Expert Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Shermaine Tan (Yoga Instructor)

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the experts to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

For me, setting a routine or schedule is really important to mentally tune in to the tasks at hand. As an example, starting the day with a little morning stretch for 20 minutes before work begins is a simple way to ensure that you keep yourself active! This is easily done at home on your mat, or even, your bed! For those who are looking to rev up their fitness in this period, adding in a bit of HIIT is good enough to maintain your physique.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

It is inevitable that most of us might feel unsettled from the uncertainty that is around us. Perhaps trying a guided meditation or various breathing techniques would help in relaxation. There are many videos and apps that are out there in the market that is free! One app that I really like to use is Insight Timer.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

I usually post what I eat on my Instagram stories for fun! There used to be more updates on recipes but I haven’t been able to keep up with it… until now! Maybe I will update more when I have time!

Instagram: @prettypotpourri
Website for Recipes: https://trainwithmaine.com/category/recipes/



ABOUT SHERMAINE TAN

Photo source: Shermaine’s Facebook

Shermaine Tan is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Sports Masseuse.

She is an avid adventure seeker and loves challenging herself for new experiences. Ever since the graduation of her Teacher Training Course as a Yoga Instructor in 2014, Shermaine has actively immersed herself in different environments and styles of teaching; she is now also a Reiki Level 1 practitioner.

Shermaine prides her yoga and fitness classes to be engaging and a constant test of comfortable limits. One will expect to flow through various sequences structured to work on his/her balance, strength and flexibility, a key combination that will be achieved at every class.

While travelling and taking yoga photos off the mat are some of the things she loves to do, she also relishes in weight training and Muay Thai as her current new endeavours.

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Expert Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – David Lim (Swimming Coach)

Photo source: David's Facebook

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the experts to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

Have a time table of your workout. Likely more towards home base workout.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

To tell people to stay calm during “not calm” time, doesn’t help. Because it’s already happening. To stay calm in all things, we must first anticipate the coming event. The best way is to tell yourself it is going to be a long but temporary issue, and it is not the end of everything. Keep yourself occupied, be it is workout, cooking, reading etc. After all, we have the internet.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

Eating well is one of the key components of fitness.

Everyone is different when it comes to food and nutrition. Get some tips from the internet and look for your preference. Pasta can be a healthy dish and can be unhealthy too. Too much or too little of anything can affect your body.

4. Are there any recommendations on resources (youtube channel/video, social media pages, blogs, books, podcasts etc) to refer to?

Understand that we can’t go to the gym anymore. There is plenty of home-based workouts which you can find on the internet. Eg, bodyweight workout, stretching etc

As for nutrition, plenty!



ABOUT DAVID LIM

Photo source: David’s Facebook

David Lim, more commonly known as Yellowfish, is a 52 years old full-time swim coach at Yellowfish.

David has been coaching swimming since 1993. Coaching children has always been his favourite. As children learn faster through having fun, he uses toys and incorporates fun ways of teaching with the “show-and-tell” method.

During his free time, David swims, bikes and runs to stay healthy. He also loves spending time with his family and his dog. He still actively participates in Triathlon and Running events.

Photo source: David’s Facebook
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For The Launch of Three Revolutionary Shoes, The ASICS Innovation Summit Goes Virtual

  • The ASICS Innovation Summit moves to Virtual Reality for the announcement of our three most advanced performance shoes yet
  • Continuing in the tradition of ASICS innovation, the three new shoes support athletes to achieve peak performance with ultimate protection:
    • The METARACER™ is ASICS’ most advanced distance racing shoe yet, with energy-saving GUIDESOLE™ technology combined with a stabilizing carbon plate
    • The METASPRINT™ is ASICS’ spikeless track shoe; lighter than most sprinting footwear, its honeycomb sole provides more traction and transfers power in between each stride for increased speed
    • The METARISE™ is a revolutionary volleyball shoe designed for the attack which gives players an extra 3 per cent lift for higher jumps

ASICS has announced 3 revolutionary new shoes to power and protect athletes – the METARACER™ advanced racing shoe for long distances, the METARISE™ volleyball shoe and the spikeless METASPRINT™ track shoe for elite sprinters. Like all ASICS innovation, they are designed to help athletes perform at their peak and protect them at the same time. Right now, the uplifting power of movement and sport is more important than ever; the World Health Organization says that physical activity is an important way for people to cope with global restrictions on movement and enforced social distance.

The three new shoes will be announced in the Sunrise Red color scheme, which is a symbol of athletes’ hope, passion and dedication and celebrates the city of Tokyo. “The three new shoes keep with the best ASICS tradition: they help athletes to perform better, but also keep them safe at the same time,” said Kenichi Harano, Executive Officer and Senior General Manager at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science. “Innovation has been at the core of the ASICS DNA since 1949, when our founder Kihachiro Onitsuka decided the power of sports could help transform the lives of children in war-torn Japan. Kihachiro Onitsuka decided that the power of sports could help children overcome the challenges and hardships after World War II.

“Ever since, whether it was an elite competition year or not, ASICS has continuously innovated to equip athletes of all abilities with the gear they need to reach their peak performance – but to do so safely. That’s the true spirit of ASICS.”

Originally planning to announce its new shoes at an ASICS Innovation Summit in Tokyo, the company has taken its shoe innovation into Virtual Reality, for ASICS’ first product preview in VR. Media, athletes and shoppers around the world can experience the three new shoes up close and personal – in the virtual innovation lab of the ASICS Institute of Sport Science. The Institute is the home of ASICS innovation in Kobe, Japan, with scientists, engineers and designers constantly working to develop technology that helps athletes to safely perform to the best of their abilities.

