults and student crowd. The gym has 2 floors, an outdoor space, and a pool with changing room and surau.

IMG_4607CrossFit space and equipment on the lower floor

IMG_4620Spacious upper floor, with future plans for yoga classes

IMG_4621Plus point: This gym even has an outdoor pool too!

After some dynamic stretcing and warming up indoors and outdoors, we proceeded to the highlight of the night – the WOD (Work Out of the Day). For tonight’s session, the WOD was simple, yet effective: partner up, and one person does burpees while the partner holds weight plates above his/her head. Then switch roles after the partner completes a few burpees. Do this as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes. Do not underestimate the lack of fancy equipments or movements, because burpees are advanced enough to be considered as a full body work out. So after a few rounds of burpees and holding up the weight plates above my head, my arms were already shakey. I even hesitated if I should decrease my weights from 10kg to 5kg so I can ‘survive’ all 10 minutes of the WOD!

IMG_4596Warming up outdoors with some sprints

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe WOD got me like… (in a good way of course)

I can see that these series of WOD will definitely complement my marathon training programme. It will build up my legs muscle strength so I can run longer, faster, and less prone to injury. As for my upper body which has been neglected for some time, needs a lot of work as it has gotten flabby and weak. Perfection is still a long road ahead, so for the mean time, I just need to strike a balance between strength work outs and clocking in enough mileage.

For more info and registration: http://www.fuelprimecrossfit.com/

For more reviews on other types of cross-training and gyms:

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

 

Introduction to lifting techniques at Fuel Athletics

I have always felt that weight-lifting is still a male dominated sports. Just look around you at the gym; somehow women will gravitate towards the cardio equipment and machines, while male will congregate at the free weights section. Maybe because women are scared that they are not strong enough to lift, or they fear that they might bulk up and lose their curves, or they just simply do not know how to use weights. Weight lifting should know no gender boundaries. God has created men and women to look different for a reason, and women will never lose their curves no matter how heavy they lift or how much protein they take. In fact, lifting weights will give women a leaner, healthier looking body as it reduces body fat and increases muscles, so your clothes will fit better without the flabbiness. Oh, and having flatter abs is always a plus point too!

 

At 8am last Saturday, I was thrilled to see many strong ladies (and gentlemen) from my running group who were eager to learn more about some basic lifting techniques at Fuel Athletics. We started off with some basic warming up, like squats, jumping jacks, burpees, and mountain climbers.

  DSCF7854We love the open-air vibe of this gym, a refreshing taste from the normal concrete walls. The glass walls give a very spacious illusion to the space, and blends in with the greenery outside (Photo credit: Kyserun Krew)

DSCF7813Warming up outside the gym (Photo credit: Kyserun Krew)

After warming up, we started with deadlifting. Deadlifting was a basic method of carrying the bar from the ground. As easy as it sounds, it was not that simple. The coach ensured that everyone had the right posture, such as activating your hamstrings and keeping your chest up and straight. I also noticed that this should also be the correct way of carrying heavy things instead of bending down to prevent back ache.

 

DSCF7873“So, does anybody know how to deadlift?” *crick crick crick* (Photo credit: Kyserun Krew)

DSCF7946  There is absolutely no point of trying to keep a straight face while lifting (Photo credit: Kyserun Krew)

Then, we proceeded to power clean. This movement was more complex than deadlifting, as it involves some explosive movement of catching the bar and simultaneously going into a squat position. Most of us have never even heard of this technique, but after a few round of practices, we managed to get a hold of it.

 

DSCF7963The assisting instructor showing us how it’s done (Photo credit: Kyserun Krew)

After learning the basics, we did a mini-Crossfit training with 40 reps of deadlifting, 500m of sprints, and 10 reps of power clean with our partner. All of these must be done in 4 sets. By the end of the 4th set, all of our arms and feet have definitely turned into jelly!

 

DSCF7975WOD (Work out of the Day) as prescribed by the coach (Photo credit: Kyserun Krew)

DSCF7928DSCF8018 We look forward to working out in their new outlet in Shah Alam after Ramadhan is over! (Photo credit: Kyserun Krew)

According to the coach, ideally women should deadlift about 80kg, so we still have a long way to go from today’s 30kg of lifting. Clearly, we have serious work to do here. So, ladies (and gentlemen), lets incorporate the weights for a stronger, leaner, and healthier body!

