Monday, 31 December 2012

Muscle turning into fat

Q: Does muscle turn into fat?


Q: Why not?

A: The fundamental science/biology of muscle and fat does not permit this to happen in any human being.

Q: So why do people generally believe muscle turns into fat when a person stops training?

A: They believe what they see with their naked eyes without understanding the deeper science to the matter.

Muscle does not turn into fat when you stop working out. Muscles and fat are distinctly different, and from a scientific perspective they are not capable of interchange into one another, i.e. from fat to muscles when working out and from muscles to fat when you stop working out. This simply defies science!

I guess the only logical explanation of why people believe in this myth is through their observation of gym-goers, particularly those who lift weights. When an overweight guy starts training with weights, he is likely to build muscles and lose fat. Over time, this combination will result in a muscular body and perhaps even chiseled abs. When this is achieved, the general masses will be skewed into believing that fat has morphed into muscles. On the same note, in the event the same guy decides to reduce his workout intensity or quit exercise all together for whatever reason, he won’t be able to maintain his new found muscular body for long. It won't diminish completely and immediately but if he doesn't watch or restrict his diet, over time there is a huge possibility of him regaining the lost body fat and visually lose his muscular body (it will be nicely hidden beneath the gained body fat). Hence, to the naked eyes this is akin to muscles turning back into fat. Once again, let me reiterate that this is not scientifically possible.

If you are going to quit going to the gym for a while, do make changes to your diet (both quantity and quality) in order to control your body fat percentage.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Frank Phelan, 2004, Saint-Estephe, Medoc, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Frank Phelan, 2004, Saint-Estephe, Medoc, Bordeaux

This dark garnet coloured beauty comprise of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. It has a good nose of fresh bouquet of plum and dark fruits (mainly berries). As for taste, I find it clean and with hints of mild clay, tobacco and peppers. I absolutely love the silky smooth texture and velvety cassis taste. Acidity is balanced and tannins are rounded. Structure of wine is pretty firm. Finishing is a tad short but it's still gorgeous nonetheless. This is an easy drinking wine and tastes great on its own. Overall, this wine tastes elegant  and sophisticated on the palates.

Frank Phelan is the worthy second label of Chateau Phelan Segur. A second label is produced by the same chateau/wine maker but they use younger grapes, grapes that are not quite ready yet (due to the relative young age of vines) for the first label. Not all bad if you ask me cos the grapes/vines are grown on the same soil as the first label thus offers hints of the first label taste but at second label price. Value for money? You betcha!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Glorious garlic

Garlic is one of my favourite spices. From garlic bread to garlic chicken and from garlic naan to plain old simple garlic with soya sauce as condiment for Chinese dishes, I thoroughly enjoy its savoury (some say pungent but I beg to differ) aroma and taste. Of course, right after a feast filled with garlic, I always make it a point to suck a sweet (usually hacks) to mask the wonderful camel breath! ROFLMAO! :-)

Garlic has medicinal properties and below are some key reasons why you should try to include some garlic in your diet:-

1. Reduces total cholesterol including LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels;
2. Reduces blood pressure;
3. Promotes the efficient transportation of oxygen to organs by blood cells;
4. Decreases oxidation of cholesterol and formation of blood clots;
5. Prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) that may lead to heart attack/stroke;
6. Has anti-bacterial properties;
7. Acts as a natural blood cleanser/detoxifier; and
8. Prevents cough and cold.

It is widely believed that cooking/heating garlic can destroy many of its medicinal properties. As such, the best way to enjoy garlic and to reap its full benefits is to eat it raw together with your salad or with soya sauce as condiment for your meal.

Don't worry about the smell as it won't kill you (but it might just kill the people around you when you speak! guffaw!) ;-)

Since the benefits are far too great to be ignored...please GO FORTH & GARLIC! :-P

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Wynns, Coonawarra Estate, Shiraz, 2010

Property of Mr Flabby Less 
Wynns, Coonawarra Estate, Shiraz, 2010

This is a full-bodied wine with good length. It has a well-rounded taste and scent of dark berries, mild spices and toasty oak. I find it very appealing as it has gentle tannins and soft acidity. In short, this is a very balanced wine and a good bottle to enjoy especially with good company.