“We believe that now, more than ever, it’s really important to remember the positive impact of sport for individuals and society: exercise uplifts people, so they achieve a sound mind through a sound body. And what better way to showcase ASICS innovation than taking people to a virtual innovation lab that brings our technology to life,” said Yasuhito Hirota, the President & Chief Operating Officer of ASICS.

All three new shoes will be available in limited quantities from selected ASICS retail and online stores and specialist run outlets, starting with the eagerly awaited METARACER™ in Japan from April 17th and followed globally from June 26th. The METASPRINT™ will also launch globally starting from April 17th and the METARISE™ from June 12th.

NOTE ON COVID-19 RESPONSE

We consider the health and wellbeing of our athletes, customers and staff as our top priority, and we took the decision several weeks ago to close our retail stores and offices in affected markets around the world.

Medical professionals say that in the current situation movement is very important to ensure everybody’s mental and physical wellbeing. That’s why ASICS recently opened access to the ASICS Studio™ at-home workout app for everyone for the duration of this difficult situation. We believe in the power of sport to uplift us all, and in times like this it has never been as important to help everyone achieve a sound mind in a sound body. We will continue to do all we can to help the world achieve that goal.

METARACER™

The METARACER™ is ASICS’ most advanced long-distance racing shoe yet, designed to help performance athletes reach their peak. It combines our revolutionary GUIDESOLE technology with a carbon plate to give runners more stability.

The shoe has an improved toe-spring shape that reduces the load on the calf muscle by up to 20 per cent1 for better energy efficiency. The shoe also helps athletes to stay fresh, thanks to a lightweight but supportive ENGINEERED MESH upper that keeps feet cool in hot and humid weather. ASICS scientists have found that every degree less heat in a running shoe dramatically improves an athlete’s well-being.

The FLYTEFOAM™ technology in the midsole is lightweight and gives both a softer run and improved responsiveness. The superior materials used on the sole – with ASICS grip™ and WET GRIP RUBBER™ SPONGE – enhances grip even in wet conditions.

METARISE™

Higher jumps, fast movement on the break and stability without power loss – these are the unique qualities of the ASICS METARISE™ volleyball shoe. Combining FLYTEFOAM™ Propel technology in the midsole with the winged midfoot support called RISETRUSS™ technology, the METARISE™ gives attacking players that bit of extra height needed for devastating spikes. The curved heel design supports smooth transition and lift off for the attack. Research at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science has shown that the METARISE™ gives players an extra 3 per cent lift for higher jumps – which for athletes can mean a difference of up to 2cm in the air.

METASPRINT™

Traditionally, sprinters have relied on spikes to gain traction. Not anymore. With the METASPRINT™, ASICS revolutionizes what a track shoe should look like, replacing the spikes with a honeycomb carbon fiber outsole that optimizes and enhances traction and delivers explosive speed with each stride. The METASPRINT™ is the ideal choice for elite and competitive sprinters. With no spikes inhibiting your stride, athletes will transfer additional power with every step and increase speed – and over short distances, every millisecond saved counts.

The shoes provide an amazing fit thanks to the STRETCH HL-O™ mesh seamless upper, which is lightweight and feels like a second skin.

The ASICS DYNAWRAP™ technology – with supportive panels that wrap from the midsole across the arch – securely locks the foot in place for increased stability.

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Expert Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Pearlly Luo

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the experts to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

I don’t know a single runner who hasn’t been disappointed by the new restrictions and the cancellation of races, but I continue to remind myself that this fight against COVID-19 is way more important than my love for running outdoors.

Our human body is incredible yet complicated, and we don’t become better runners merely by running more. Runners can take this period as an opportunity to identify and strengthen their weaker muscle groups – usually the hamstrings and glutes. Since most runners won’t be trying to build muscle, bodyweight training would be perfect! It may also be a good time to increase the range of joint movement through mobility exercises and yoga.

If your kids are home with you, being active with kids is a great way to be active together while burning off their excess energy. Hop over pillows, toss balls into buckets, do kids’ yoga or even create a dance video… the possibilities are endless.  

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

Many of us use running as a form to relieve stress, and this period may be extra difficult. Personally, I like to make a weekly plan of the tasks I intend to accomplish each day. I implement this for my work, my five-year-old son’s home-based learning, my workouts and even my household chores! I find that it helps me focus on the things I can control, and it keeps me positive and moving.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

An important aspect of health is nutrition, and this may be the perfect time to test out healthy recipes that nourish your body. As running mileage may be reduced during this period, a diet filled with wholesome foods will help you keep the unwanted pounds off. 

My days are quite long, so I like starting my day with breakfast that has protein and good fats – usually a protein shake and 2 eggs, which keeps me full for a few hours. I also keep homemade healthy snacks in the fridge so that I don’t automatically reach for chocolate when I am stressed with work. My favourite snack is a tuna salad with canned tuna in water, greek yoghurt, caramelised onions, celery, lemon juice, dill and black pepper.

For lunch and dinner, I mostly eat homecooked food with my family during this period and we try to spice up our meals with healthy versions of fun foods. So far, we have done healthier versions of laksa, hokkien mee and ramen – all of these loaded with vegetables and without processed ingredients, MSG or excessive salt.

4. Are there any recommendations on resources (youtube channel/video, social media pages, blogs, books, podcasts etc) to refer to?

I’ve started reading North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek. I’m hoping to run a trail 50k later this year, and the book is extremely inspirational to me! Meanwhile, I am also reading Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook to boost my nutrition knowledge, particularly on popular trends like keto and gluten-free diets. As for strength training, I do my own workouts which I also post on my Instagram page.



ABOUT PEARLLY LUO

Photo source: Pearlly

Pearlly Luo is currently undergoing a course to be a Certified Trainer.