For more info, head to http://fuelathletics.com.my/ or http://www.fuelprimecrossfit.com/

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

Body Conditioning Class

I have always noticed that the ability to run a full marathon (or even an ultramarathon) does not always equate to being in shape. Running is a non-discriminatory sport – anyone can participate regardless of your shape and size, so sometimes non-competitive, casual runners like myself, take strength training for granted. Sculpting our bodies seem secondary, we are more focused on chasing the mileage. However, being in shape is always advantageous. It differentiates you from the rest of the crowd by preventing injury, powering up our strides so we can run faster and finish stronger, plus not to mention a balanced, leaner appearance. Even professional athletes from almost all types of sports will incorporate strength and weights into their training.

 

So at 7.30 am, my running group and I were bright and early at Revelation Republic, ready for some strength training class known as Body Conditioning. Since the coach knew that the room was full of experienced runners, he did not go easy on us! My LSD the following day had to be cut short, because I was very sore all over. This level of sore-ness even exceeds my previous experience at the Les Mills GRIT Strength Class! We spent more than 2 hours for a full body work out. But the focus was our legs, most importantly our thighs, hip flexors, and glutes.

DSCF8012What do runners do when they are not running? They go for body conditioning classes! (Photo credit: Mark Chin)

We did not use a lot of fancy equipment, as most of them used such as the rowing machine, kettlebells, and bicycle were commonly found in most gyms. But our instructor taught us the most effective way of using them to obtain maximum results and benefits. Even the simplest moves can be very tiring if done in several repetitions and sets, such as stepping up on boxes.

DSCF8026 DSCF8193WIP – Work out In Progress. (Photo credit: Mark Chin)

We also did explosive, anaerobic intervals as a switch from our usual aerobic running routines. We had to do 10 goblet squats and 100m sprints, as much repetitions as we could in 12 minutes. It left most of us gasping for breath at just half way!

Today’s class showed us that there are always room for improvement, even for seasoned runners. Therefore, in the pursuit of clocking in the mileage and going the distance, we must also learn how to balance our fitness routines with some weight training in the future.

With our instructor. How did he even got up there?!One with the instructor. How did he even got up there?!!

For more info, visit their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/revelationrepublic/

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

Women and Weights Part 2: Benefits of Strength Training

Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” –Rikki Rogers

Last week we debunked some common myths pertaining to women and strength training, as we learned to get over our fear of weights. We established that lifting does not make women look masculine, it doesn’t necessarily add on size, unused muscle cannot turn into fat, etc. This week we are going to explore the countless benefits of strength training and I will demonstrate why you should begin working with weights.

Pumping iron isn’t just for those meat heads in the gym trying to grow their biceps and squatting double their body weight. Resistance training comes with amazing advantages, helping to burn more fat, tone the physique, and providing a healthy and ageless body.

 

Burn Calories and Body Fat

Lifting weights is one of the best ways to burn off that unwanted body fat. As more lean muscle is built up in the body, the metabolism becomes faster as the body has to use a lot of energy to maintain that muscle. This increase in metabolism helps to burn more calories, not only during exercise, but while at rest as well. Once the body burns off more calories than the person is consuming on a given day, either fat tissue or muscle tissue will become the body’s new source of energy. With strength training, you are ensuring that the body is using up fat rather than muscle.

 

Gain Strength…Without the Bulk

Pumping iron doesn’t cause size in women like it does in men…unless women are trying to put on weight and follow a specific strength training and nutrition regimen for the sole purpose of weight gain. Women have much less testosterone than men which allows for a lean, feminine, and toned look rather than a muscular, bulky look.

 

Improve Bone Health

Women are at a higher risk than men for developing osteoporosis, as we not only start with a lower bone density than men, but we also lose bone mass faster as we age. Strength training has been shown to slow down this process. Bone health is so important for the adult woman, and weight training combined with dietary calcium might just be the best preventative method!

 

Build Confidence

Hitting the weights will not only help you to build confidence in the way your body looks, but also in your abilities in general. The gym is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, setting goals, and accomplishing what you never thought you could do. The gym brings out your true strengths, and this will shine through every aspect of your life.

 

Improve Cardiovascular Performance

Whether you are a runner, a cyclist, a sports enthusiast, or simply someone trying to improve their cardiovascular health, resistance training can significantly improve your performance. You can add weights into your cardio routine, separate the two type of exercises completely, or a mix of both. Strength training has been shown to improve speed, length of time one can perform an exercise, and reduce the risk of injury.

 

Strength training provides so many wonderful benefits and it a great way to add balance and intensity to your fitness regimen. While cardio is great for health and fitness, strength training can be that extra push you need to burn that last bit of fat, improve your body composition, and become an even healthier version of you.