This is a wonderfully delicious bottle of wine! I had it with some deep fried pork belly strips but honestly I think it's good on its own.  Personally, the more I drank it, the more I wanted. Yes, it was addictive to say the least :-)

A worthy bottle, which I'm sure I'll be buying more!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Manggis jantan (male mangosteen)

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Manggis jantan (male mangosteen)

We have an interesting mangosteen variant here in Malaysia. It's called manggis jantan (manggis = mangosteen, jantan = male, so combining them gives you male mangosteen!) due to its protruding end. Some even call it manggis Jepun (Jepun = Japan) as this variant is predominantly exported to Japan. It's absolutely delicious- tastes sweet, with firm flesh and has small seeds.

Since it's called male mangosteen (emphasis on the protruding end), eating it means you're having oral sex! Muahahaha! How gay for a guy! Muahahaha!

Jokes aside, you'll be surprised by the number of benefits this exotic fruit provides. This exotic fruit, used in traditional medicine for centuries, contains some of the most potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal compounds in nature.

Summary of key benefits of mangosteen is as provided below:-
  • Anti-aging - helps prevent aging
  • Anti-allergenic - helps prevent allergic reactions
  • Anti-arthritic – helps prevent arthritis
  • Anti-atherosclerotic - helps prevent the hardening of the arteries
  • Antibiotic - prevents or modulates bacterial infections
  • Anti-calculitic - helps prevent kidney stones
  • Anti-cataract - helps prevent cataracts
  • Antidepressant – helps with depression
  • Anti-diarrheal – helps with diarrhea
  • Anti-fatigue - helps relieve fatigue
  • Antifungal - prevents or modulates fungal infections
  • Anti-glaucomic - helps prevent glaucoma
  • Anti-Inflammatory – helps with inflammation
  • Anti-lipidemic - helps lower blood fat
  • Anti-neuralgic - helps in nerve pain
  • Anti-obesity - helps in weight loss
  • Anti-osteoporosis - helps prevent the loss of bone mass
  • Antioxidant-rich – rich in antioxidants
  • Anti-oxolytic - anti-anxiety
  • Anti-Parkinson – helps with Parkinson's disease
  • Anti-periodontic - helps prevent gum disease
  • Antipyretic - helps lower fever
  • Anti-tumor and cancer-preventive
  • Anti-vertigo - helps prevent dizziness
  • Antiviral - prevents or modulates viral infections
  • Cardio-protective - helps in the protection of the heart
  • Hypoglycemic - helps stabilize blood sugar
  • Hypotensive - helps lower blood pressure
  • Immunostimulant – helps the immune system fight infection

So what are you waiting for? Go forth and mangosteen! :-)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Benefits of free weights training

People tend to feel intimidated when they initially start training at the weights section of the gym. The sight of  avid body-builders busy pumping away weights and the sound of their grunt as they pump those irons typically make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes you may even end up with cold sweat as you worry you might make a fool of yourself at the weights section.

Forget about these blokes and mind your own business. The weights section is not a place where you compete with the next bloke who can lift and/or pump heavier weights. There is no winner or loser at the gym. The fact that all of you are working out and challenging your body/muscles means you are all winners. Just plan your weight training programme and focus on completing your routine. We are all at the gym for 1 simple have a good workout.

Once you are able to mentally block out all your negative thoughts, you'll be able to enjoy yourself and reap the benefits of free weights training. Some of the key benefits of free weights training are as follows:-

1. Promotes multiple muscles movement that will help create better overall muscle tension because primary and secondary muscles will be working together;
2. Trains your body to balance the weight and use a wide range of muscles including smaller supportive muscles to stabilise your body while lifting/pumping weights;
3. Increases strength of many functional movements that will help in everyday life;
4. Helps build core muscles especially when you lift weights while standing;
5. Helps your body work harder and creates a larger anabolic response; and
6. Enables a greater variety of "free range" movements where a muscle group can be exerted in a variety of ways using the same general type of equipment.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Mountain musang king

It's durian season once again and this time around it's a bumper harvest so prices of durians have decreased significantly. That's great news and I can stuff my face with my favourite fruit without burning a hole in my wallet! 

Just to show comparison, prices of musang king ranged between RM30-35 per kg in June this year but you can now get it for between RM8-14 per kg. What a steal! I can have almost 3 times the amount today compared to the previous season in June. Value for money? You betcha! I'm thoroughly pleased!