She is a full-time working mother who recently rebuilt her fitness through running, cycling, resistance training and proper nutrition.

Through her own experience, she hopes to be able to inspire other women to regain their health and confidence. 

Pearlly works as a Communications Manager and is also part of the On Run Crew. She shares about her fitness journey on her Instagram page @pearllyluo (link: https://www.instagram.com/pearllyluo/).

Photo source: Pearlly
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Make Breakfast A Habit After Reading These!

Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, most of us still skip breakfast occasionally because we are always rushing. But intentionally skipping breakfast isn’t a great idea.

Eating breakfast is beneficial for your body. If you had a good breakfast, you won’t get too hungry and overeat at lunch. Here are 7 reasons why you shouldn’t skip your breakfast!

Breakfast helps you to lose weight

Here’s a misconception: you think by skipping breakfast or having a cup of coffee can help you to lose weight faster. On the contrary, studies show that people who skip their breakfast are more likely to become overweight and they are more likely to have an overall unhealthy lifestyle.

When you skip breakfast, you tend to eat more at lunch, thinking you lack of your daily calories. Filling up on the right breakfast can curb cravings and minimize snacking and ease weight loss. Include eggs, oats, bananas, yoghurt, fruits and green in your breakfast to ease your lose some weight.

Improves your intellectual performance

Having breakfast will increase your level of concentration and improves your memory and other mental abilities. 

A study conducted to recognize the importance of breakfast to learning, memory, physical well being in both children and adults. “Our studies to date show that breakfast really does get us off to a better start,” Pollitt said. “The first meal of the day especially helps children in school and allows them to cope with the demands of their school work.”

Having breakfast reactivate your metabolism

At night, your body slows down its rhythm to run without nutrients for at least eight hours. Therefore, after you wake up in the morning, you should eat a good breakfast to boost your metabolism.

A study was done by a professor of metabolic medicine at oxford centre for diabetes, Fredrik Karpe, reiterating that having breakfast is the key to jumpstart our metabolism. In order for other tissues to respond well to our food intake, you need an initial trigger involving carbs responding to insulin and having breakfast is critical for this to happen.

Eating breakfast improves your athletic performance

Breakfast provides vitamins and nutrients. As a result, you’re full of energy and ready to exercise and burn off all those fat deposits.

In a research study, athletes who ate breakfast were able to exercise for 137 minutes as compared to only 109 minutes when they skipped this pre-exercise fuel.

Having breakfast reduces the risk of disease

A healthy diet, which includes having breakfast every day, helps reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, hypertension and diabetics. By eating breakfast, it improves the quality of our diet. This is because breakfast food is often higher in fibre and nutrients. As a result, the insulin sensitivity at subsequent meals will improve and thus, lowering the risk of diabetics. 

Breakfast helps you reduce anxiety 

If you skip breakfast, you set yourself up for low blood sugar, which can trigger anxiety. Include greens in your breakfast because they are rich in magnesium and chlorophyll that helps to relieve stress and anxiety.

Breakfast is good nutritious start to your day

It is scientifically proven that people who eat breakfast every day have a more nutritious diet. Nutrients help your body function properly, as long as your breakfast includes proteins, carbs, vitamins and minerals. Choose oatmeal, fruit, protein cocktails, scrambled eggs or salad for breakfast. If you are hungry and you ignore your hunger until lunch, you might end up feeling lethargic and also experience cravings.

Breakfast is indeed the meal of champions. It improves the quality of your diet and is beneficial for your health and well being. Make breakfast a habit, no excuses!

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When The Circuit Breaks

As of the time this is written, Singapore has already enforced its Circuit Breaker measures, and we should consider ourselves lucky.

We are down to essentials-only policy, just to have only what’s needed to keep the lights on and providing the economy with a minimal heartbeat. Before the COVID-19 crisis even made a turn for the worse, we discovered that one essential item for most people (worldwide even) is… toilet paper. Then most recently, just before the more restrictive measures kicked in, turns out IKEA was also essential. Panic buying on Swedish meatballs, lingonberries, and canteen fried chicken? And in Manila, you can add Orange Mocha Frapuccino in the must-haves.

Why lucky? At this point, no one’s on the verge of going crazy to run a marathon around his dining room table just like that guy in China, as we’re still allowed to go out and exercise, albeit alone or with people from the same household in open and green spaces. For now.

And who doesn’t want to bask under the morning sun? Even if it doesn’t give you powers like Superman, it does energize you like Wall-E solar-charging his batteries. Your eyes can relax its focus to infinity than have your vision always obstructed by the four walls of your house. That is if you stop shoving that smartphone in front of your face and just soak in the view in front of you.

In parts of the world that are locked down, treadmills are a “what to do?” substitute. Dulling the pain and boredom by playing back virtual run videos while running to pretend they’re anywhere else but wherever they are. Again, we don’t have to go this route yet here in Singapore as we can still venture out. For now.

A day or so earlier, stadiums were ordered closed because people still ended up clustering. Parks remain open though amenities are now gradually being cordoned off to avoid exactly that. And the latest, beaches are now also off-limits.

Heading out on your own is one thing. Many people, also alone, and having the same idea heading out to the same place, makes you and everyone else alone but in a crowd nonetheless.

The fact that the government said the parks remain open should make you think twice about going there in the first place because that’s where most people will actually go for their Vitamin D and fresh air fix. Either you go there in the lean hours, or just run on the sidewalks which should are down to 20% or lower of usual footfall anyway.

In the same way that we wanted to flatten the curve of confirmed cases vs hospital capacity, we should do the same with parks and open spaces by spreading the load over time.

