Saturday, 27 December 2014

Asian flush

Everyone knows I enjoy drinking alcohol. They even know I drink like a fish! *guffaw* I love my reds and single malts in the evening. I enjoy cool and refreshing ales, beers and whites during a hot day.

I would typically turn red after a few drinks but I generally would ignore the cosmetic side effects to have a good time! Yes, that’s how much I enjoy my drinks!

Why do I turn red? No, it’s not because my blood circulation is in excellent condition. No, it’s not really due to any allergy to alcohol. No, it’s not because my genetics have malfunctioned. No, it’s not because I’m Chinese or Asian.

It has been scientifically proven that most Asian especially Japanese, Chinese and Koreans respond to alcohol by turning red. So there is no surprise when you see a sea of red faces (think loyal Man U supporters!) all over bars and clubs in Asia. In Europe, alcohol-drinking Asians will stick out like the red lights in red light districts!

Alcohol is metabolised in our liver where it is oxidised first to acetaldehyde and then converted to acetate by an enzyme known as aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2). Those who turn red after a bit of alcohol have a genetic change in their ALDH2. The gene variant causes the body to metabolise alcohol more quickly, but become less efficient in breaking down acetaldehyde. The build-up of acetaldehyde is what causes your blood vessels to dilate and your skin to turn red. Sometimes one will also experience itchiness on the skin and the body gets redder after scratching it! Drink too much and chances are you’ll forget your red face/body and itchy skin, as you end up throwing up and busy sorting out your mess!

This condition is known as alcohol flush reaction. Since it typically happens to Asians, it is also called the Asian flush/glow.

Recent studies have revealed evidence that ALDH2-deficient individuals are at much higher risk of developing esophageal cancer from consuming alcohol than those with a fully active ALDH2. Esophageal cancer also happens to be one of the deadliest cancers in the world with pretty low survival rates. Acetaldehyde is a metabolite of alcohol but is also an animal carcinogen and mutagen with recognised cancer-promoting properties. When the tissues of your upper aerodigestive tract are repeatedly exposed to acetaldehyde, the probability of DNA damage and mutation could also increase. OUCH! NO SHIT!

Since this is a genetic problem there’s no cure for alcohol flush except to completely abstain from alcohol. If you get red, you should think about drinking less as you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of developing both cancer and hypertension. If you can’t completely abstain from alcohol, drink moderately and this is defined as one to two drinks a day for men, and one drink a day for women.

Cheers! Opps! :-)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Rolex Submariner No Date 14060M

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Rolex Submariner No Date 14060M

This is the "base" Submariner, which every collector must have in their repertoire of watch collection. In stainless steel, it's a very versatile piece for both casual, work and formal attires. Without the date feature, it has a very clean look and feel. I actually like the no-date feature as it's easier to adjust before wearing *LOL*

I bought this from a good friend complete with box and papers and after 9 months I sold it to another good friend. It's all good as this piece is still within my family of friends!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Optimal protein intake

People often ask me how to determine their optimal daily protein intake.

I immediately ask them their objective and body weight before giving them the optimal daily protein intake.

Basically, there are 4 objectives to consider:-

a. Survival- our bodies need roughly 0.8g of protein per lb of bodyweight

b. Maintaining- our bodies need about 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight

c. Bulking- our bodies need roughly 1.5g of protein per lb of bodyweight

d. Cutting- our bodies need roughly 1.25g of protein per lb of bodyweight

So, if you are 200lbs, you’ll need the following amount of protein daily based on the above four objectives:-

a. Survival- 160g daily or 26.7g per meal for 6 times a day

b. Maintaining- 200g daily or 33.3g per meal for 6 times a day

c. Bulking- 300g daily or 50g per meal for 6 times a day

d. Cutting- 250g daily or 41.7g per meal for 6 times a day

You’re probably wondering why the daily protein intake is divided into 6 equal portions. Well, there’s no way you can eat such amount of protein over 3 meals daily- you’ll be stuffed! You could as an alternative ingest protein shakes but not all the time as you need real food. The idea here is to constantly feed your body sufficient amount of protein so that it can absorb the same constantly to build muscles. Take too much protein at a meal and chances are your body will store it as fat. When you take protein periodically every 2 to 3 hours, your metabolic rate will be kept high throughout the day, which is good! I eat (protein included) 6 times a day and I consume a mix of real food and protein shakes.