I recently met a new business associate through work and over lunch one day we exchanged stories about wine, food and travel. We then started talking about durians especially about how affordable musang king are this season and how much we enjoy the king of fruit.

"Have you tasted mountain musang king?"

"Mountain musang king? I'm not too sure but I highly doubt it."

"Although mountain musang king are produced and harvested here in the Malaysian highlands, they are not readily available to us Malaysian as they are exported to Singapore. They are of premium quality and have very intense flavours. The spikes of mountain musang king are larger than the ordinary musang king. Typically, the fruit is brown in colour."

"That sounds very interesting. I would love to try it one day."

"I'm getting a basket full (industrial-sized of course) sometime next week and I'll pass you some. Just to share, mountain musang king are sold for about RM30 per kg to the middlemen/exporters and once they are exported to Singapore, they're sold for about SGD30-40 per kg."

"That's madness! No wonder they are not sold here! Can't wait to try it!"

The following week, the long awaited call came in...

"The mountain musang king are here. I'll drop them off at your place later this afternoon."

"Great! Thanks!"

That night, Wifey and I had the mountain musang king at almost midnight after putting Sonny and Girlie to sleep.

So what's the verdict?

Great balls! This is the best ever durian I've had todate! Tiny seeds, very creamy flesh, strong durian aroma and extra bitter which bitterness lingers at the back of the mouth....all I've ever wanted in durian! A truly wonderful and fulfilling experience for me and Wifey that night (yeah, better than sex! guffaw!!!).

In case you are curious about the nutritional value of the king of fruit, please refer to my earlier post "Durian!!! My favourite!!! :-)".

Monday, 3 December 2012

Working out when sick

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! This can't be happening! I can't be sick! NOOOOOOO FRIGGIN WAAAAAAYYYY", I thought to myself when I woke up one morning with severe running nose (think leaking pipe!).

Just when I've been consistent with my weight training, the dreaded flu came for a visit...I hate to slow down on my weight training, not especially when I've been consistent and doing well at the gym. I certainly don't want to break progress by waiting too long between workouts. "This is friggin frustrating!"

So the big question is, do you workout when you're sick?

Personally, I still DO :-) but I reduce the load and intensity. However, this is only limited to when I'm down with flu. I DO NOT workout when I'm down with fever or have anything contagious (yes, I'm a responsible gym-goer).

For weight training, drop the weights and do high reps (20-25 reps, 3 sets) to sweat it out. If you don't feel like doing weights, do cardio instead. Remember to keep overall intensity low. The idea here is to sweat it out so that you feel better. When your body warms up and starts to sweat, your nasal passages automatically open up and you breathe a lot easier. But remember, only light workout and nothing intense as you just want to sweat it out.

Over do it when you are sick and you'll probably remain sick for a longer period of time. This is because your body will have to allocate nutrition in building muscles (as a result of the heavy and intense workout) as opposed to building and improving your immune system.

Think long term. Health and fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion, 2006, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion, 2006, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux

This wine is ruby in colour and although is has a medium body, its texture is good and elegant. The nose is dense and fruity. This wine is rather dry and has firm/edgy tannins. It tastes of black and red berries, smokey oak, toasted cigar, with a hint of mineral. Length is decent and the finishing bites. Drink this red between 2008 and 2035.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Feel the heat, baby!

Those who know me well enough know that I absolutely love spicy food and spicing up my food. Personally, the spicier the better as I find the pain from the heat calming and satisfying (yeah weird, I know but it's a matter of preference I guess). Think of it this way, would you prefer a hot and sexy lady or a lukewarm plain Jane? Thank you and I appreciate your kind honesty! :-P (love my analogies! *chuckle*)

I'm now hooked on "cili padi" (bird's eye chilli) from Bangladesh, which I can easily get from a nearby store.

I'm lucky as the heat from chillies and spicy food has many health benefits. It's like having your cake and eat it...only better cos it promotes health and doesn't get you fat! :-)

Health benefits of eating chillies and/or spicy food are summarised below:-

1. Increases metabolic rate and has thermogenic effect
2. Lowers incidence of heart attack and stroke
3. Prevents cancer
4. Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular system
5. Eases depression and stress
6. Lowers body temperature and has cooling effect
7. Improves digestion
8. Eases the discomfort of cold and flu
9. Improves breathing
10. Reduces joint inflammation and bone destruction

I enjoy a dose of "cili padi" at meal time as it improves the taste of my meal by giving me the extra "kick" (no offense to the cook ya, it's afterall a matter of habit and preference and nothing personal). The benefits provided above are pluses IMHO.