Cycling is another way to get your workout. On the road that is, and why not? Surely there are fewer people there, lesser cars too so it’s relatively safer. The same rule apply though, you have to go solo. And tempting as it is especially in windy conditions, no slipstreaming behind other riders, and keep away from one another even while waiting at the stoplight. No group/social rides. Yet the cycling federation still had to send out an urgent reminder to its community to stick to social distancing rules while on the road.

Be it running or riding, its a good time to try new routes, avoiding the most common paths. But wherever it takes you, make encounters as fleeting as possible, your presence in one place as transient as can be, and not be caught within touching distance while standing/waiting.

Why call this thing “Circuit Breaker” anyway? I assume it means the measures implemented are to break or reduce at least the chain of transmission of the virus. Or, another way of looking at it, it may refer to tripping the patience of the authorities should the situation does not improve, then its lights out on this remaining privilege (parks and PCN totally closed, go sun and air yourselves by your window) and we all go to complete lockdown.

So, tread and pedal carefully, hopefully, we are not toeing the line too much. Consider ourselves lucky. For now.

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National Athlete Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Alvin Loh (Marathoner)

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the National Athletes to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

I think it’s fine to head out of our house to exercise after a long day working from home but do it alone or with someone living in the same household. Personally, I try to swap my running routine and run during lunch hours to avoid the crowd.

If you prefer to stay home, you can also stay healthy by doing some static exercises like pushup, planks, dips, burpees, jumping jacks, etc where you can also arrange with your friends or colleagues and do them together via Zoom.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

We should not be over paranoid and trust that our governments are doing their best to ensure the virus is contained. However, we should also do our part by social-distancing, practise good hygiene and stay healthy.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

During this period, try to take more vegetables and fruits which gives you all the necessary vitamins. If possible, avoid fried food and junk food but I think it’s ok to indulge once in a while as our bodies sometimes crave for it. If possible, take this opportunity to cook at home (although I’m not a cook myself. haha) as you can also avoid crowded areas. I also take vitamin pills to enhance my immune system.



ABOUT ALVIN LOH

Photo source: Alvin’s IG

Alvin Loh is a Team Singapore Marathoner who represented the country at the Southeast Asian Games 2019.

His other achievements included clocking 1h16min at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Half Marathon 2018 and running the Sunshine Coast Marathon 2019 in 2h37min to qualify for the SEA Games.

Alvin has a full-time job as Senior Electrical Engineer at Land Transport Authority of Singapore. He is also a brand ambassador for HOKA ONE ONE Singapore and Jaybird.

Photo source: Alvin Loh
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Expert Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Dr Ashley Liew (Doctor of Chiropractic)

Photo source: Dr Ashley Liew

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the experts to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

I am actually taking it easier running-wise during this “Circuit Breaker” period while taking the rare opportunity to temporarily pursue other interests. My London Marathon scheduled for April got postponed, track workouts with Kampong Runner training mates cancelled, and the only gym I use closed. Thus, in the interest of safety and the necessary social distancing, I no longer find a need to do twice-daily runs, weekly speed sessions, or arduous long runs anymore. Besides, my next marathon is slated for October, so there is ample time for periodization before that.

What am I doing now? I have more opportunity now to run with my inspiring runner father, so I often join him for a daily easy run. My other time outdoors would likely be brisk walking our dog Tiger. I even finally listened to my wife Sandra to do something I haven’t done since 2012: take out my triathlon bicycle for a spin again! In fact, I attached a photo here of myself on the bike which literally has not been touched in years. Last but not least, I do some core sessions at home, often while watching television.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

It is imperative we stay calm by focusing on the bigger and more important picture. I think we athletes had to undergo the initial denial stage upon hearing about the more stringent measures; we got so caught up with our training and work routines for years, that we were at an initial loss about how to go forward.

However, my family encouraged me that there is a time and season for everything under the sun. There will be a season to race and compete again, but now is the season to recharge and do more of the things you could not do before. I am also cherishing the quality family time along the way.

3. Are there any recommendations on resources (youtube channel/video, social media pages, blogs, books, podcasts etc) to refer to?

I have no other resources I am looking to at the moment. But I am continually inspired by my father who is exercising on at least a daily basis, as well as my wife who managed to quickly adapt to a work from home environment!



ABOUT DR ASHLEY LIEW

Photo credit: David Choong

Dr. Ashley Liew is a professional member of The Chiropractic Association (Singapore) and Doctor of Chiropractic
(USA, Summa Cum Laude) at the Family Health Chiropractic Clinic.

Dr. Liew is also certified in the Webster Technique by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) to provide chiropractic care to pregnant women. In addition, Dr. Liew is proficient in the Koren Specific Technique for chiropractic analysis and adjusting. He is also the only FAKTR-Certified (Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehab) Provider in Singapore, which can be especially helpful for athletes.

Besides chiropractic, Dr. Liew’s other passion is competitive running. He is a Team Singapore marathoner, having represented his nation at the 2013 and 2015 Southeast Asian Games marathon. In both 2012 and 2015, he was ranked the fastest Singaporean marathoner of the year. He is also managed by ONEathlete.

Photo credit: Sum Chee Ming
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National Athlete Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Serena Teoh (Marathoner)

Photo source: Serena's Facebook

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the National Athletes to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

With the current restrictions, parks, park connectors etc are gonna be crowded, the last thing we would want is to go into a complete lockdown. Many fitness enthusiasts have come up with free videos on what you could do at home. Don’t forget to take rest days in between too! During this period, it is easy to snack more frequently, stock up your fridge and home with wholesome foods like yoghurt and nuts.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

Be understanding and kind, do not spread or believe in the myriad of the fake news floating around. Focus on what you can control at the moment, take care of yourself and engage in activities that would help you to wind down after a hectic day with the kids or work, it could be stretching or meditation before bed.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

I buy wholesome and ready to eat foods and fruits like blueberries and yoghurt as snacks. For meals, I prefer doing takeaways to support the local businesses as much as possible.