You would also probably wonder why protein intake during cutting is more than during maintenance. Protein has a very high thermic effect of food (“TEF”)- how much energy your body has to burn to be able to use it. Carbs and fat have roughly 5% TEF. Protein has 20% TEF. That means if you eat 1,000 calories of protein, you instantly “lose” 200 calories as your body needs to burn that much just to be able to use that protein. Furthermore, when you are cutting, your body has to get energy from somewhere. It will get this energy from your body in the forms of adipose (fat), glycogen (carbs), and skeletal muscle (protein). This means, protein is very important when cutting as it helps burn itself off and when your body needs to extract energy, it helps minimize any loss from skeletal muscle (which you want to keep!)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Banrock Station, 2011, Chardonnay

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Banrock Station, 2011, Chardonnay

Attractive golden colour. Quite dense and chewy. Bouquet of pear, peach and vanilla. Short to medium finish. Sharp tannin and a tad sour when it warms up. Table wine price and quality. No complaints.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Poupille, 2008, Castillon, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Poupille, 2008, Castillon, Bordeaux

100% organic Merlot. Dark ruby in colour. Perfume of dark berries and cassis. Stubborn and needs time to breathe. At least 2 hours of decanting is required. Tannin is harsh initially but would integrate after decanting. Medium to full-bodied. Taste mainly of dark berries. Mild taste of spices and oak. Pretty straight forward wine and easy drinking after decanting. Still needs cellaring IMO.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Les Allees De Cantemerle, 2009, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Les Allees De Cantemerle, 2009, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux

2nd wine of Chateau Cantemerle, which is a Fifth Growth. 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. Even as a second wine, grapes were individually hand-sorted before fermentation and the wine spent 12 months in 20% new French oak before bottling.

Dark ruby-garnet in colour. Medium bodied. Short-medium finish. Pleasantly soft with decent structure. Tannins have rounded and pretty integrated. Loads of dark fruits character and nose- mainly blackberries, dark cherries and cassis. Tastes of rustic mushrooms, pencil graphite, tobacco leaf, cassis and dark berries. Worth cellaring a few years. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Rolex Two Tone Oysterquartz 17013

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Rolex Two Tone Oysterquartz 17013

This is my very first Rolex and it can't get any better than this stylish looking vintage Rolex (released in the 1970s) that's no longer in production. I like the modern classic good looks! I especially love the open 6s and 9s and I look forward to wearing it on the 6th, 9th, 16th, 19th, 26th and 29th of the month!

Briefly, the Oysterquartz utilizes Rolex’s fine thermocompensated quartz movement placed inside a heavier than usual Oyster case and held to the wrist with a heavier than normal bracelet.  Although it's 36mm, it looks slightly larger due to the thicker casing. It actually sits pretty well on my wrist.

I had originally bought this for Wifey but even at the smallest wrist size, it was still too loose for her. So I gladly took it over as my pride and joy! :-) I typically wear this with work clothes or formal wear to exude a touch of class!

...I also wear this when I'm rushing and have no time to adjust my other automatic or manual-wound watches!!! :-PPP

Saturday, 15 November 2014

What you absolutely need before bedtime...

What do you absolutely need before bedtime? Sex? Well, hell yeah! But this is equally important… ;-P

I’m talking about food. Yes, your last meal before going to bed (or before having sex!) *guffaw*

It is important to note that the right meal before you retire for the day can have a positive effect on your overall training result as this important meal helps your body recover from your exercise by feeding your muscles with quality nutrition as you sleep.