What are you waiting for? Quickly go get yourself a stash of "cili padi"! Time to feel the heat, baby!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, 2007, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, 2007, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux

This white is of semillon-sauvignon blanc blend. It has a captivating pale golden colour and tastes of banana, lemon tart, pear, passion fruit and a hint of sweet nectarine, which gives this wine a very slight sweet finish. I enjoy the relatively rich, full-bodied and fleshy texture. Good nose, with medium strong length. Acidity is medium and finish is generally crisp.

Although I had this with some cheese sticks, it would be perfect with chilled seafood.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Home-made ice cream

I recently bought an ice cream maker and decided to make something yummy for Sonny. Instead of cream based (usually double cream!) ice cream, I decided to make yoghurt based ice cream. To indulge is a privilege, but let's try keeping it healthy whenever possible.

As for flavour, I knew I wanted a fruit flavour, but what could it be? Sonny's taste changes all the time and what he enjoys today may not be what he enjoys tomorrow.

After checking out the fruits at my neighbourhood grocer, I decided to get some mangoes. "Mangoes should be a good bet", I thought to myself. Even if Sonny didn't like mango yoghurt ice cream, both Wifey and I wouldn't mind having it.


1. 1 ripe mango
2. 50g caster sugar
3. 250ml natural yoghurt

1. Cut mango into cubes
2. Purée mango cubes and sieve mango purée
3. Add sugar and yoghurt, mix well
4. Pour mixture into freezer bowl and turn on paddle
5. Allow to freeze until desired consistency is achieved (about 45-60 mins)

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Ready mixture of mango purée, yoghurt and sugar

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Pour mixture into freezer bowl

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Turn on paddle and allow to freeze for 45-60 mins

It was delicious! :-) Sonny enjoyed it very much and we used it to sneak in some fresh fruits into his diet :-P

We didn't finish the mango yoghurt ice cream and kept the balance in the freezer. BIG MISTAKE! It's now rock hard. I guess I have to thaw it for about 30 mins before serving. Let's hope it'll still taste yummy...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

7 top bodybuilding myths

I remember vividly when I first started weight training in 2001, everyone tried talking me out of it.

These are some classic/common statements from people around me..."Are you sure you want to do this? Lifting heavy weights isn't good for your joints. Eh, it looks ugly if you get too bulky. If you stop working out, your muscles will turn into fat!"

What a load of BS! It's funny how bodybuilding has been sorely misconceived.

I would like to share some bodybuilding myths for your reading pleasure...

1. You Get Fat When You Stop
People think that muscles will turn into fat when you stop working out. WTF?! Fat and muscles are different things and it's physically impossible for muscles to turn into fat. Yes, muscles lose definition when you stop working out but it doesn't disappear or turn into fat. After you stop working out, you’ll continue to have your muscles until they deteriorate through damage or your body burns them for energy when in nutrition deprived mode. If you continue to ingest high calories and not workout, you'll surely gain fat. So blame getting fat on your lifestyle and eating habit, not on muscles turning into fat when you stop working out.

2. Bad For You
Most people think that lifting weights put profound stress on your body, especially your joints and bones. However, if you use proper technique/form, bodybuilding will actually improve your overall fitness and strengthen your body structure. Some people also claim that bodybuilding does not help in strengthening your heart. Well, try doing high reps/dropsets/giant sets and you'll have a 2-in-1 (anaerobic and aerobic) workout.

3. No Skills Required
Bodybuilding requires proper technique/form, failing which you'll end up injuring yourself. Proper technique/form is also important to ensure your muscles are thoroughly worked out and worn so that they can thicken adequately in order to increase density. You'll never see results if you don’t use the right technique/form, resulting in frustration. Consequently, you might just end up throwing in the towel.  

4. It's Easy & Anyone Can Succeed
People think bodybuilding doesn't require skills and as such they feel it's easy and anyone can do it and succeed. Bullocks! In order to be a top bodybuilder you need the right mix of genetics and skills. Have 1 and not the other and you won't make it in the big league.

5. It's All About Good Genetics
Bodybuilding is not 100% genetics. It's probably 50% genetics and 50% skills/knowledge/determination. Again, have 1 and not the other and you won't make it in the big league.