4. Are there any recommendations on resources (youtube channel/video, social media pages, blogs, books, podcasts etc) to refer to?

For volunteering and helping the needy during this period:
https://www.foodfromtheheart.sg
https://www.willinghearts.org.sg
https://engineeringgood.org

For relaxation:
– Insight Timer app

For free workouts:
– Asics studio app



ABOUT SERENA TEOH

Photo source: Serena’s Facebook

Serena Teoh is a Team Singapore Marathoner who represented the country at the Southeast Asian Games 2019.

Her other achievements included clocking 1h22min to finish fourth at the Gran Canaria 2019 Half Marathon in Spain and running the Tokyo Marathon 2019 in 3h00min to qualify for the SEA Games.

Serena has a full-time job as a Risk Manager at Southern Ridges Capital.

Serena with her coach, Rainer Hauch.
(Photo source: Serena’s Facebook)
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National Athlete Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Gordon Lim (Marathoner)

Photo credit: Alvin, IG @running.snails

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the National Athletes to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

As mentioned during the Prime Minister’s speech, we are all encouraged to stay home to help with reducing the community spread of the virus. However, it is to note that parks are openly accessible to everyone who would like to stay healthy and fit, get a run/bike/rollerblading activity in during this period. In my opinion, our role is to avoid crowding of areas but I believe that we can still head outdoors for some activities as individuals or with people from the same household. After all, keeping a healthy and active lifestyle will help strengthen our immunity as well!

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

I will think that we are quite lucky to be in Singapore where measures are in place by the government to help allay the worries of the people. Try to avoid talking about the virus situation if it gives you sleepless nights or constant stress throughout the day. As long as we practise good hygiene, keep our hands below our shoulders, rest sufficiently and avoid crowded areas, we have already done our part.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

To be honest, I am not a cook and I am terrible at that, so I usually eat out. However, we can make consciously healthy choices by opting for something soupy. In my opinion, my favourites are ban mian / yong tau foo. Of course, I get my burger and fries into my stomach once in a while (actually at least once a week for me hahaha) to keep myself sane.



ABOUT GORDON LIM

Photo source: Gordon’s IG

Gordon Lim is a Team Singapore Marathoner who represented the country at the Southeast Asian Games 2019.

He clocked a timing of 2h58min at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2013 – coming in as one of the Top 5 Singaporean and breaking the 3-hour mark at the age of 20.

He also attained a personal best timing of 2h37min at the Sunshine Coast Marathon 2019.

Gordon has a full-time job as physiotherapist at Seng Kang General Hospital.

Photo source: Gordon’s IG
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SCS – TalkMed Relay for Life 2020 (By KenJoe)

Photo Credit: Portrait from the Heart in 2018

Life sometimes throws us things which we may not expect. It is how we deal with them that distinguishes us from each other. 2020 should have been an interesting new decade but with the COVID-19 striking almost the whole world after rearing its ugly head in China Wuhan, Singapore is into its Circuit Breaker period 1st day at the point of my writing. We probably heard of the coronavirus back in late January. Things have gotten bleaker with passing weeks and months in Singapore.

How it impacts runners have been the consecutive cancellations and postponement of running events. Marina Run, Eco-run, OCBC Cycle and Relay For Life were some of the events I signed up for and were either postponed or cancelled or changed its format. Relay for Life was changed to a virtual challenge and I had signed up for the 100 km individual event. So we were supposed to be running 100 km own target own pace and own time within the 9 days from 21st Mar to 29th Mar.

I decided to carry on the spirit of doing this virtual challenge. I participated in it to remember the loved and dear folks who had passed on due to cancer and to encourage friends who are currently fighting against cancer in the current grim situation of the COVID-19. Amongst those who had left were my ex-colleagues, close friends, a new runner friend then – Ali Akbar (lunghi run), and my mother-in-law. A couple of friends are fighting against cancer still at this juncture.

I also started an online donation drive to Singapore Cancer Society and committed to completing 100 km within the 9 days. My original plan was to do a constant mileage each day 11-12 km and complete it by the 9th day.

I did a 12 km run on the first day. On the second day, I somehow managed to complete almost 60 km running with breaks in between throughout the day whenever I had available time. I was motivated by another individual who had completed 100km already by the second day and my other friend who also completed a huge chunk by the second day.

I finished 100 km on my third day and was the second person to make it to the leaderboard at that time. At that point, there were only 3 individuals who had completed. It was a bonus to see my name updated into the leaderboard (100.53 km). Given my slow pace and fitness level, I wouldn’t be top 3 in any event’s leaderboard. So it would be mission completed in 3 days instead of 9 days.

Status shown as at 23rd Mar 2020

I also received an encouraging note from the friend who was also participating. He actually quoted from the Bible, ‘Matthew 5:41 New International Version (NIV) 41. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.’ He wrote that as encouragement because I had leapfrogged from first two days’ leaderboard near the bottom of those who have started running, to the top two at that point.

I posted my mission accomplished and tried to seek contributions from the general public. As it was, perhaps Facebook wasn’t the best media for such a campaign or perhaps everyone was too preoccupied with all that was happening on COVID-19 situation. My thought then was that even with the worsening situation, the cancer patients will still have to fight their conditions. Some self-doubt came in too, was I doing enough? I had been training for half ironman before the challenge and I wanted to get back to the training because it was progressing steadily as I had built up my fitness (from vo2max indication) to a higher level than before. I knew I had to set some time for recovery because I had felt some pain in my toes and knew that I had gotten my right big toe injured again.

