Ladies, this is for you!

“Running should be [an] empowerment, not a fear”

– Elizabeth from www.runningforbling.com, sexual assault survivor.

 

Women have made tremendous progress is the world of sport. Sadly, not much have changed when it comes to safety while working out, especially running. It does not show that women are the weaker gender, or the way she dresses is too provocative (modestly dressed women can be victims too!). But instead, it shows that ‘monsters’ still lurk from time to time, preying on unsuspecting victims. On the bright side, these ‘monsters’ have never hampered any women’s spirit to get out and run. After reading a few articles and blogs from other female runners who were survivors of sexual assault, I can find a common theme of lessons learnt, which I hope is useful to everyone who is reading this.

 

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Most importantly, use your gut feeling and common sense. A women’s intuition is a powerful tool and it is rarely wrong, so if you feel like something is amiss, then it probably is.

For some basic safety rules that still apply to both genders, for example here

 

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

The Weekend Runner: Rock Climbing at Xero Gravity, PJX

If you have been reading my blog posts for some time, you might notice that 1) I have absolutely zero experience in rock climbing 2) I am scared of heights. Yet I found myself hanging at least 10 meters in the air with a harness, and trying my best not to look down. My arms were shaking from gripping, and the fear was paralysing. My instructor who was belaying me from below, continued to encourage me: “Just two more steps to reach the top! Trust your shoes and harness, don’t look down, and just reach for it!”. I looked up, and I was so close to finishing. I have to complete what I started!

IMG_2458The funny thing about rock climbing is that you can’t think too much about your next move. Take a deep breath, and just do it! 

I came across this indoor rock climbing gym while collecting my race kit at the same venue. I was drawn to the indoor rock climbing concept – modern, bright, safe (upon supervision), and you can climb at any time of the day under any weather condition. So I signed up for the Explore Climbing class, and it includes one hour of coaching to cover the basics + one week free access to all facilities + equipment rental, all for RM50. I think it’s great value for money; the facilities are top notch, the instructor is knowledgable and professional, plus you have access to the pool as well.

 

IMG_2431It looks like a massive playground to me!

IMG_2477Xero Gravity also has an outdoor pool. Access to the pool is included in the Explore Climbing class.

IMG_2430Climbing shoes rental were included (blue colour), bring your own socks. It’s meant to be tight and uncomfortable because you have to rely on your toes to be able to pivot on the rocks.

 

In my humble opinion, I don’t think you need special talents to be able to do rock climbing. It’s a matter of logic sequencing and finding your balance. Even kids can do it too. As simple as it sounds, there are some basic techniques that you must master to be able to progress, which is why having an instructor for your first session is highly recommended. So we started with some very simple moves while bouldering. Bouldering is climbing on low walls without a harness or rope. But don’t worry, there is 12-16 inches of protective padding if you fall down.

 

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Before moving up, you must learn how to move sideways. This is called traversing. The rocks are coloured for a reason. All you need to do is pick a colour and follow it until the end.

Lastly, it was time to strap on our harnesses and go for top-roping. Top-roping involves scaling a wall with several meters of height, and it takes the challenging factor up a notch because the rocks were close to mimicking the natural conditions of outdoor rock climbing. Unlike the bouldering area which is open for anyone to drop in, this area can only be entered under the supervision of a certified belayer.

IMG_2469Yeah I made it to the top! This is the part when I tried my best not to look down.

I had a good upper body work out, even in the muscles that I never knew it existed. I think this is a great way to build strength as an alternative to pumping iron at the gym. Plus I think I can overcome my fear of heights in the long run because it helps to improve my confidence and mental endurance. I can’t wait to go again next weekend!

For more info, head to their website: http://www.xerogravity.my/

Note: If you are already an experienced climber who does not need any classes, and a subscriber of the KFit app, you may book a slot without paying an entrance fee (since it’s already covered in your KFit monthly subscription). Explore Climbing class is not available through KFit.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

The Weekend Runner: Business As Usual

One day I woke up early in the morning after going for a night run with a major headache and feeling extremely hungry. I went to work groggy and half-asleep. I quickly realised that I was dehydrated and did not monitor what I was eating during suhoor. Lack of sleep contributed to the problems too. Major adjustments must be made in order for me to continue with my work out and running routine for the month of Ramadhan.

 

Just like picking up a skill, saving up, reading, and many other good things in life, long-distance running is built on consistency. Without regular practice and maintenance I will loose the endurance and stamina built over a few months ago. Plus, I have less than 4 months left until I run my first full marathon at Standard Chartered KL Marathon, so I have to make every mile count.

 

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Can’t stop won’t stop!

 

Some might argue that Ramadhan is a time focus on ‘ibadah’ but I would argue that maintaining a healthy body is a part of being a good, practicing Muslim. As long as you divide your time well, your work out is also considered as an ‘ibadah’ if your intentions are right and you do it for the sake of Allah.

 

So, after making some adjustments stated in the example below, it is business as usual with my running routine:

 

1)     Run at night – Just keep in mind to wait at least 2 hours after a heavy meal if you had a heavy meal at iftar. Or run very early in the morning before suhoor. Running when the sun is not out is much more pleasant and you won’t feel thirsty too quickly.

 

2)     Get enough rest – it is hard to define how many hours of sleep you actually need because it varies between people, so listen to your body.

 

3)     Hydration – Drink plenty of plain water. I know that some ice cold cendol at the bazar is tempting, but that should not be your priority. If you want to run while still fasting, some runners that I know revolve their running routine around iftar so their work out is complete as soon as it’s maghrib time.

 

4)     Eat right – getting enough nutrients such as carbs and protein is very important during Ramadhan because you have time for only 2 major meals. Therefore, focus on quality, not quantity of the food, for example, swapping the usual ‘kuih’ for fruits instead at iftar.

 

Runner - what they think I doI think guy on the right just bought a big packet of mee goreng mamak from the bazar (picture source: Google)

 

May all of you be rewarded with better performance for the months to come for adjusting your routine to suit the holy month of Ramadhan!

 

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.