6. Himbos
Although bodybuilders concentrate on building up their physique to look good, that doesn’t mean they are dumb asses or "himbos". I find that most bodybuilders are very strong mentally (strong-willed too) as they use their mental strength to focus on training and building up their physique (mind over matter) and to strive for overall well being. They use their mental strength, discipline and determination to commit and improve themselves by regularly hitting the gym and watching their food/nutrition intake. Bodybuilders are generally quite intelligent as bodybuilding requires a complex understanding of human biology, chemistry, nutrition and dietary to succeed.

7. Small Herman
Muahahahaha! This is such a silly myth! Yes, in order to build muscles, your body uses testosterone and people think it'll be at the expense of your mojo. No freaking way! Your body is an efficient machine and will certainly replenish the testosterone level so don't worry. Most bodybuilders feel good about themselves and how they look and it's this confidence that will give them the X-factor to last longer and go the extra mile when having sex.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Joseph Perrier, Cuvee Royale, Brut Vintage, 2003

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Joseph Perrier, Cuvee Royale, Brut Vintage, 2003

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Joseph Perrier, Cuvee Royale, Brut Vintage, 2003

 Property of Mr Flabby Less
Joseph Perrier, Cuvee Royale, Brut Vintage, 2003

I've always had non-vintage champagne. Truth be told, this is my very first (yes, virgin!) bottle of vintage champagne. According to connoisseurs, this champagne is best consumed between 2008 and 2012, so this means the timing cannot be more apt.

This champagne exudes fine bubbles but unfortunately the effervescence is short-lived once served. Overall zesty and lemony, but with a tinge of creamy nuts, cinnamon, apple and pear. I enjoy the medium lemon taste and crisp acidity. It's quite dry and has medium length. I find this champagne pleasantly refreshing.

Monday, 5 November 2012

StrongLifts 5x5

During the period when I was nursing my shoulder injury, I used my spare time to surf for information on many subject matters and I came across a training programme called the StrongLifts 5x5 by "The New Muscles From Brussels", a chap called Mehdi Hadim.

Squat, bench press and deadlift

Barbell row

Overhead press

StrongLifts 5x5 is a programme that focuses on 5 types of compound movements (squat, bench press, barbell row, overhead press and deadlift) with incremental increase in weight at every workout session (increments of 2.5kg for squat, bench press, barbell row and overhead press, and increments of 5kg for deadlift) over a period of time. The concept is very simple, i.e. focus on large muscle groups to increase strength, build muscles and burn fat. This means the heavier you lift (as you make progress in the training programme), the stronger you become and that will lead to bigger muscles, which will then result in your body burning more fat.

This training programme involves only 3 days of training per week (shocking eh but yeah only 3 days and each training session lasts approximately 45 mins max) and you'll always alternate between the same 2 workouts:-

StrongLifts 5x5 Workout A- Squat, Bench Press & Barbell Row
StrongLifts 5x5 Workout B- Squat, Overhead Press & Deadlift

Note: All movements are 5x5, save for deadlift which is 1x5

For more details, please visit the StrongLifts 5x5 website. Sign-up is free. Once you've signed up, they'll email the StrongLifts 5x5 Report and training programme (in both kg and lbs) to you for free.

Personally, StrongLifts 5x5 is timely and ideal for me. As I couldn't jump right into my usual training programme after staying away from the gym for about a month or so, StrongLifts 5x5 is perfect as I'm able to ease myself back into lifting heavy weights over time and help my weakened left shoulder gain strength in the process. I like the fact that the programme starts out really light (Olympic barbell light!) and resistance is increased over time.

I've just completed 12 weeks of StrongLifts 5x5 and it feels great! I'm stronger both physically and mentally and my muscles are now more dense, visibly thicker and more rounded. Over the course of 12 weeks, my body weight increased from 90kg to 97kg. Excellent! :-)

That's me! :-P

I find that StrongLifts 5x5 is a great training programme to bulk up. I would use it again (most likely in modified form and NOT starting with an empty Olympic barbell) in my next bulk up stage in a few months' time. But for now, I'm taking a much needed 1-2 weeks break (your body can't be under constant stress forever and R&R does help the body recover better and you'll return to the gym even stronger) before I proceed with cutting. Can't wait for to show off the definition! :-P