I also kept thinking about the quote.

Anyway, the brief story of it is that I struggled a bit more and made it to 200 km mileage by the 9th day. That is on average at least 22 km per day for the 9 days. An accomplishment in my own running records.

Being curious, I did google after the 9 days, to find how the quote will be explained. What follows below, is the crux of the lessons I learnt in doing this relay and it makes for a longer essay.

If you want to know just the running part of it, the above just about summarizes it. I did 200.09 km at my own slow pace in the 9 days given for the campaign. There was a few days when I was drenched in rain together with the sweat. The run/jog/walk at own pace and time was good as I just used it for some quiet times to myself. Each day’s run I tried to dedicate to dear friends who had left and hope to inspire anyone who was on FB who was willing to spend time to read. The idea that the sponsor Roche will contribute $3 for every km did keep me going too.

By the end of 9 days, I was actually physically fatigued and my two big toes were swollen and bleeding beneath the nails. It took me about another 5 days to feel a bit recovered from the fatigued state. If you ask me whether I will do it, I think I will but probably not the same way. My vo2max which had risen to a max before this, had dropped drastically as I tested my body beyond its endurance limit perhaps.

Back to the real lessons. This was the link that I found useful and you may want to look at it on the quote

I extract some points from it for sharing which I thought, speak to me in this trying times of dealing with COVID-19.

“… What is most commendable is that there should be a concerted effort to overcome evil with good. Thus the Apostle Paul teaches that we should never get weary in doing good (Gal 6:9). You know it gets tiring to carry on doing good in the face of the overwhelming force of evil...”

And if anyone forces you to go one mile, walk him two miles” (Matt 5:41). For if you walk him the extra mile, it is proof of your willing sacrifice. Rather that you can take another by your own initiative. This is what we are much more so to be rewarded for rather than simply to do what we have been asked to.”A

So yes, I have done a few campaigns to help the fight against cancer in the short few years I picked up running and to run for a purposeful cause. To be honest, I do get weary, at least the body and then the mind sometimes because it always didn’t seem adequate. I usually fall short of the target donation set for each challenge. Most of the donations usually come from a few regularly supporting friends and even a fair number of new and anonymous friends.

Was it because I had not connected out to more folks out there, I would ask. Was I not fast and strong enough as a runner to complete the challenge each time? Did I pick the right challenge for myself ? I also notice how old-time friends are usually very busy at the time of challenge, preoccupied with their usual stuff. (And at the point of writing, only a couple or so of ex-colleague and friends had taken time to encourage and contribute.)

Each time, I did recover and say to myself. I did my best. This is what I can contribute at this point and time. It is my willing sacrifice in the first place. I will continue to do so until I cannot do it anymore. To stop doing good is not an option. Especially in this time with a pandemic destroying what has been the norm of social life for most humans across the world. For cancer patients, they will still have to fight against cancer when the coronavirus is finally controlled. That day will come when a vaccine is available.

For the cancer patients, they are not sure if they will outlast the next day or week or month or year. I’m glad to be still healthy at my new anniversary on this earth and to have completed 200 km for this challenge. I trust that every dollar contributed to the cause will bring good to cancer patients. To be in a position to give is a blessing. I thank those who have contributed in the past and those who will read and/or share, and be motivated to click on the link above. Nobody should fight cancer alone. Stand strong. And we will also be united to fight the COVID-19. Stay home during the circuit-breaker period.

For now, really run safe (with social distancing), run solo and run strong.

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Supplements That Can Boost Clarity of Mind

Many people wish they could have more clarity of mind. However, “clarity of mind” is a tough metric to measure. It’s even more difficult to understand how you can impact it since many scientific studies don’t consider it in those words. If you’re wondering how you can attain more clarity of mind in your day-to-day life, you may want to consider these supplements, which can all help in slightly different ways.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are incredibly important for the development of both your body and brain, and there are seemingly endless studies regarding the importance of omega-3 fatty acids. One of the things it seems to have an impact on is mental decline, especially in the context of ageing. More research is still happening on its connection to the brain, but its various bodily benefits make it a great option either way.

2. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China, and it’s been used for a variety of things in traditional Chinese medicine. One of the main claims to fame for ginkgo biloba extract is its ability to bolster brain function. That brain function boost may be in the context of ageing or may just be a clearer mind in general, something many people use to help avoid stress.

3. Creatine

You’ve almost certainly heard of creatine from workout supplements. It’s very possibly the number-one workout supplement, which means if you have a pre-workout or post-workout smoothie, you’re probably taking in creatine. Aside from its effects on your muscles, there’s evidence that creatine supplementation may be able to help with neurological function in your day-to-day life.

4. Rhodiola Rosea

This herb contains over 140 active ingredients, which is possibly one reason for its massive popularity in folk medicine. It’s a widely-consumed dietary supplement today, and some have labelled its roots “adaptogens,” a term that means it helps your body adapt to different types of stress. That means it can help you handle stress more easily, something that can definitely increase your clarity of mind.

5. CBD

One of the main benefits of CBD is its ability to help people maintain a sense of calm for focus. This is an important benefit because it means you can stay focused, calm, and collected, no matter what stresses come at you. That’s the main reason so many people consider CBD when dealing with anxiousness over everyday stresses.

If you’re looking for the right CBD oil tincture for clarity of mind, you need to make sure you’re getting it from a good source. After all, it’s not going to help very much if you don’t get a high-quality product. To make sure you get the best, choose Charlotte’s Web’s CBD oil tincture. With this CBD, you can be sure that you’ll get all the benefits you’d be able to glean from CBD.