You have to be selective and not pick unhealthy food such as fast food or ice cream or roti canai or fried rice etc. Choose the right food based on the following general rules:

Rule #1: Avoid carbs and insulin

Consuming carbs will result in a significant insulin release. This will in turn put the breaks on fat burning. In addition, carbs are easily stored as fat in the evening hours when metabolism is naturally slowing in preparation for sleep.  Furthermore, you will definitely have very little opportunity to burn off that energy after consuming carbs at night as you don’t burn much calories when you are asleep.

So you’ll surely think, “that’s ok, I’ll just have protein”. Well, certain proteins such as red meat and fish have been shown to yield a significant insulin response as well.  While these proteins are generally acceptable for a pre-bed meal, there are better choices, like those mentioned below.

Rule #2: Choose slow digesting proteins 

Slow digesting proteins such as turkey and chicken meat are great pre-bedtime meal choices as they digest slowly and they don’t really produce a significant amount of insulin.

Another great choice is the milk protein casein found in some supplements and also in cottage cheese.  Casein has the ability to coat the stomach, digest slowly and provide quality nutrition to your muscles over several hours (time-released properties) and thus makes a perfect pre-bedtime meal!   

Rule #3: Add fat 

Before you cuss at me and ask me whether I’ve gone out of my mine, let me qualify myself…yes, add fat…but only quality and healthy fats such as nuts and nut butters that will help to further slow gastric emptying and digestion while increasing fullness and satiety.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Beautiful lavender

Lavender is doesn’t only have a beautiful purplish-blue colour but it’s also widely known as the healing herb.

The powerful healing abilities of lavender are derived from the chemical composition of this herb. You can freely and confidently use lavender to treat bites, burns, wounds, fatigue, depression, fatigue, cramps etc. Its wide variety of healing abilities makes it one of the most popular plants on the face of the earth.

Below are the 7 healing wonders of lavender:-

#1: Lavender is an antiseptic or disinfectant

#2: Lavender is an expectorant that helps soothe coughs

#3: Lavender is an analgesic that relieves headaches, pains, discomforts and tension

#4: Lavender is used in aromatherapy that has calming properties and induces sleep

#5: Lavender is a nervine that can gradually calm the nerves system

#6: Lavender is a cicatrizant that promotes natural healing

#7: Lavender is an antidepressant and helps to uplift mood

Monday, 3 November 2014

More benefits of red wine

You've probably read and heard that red wine can be a very healthy beverage (heck, I too have personally covered this a few times in my previous posts!). However, you most likely only read and heard about generic benefits of drinking red wine, i.e. the antioxidants and resveratrol.

These are other key reasons why drinking red wine in moderation (1-2 glasses per day max) can be a super healthy part of your diet:-

1. People who drank red wine moderately per day (only dry red wine and not the sugary dessert wine variant) had higher levels of beneficial bacteria in their gut and lower levels of pathogenic bad bacteria in their gut.  Harmony and balance in your gut is crucial to everything from your digestion, immunity, metabolism, skin health etc.

2. In addition to decreasing pathogenic bacteria in the gut, red wine consumption also has a prebiotic effect in the gut in that it supports the growth and colonies of healthy gut microbes, which ultimately protect and promote good health.

3. Red wine drinkers have lower levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and CRP (C-reactive protein).  CRP is a measure of overall inflammation in your body, so it's great to see an association between red wine and reduced inflammation.

4. Red wine consumed with a meal can slow and moderate the blood sugar response you get from that meal.  This is yet another benefit to keeping your hormones balanced, controlling insulin levels, controlling appetite and staying lean!

You’ll not be able to derive any of the above benefits by drinking equivalent servings of another alcoholic beverage. This is because the benefits above are related to the polyphenols and resveratrol in red wine and not the alcohol content itself.