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Running Club Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Haddafi (Team Ultron Runners)

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the running clubs to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

Since the announcement of RMO, many gyms and fitness instructors are offering virtual classes or sharing their training tips online via social media i.e. Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. We are no different at Team Ultron. We share our running drills/exercises at our official Instagram and Facebook account @TeamUltron.

We encourage simple, no-equipment-required exercises like squats, lunges, sit-ups, planks, push-ups, crunches and the best is it can be done in a small space. We recommend choosing a few exercises, doing each for few reps then repeating the circuit three to five times. If you do need equipment, getting creative with things you already own such as using water bottles for weights, towels for sliders (for exercises like lunges and mountain climbers) or a sturdy chair/box for step-ups. But physical activity doesn’t have to mean a gym-style workout. Everyday activities like cleaning the house or gardening can improve your overall health—so any amount of movement you can squeeze in counts.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

Eating a balanced diet, exercising, getting good rest and managing our time/schedule well are among things we can do to maintain our physical and mental well-being.

We know that boredom is a common reaction right now but we have to slowly admit it that it’s happening and try to productively channel those feeling elsewhere. We can take off our focus from what is happening now by bonding ourselves to our plants or gardens, listen to new music, play video games or movie time with our loved ones/family. We can also enrich our life by doing prayers, meditation, diving into new books, develop a new hobby like playing music, baking or even redecorate our home so it will feel cosier.  Keep ourselves updated with the current news but try as much to read more positive things or articles online and avoid reading or spreading rumours especially negativity.

To stay calm, on nutrition plan it is advisable to do a proper list before you stock up on groceries — both to ensure you pick up the right things, and to avoid panic. Take inventory of what’s already in your pantry, and then plan around these items to create balanced meals. While most people are going straight for grains and canned goods right now, it’s actually a good time to buy fresh produce.

And of course, please follow all instruction and the precaution guidelines given by the authorities.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

Buy and eat more fruits and vegetables, (cut them up and put them in your freezer) because they can be used for months to come. Take more high protein foods but less refined carbs including junk or fattening foods. Drink more water during the day. If you do buy canned, dried or frozen goods, choose those low in saturated fat, salt and added sugars. If needed, take daily essential supplements like fish oil, multivitamins and etc.

4. Are there any recommendations on resources (youtube channel/video, social media pages, blogs, books, podcasts etc) to refer to?

Check out daily workout tips or updates at our official Instagram account or our wellness partner at @absolutewellnessmy



ABOUT TEAM ULTRON RUNNERS

Team Ultron Runners is a running movement aimed to promote an active and healthy lifestyle among Malaysian through running activities.

This “Running Clinic-concept” initiative aims to provide exposure, knowledge, to develop interest and promote a healthy lifestyle via running activities especially among the younger generation in Malaysia. The running clinic is held on a monthly basis (once a month) and it’s free (but limited) to the public who are interested in acquiring knowledge and to learn the proper (basic) techniques of running, regardless road or trail, competitive or leisure run.

The running clinics start as early as 7.30 am, conducted by renowned and certified coaches who are also experienced runners themselves, assisted by the Team Captain who was selected among the attendees.

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National Athlete Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – Jasmine Goh (Marathoner)

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the National Athletes to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

For runners, this is a great opportunity to think out of the box. Why not start the strength training routine that you have been putting off previously? Strength training using body weight or household items can help you become a stronger runner.

Also, incorporate some dynamic stretching exercises with resistance bands as well as foam rolling. These exercises will improve the functions of your muscles over time.

Doing running drills on the spot is a great workout while improving your running form.

Last but not least, if you can, choose a place and timing that is less crowded and go for a solo walk or jog or run. If you train at the right heart rate zones, you will reap many benefits for your body.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

I meditate daily. With the current situation, I find myself meditating more. It is okay to feel uneasy and uncertain about the current situation. Acknowledge how you feel but know that we are in it together! Video call someone you love and talk about the situation. You may be alone, but you do not have to feel “lonely”.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

My coaches at Coached recommend that athletes should reduce unnecessary sugar and salt intake. One should aim to consume healthy fat and protein in every meal whilst getting the majority of the daily carbohydrate around training.

4. Are there any recommendations on resources (youtube channel/video, social media pages, blogs, books, podcasts etc) to refer to?

For nutrition, I suggest you check out the 2-week test by Dr Phil Maffetone.

For workouts, check out one of my coaches at Coached, Jim Webster’s Instagram account @jimwfit. He has many videos of home-based workouts that you can easily follow along.



ABOUT JASMINE GOH

Photo source: Jasmine’s Facebook Page

Jasmine Goh is a Team Singapore Marathoner who represented the country at the Southeast Asian Games 2017.

Her other achievements included Female Singaporean Champion of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2016, Winner of the Great Eastern Women’s Run 2016 Singapore, Women Champion of the TransLantau 100km 2018, and a personal best of 2h54min at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2017.

Jasmine has a full-time job as an independent financial advisor with Avallis Financial. She is also a single mother to two daughters, Cherish and Faith. She also represents Under Armour as the brand ambassador.

Photo source: Jasmine’s Facebook Page
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Running Club Series: How do you stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period? – See Chun Yan (Peirce Reservoir Runners)

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and measures implemented by the governments, we have asked some of the running clubs to share some tips with our running and sports community on how to stay physically, mentally and/or nutritionally healthy during this period.

1. How do we stay active or physically healthy during this period, considering that we are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible?

I believe there are many ways which we as runners can also benefit from other forms of exercises to maintain fitness and become stronger. In fact, now is the time for you to review what you lack and need to improve on other areas in terms of strength to build on power and endurance and flexibility for injury prevention and longer stride length. Doing housework chores and cleaning up the house is also good and help keep everyone at home healthy too.

i. Key strengthening exercises you can do at home

Pushups, Planking (less than 1min), leg raises, squats & hip lunges are just examples of some simple exercises you can do. You can do each exercise in sets of 10 reps and do as many sets within 30mins or an hr.

If you have free weights or kettlebells, you can also do the squats variations and hip lunges with it.

Maintain the routine daily and you can see much improvements in recovery and performance too.

ii. Stairs climbing

This is another good way to train your cardio without any crowd and easily accessible without going far away from home. Hilly intervals are speedwork in disguise. You can target a certain timing for each set and repeat/maintain the same timing for each set. Min. 3 sets of 10-12 storeys will be good.

iii. Deep Stretch & Strengthening Yoga exercises

There are many youtube resources you can see online for free to learn and stretch many areas which may have been giving you grief & pain for so long without knowing the cause.

As the whole chain is connected, your PF or ITB pain might be due to tightness in areas you are not aware of or you may have muscle imbalance causing 1 leg to overstrain.

If you really must go out for a run and avoid the crowd, try the hot hours. Heat training is also an effective method to stress our body and improve performance. We live in Singapore after all. You need to embrace the sun and still perform during races while the sun is smiling brightly at you. Do rehydrate well.

iv. Sleep more

With travelling time and meal time saved, sleep early as much as possible to improve your metabolism rate and prepare a hearty breakfast to supply the best nutrients to the deprived body. Sleep is the best recovery method for whatever physical exercises you push your body on.

2. How do we stay calm during this stressful period?

Remember the reason why we run. Ultimately to be strong, happy and healthy. Running is only a means to the end and if you plan to run for the next 40-50 yrs, think long term. Your fitness level is not going to drop drastically unless you are training at the elite level.

So enjoy the downtime you have to try new things and experiment what can help you become a fitter & better you.

3. Are there any simple nutrition plans, tips or recipes that we can follow?

One experiment you can do during this period is to learn how to improve your body fat burning capability especially if you plan to run long distances in future. NLB has free ebook library app so check out The Endurance Handbook by Dr Phil Maffetone.

Or maybe you want to try if plant-based diet really works for you. You can read Eat & Run by Scott Jurex.

A big change in diet will take time to adapt to and your body may even feel weak for a short period. You need to know what nutrients you may not be taking enough for proper recovery and muscle building.

4. Are there any recommendations on resources (youtube channel/video, social media pages, blogs, books, podcasts etc) to refer to?

Some useful podcast channels to learn more about our body and how to train effectively: Science of Ultra, TrainRight, KoopCast.



ABOUT PEIRCE RESERVOIR
RUNNERS

This group was founded on 2 Jan 2013 by See Chun Yan. As there is no FB group for runners at Peirce Reservoir, it was created for any runners to join. This is for regular runners who love to run everywhere and can run the hilly intervals at Peirce Reservoirs together. It will be great for more runners to know more friends too! The group has created running events for our members to join races together. Now there is even a recreation team who plans fun and family activities too!

They do their regular runs at Peirce Reservoirs but they do alternate Sat or Sun morning every weekend to cater for different groups. They will try different routes now and then. They usually run in the morning so that everyone can continue with their activities after that. As some runners live far away, they start not later than 7:30am. Also every Tue night, they conduct speedwork + strength-building sessions.

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5 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for you and your loved ones. These tough periods can be overwhelming and can possibly cause strong emotions in adults and children, especially with the full implementation of Work from Home and Home-based learning. We believe that coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

So, here are 5 simple ways to reduce stress!

Exercise

Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean powerlifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the house or standing up to stretch during a break can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation. If you have additional free time, you might even want to run or walk around your neighbourhood or nearest public parks. Do head for uncrowded spaces and practice safe distancing when there are more people. Also, you may even try out fitness classes online after your home working hours.

Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously. It will help you relax and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. 

Breathe deeply

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Your heart rate, fast breathing and high blood pressure will then decrease as you breathe deeply to relax. Just focusing on your breath or changing the way you breathe can make a big difference to your overall stress level. We recommend you to try Square Breathing exercise

Square breathing is a great way to refocus your mind if you’ve been having a hectic day. Multitasking and working from home can be demanding on your brain and your body. It’s important to take a brief break and clear your head before diving back into your schedule. Here is the practice:

  1. Inhale for a count of 4
  2. Hold for a count of 4
  3. Exhale for a count of 4
  4. Hold for a count of 4

Here’s a visual aid for you:

Sleep better

Stress often influences sleep which has a direct impact on how we live our lives. And not getting enough sleep can even make your stress worse.

Make sure to get the doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Turn the TV off earlier, dim the lights, and give yourself time to relax before going to bed. It may be the most effective stress buster on our list.

Eat a Balanced Diet

A poor diet can bring greater reactivity toward stress. Emotional eating and reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods can provide a temporary sense of relief that adds to your long-term stress. Refined carbs, like cookies and potato chips, can cause a spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, you might experience more stress and anxiety.

Consuming a healthy diet can help you combat stress over the long haul. Foods like eggs, avocado, and walnuts support mood regulation and energy balance. 

Avoid coffee and other caffeinated food and drinks. They not only increase levels of certain stress hormones but also mimic their effects in the body (increasing heart rate and fast breathing, for example).

Listen to your favourite music or belt it out!

Take a break and listen to relaxing music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

Or if that’s not your kind, switch on your favourite playlist and belt it out loud! Singing releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. It also draws more oxygen into the blood and causes better circulation, reducing stress.

We hope these stress relief tips will help you throughout these tough times and we will get through this together!

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