So go ahead and choose your favourite Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz or any other dry red wine to pair with your meal! I know just which French red to open for my next meal… :-)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Woodstock, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, McLaren Vale, Australia

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Woodstock, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, McLaren Vale, Autralia

Typical nose of passionfruit and mild lychee. Found this wine quite tart initially. After awhile, I started to taste apples and pears but the overall acidity and citrus notes were rather overwhelming. Quite edgy but refreshing nonetheless.  Not my fav white, I'm afraid...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Chateau Loeville Las Cases 'Grand Vin de Leoville du Marquis de Las Cases, 1997, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Chateau Loeville Las Cases 'Grand Vin de Leoville du Marquis de Las Cases, 1997
Saint-Julien, Bordeaux

Second Growth. Even though this wine was classified as a Second Growth in the 1855 classification, this vineyard is special and often considered by those in the know to be as good as any of the First Growths. This inevitable represents great value where you can enjoy First Growth quality for maybe half the price! Chateau Leoville Las Cases borders on the north with Chateau Latour and has often been called the Latour of St. Julien. 

Perfume of sweet cassis combined with mineral, mostly that of lead. Powerful and rich. Concentrated and dense. Tastes elegant and refined, mainly of black berries and dark fruits. Svelte and silky smooth tannins. Beautifully coats your mouth! Can't believe the elegance of this wine!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Mixing it up!

Here’s 1 of my BIGGEST training secrets…always mix your training every time you hit the gym. This applies to all your muscle groups. It can be mixing the angles or reps or sets or the combination etc. Whatever it is, just mix it up!

Say you are training your biceps. You can do the following:-

Heavy weight: 5 reps x 20 sets

Normal weight: 15 reps X 10 sets

Light weight: 20 reps x 10 sets

You can use a straight Olympic bar or EZ bar, you can stand or sit down in an incline position, you can even use dumbbells or the preacher curl rest, you can do the weights as a pyramid or a half pyramid, different lifting an resting tempos etc. The idea here is to constantly mix it up.

What happens here is that you are constantly shocking your muscles and this is an extremely important element in weight training. When you keep your muscles off balance, they work harder as they can never build up a resistance and that gives you a better result that equates to muscle growth!

You shouldn’t be doing the same routine etc at every workout as you’ll never maximize your result. Your muscles tend to become complacent and resist growth if you are constantly doing the same workout.

Friday, 10 October 2014

7 anti-aging foods

I’m a vain pot and they call me Vain Ken! There you have it! I’ve admitted I’m vain! *LOL*

I’m in my mid-30s and I’m not waiting ‘til I’m older to start taking natural anti-aging nutrients. Best to start early if possible to defy each passing year!

Below are what I regularly take (mostly the first 4 items) to help me stay youthful:-

1.  Red Wine - Its resveratrol content is a unique anti-oxidant that can help fight against diabetes, heart disease and age-related memory loss (drink too much and you’ll have momentary memory lapses! *LOL*)

2.  Beans - The unique proteins in beans thicken and strengthen your hair cells resulting in a fully head of hair (hopefully it’s only applicable to the larger head! *LOL*)

3.  Tomatoes - Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which has been shown to support heart health and healthy cholesterol levels as you age.  Lycopene also acts as a natural sun block to keep skin youthful and protected from harmful UV rays. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to apply sunblock when you go out in the hot sun ya ;-)

4.  Olive Oil - The monounsaturated fats contained in olive oil support healthy arteries and a healthy heart, while the polyphenols, which is a potent anti-oxidant helps prevent a number of age-related diseases.  Organic extra virgin olive oil is arguable the best!

5.  Brazil Nuts - Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral which aids in the production of the anti-oxidant glutathione to help slow down the skin aging process.  Just 2 nuts a day will provide you with enough selenium to reap its anti-aging benefits.

6.  Raspberries & Blueberries – They contain important anti-oxidants that help offset inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to skin aging and wrinkles.  Just one serving of either contains more anti-oxidants than 10 servings of most other fruits and vegetables! Berry up!

7.  Organic Eggs - Eggs are rich in biotin and iron which help to promote healthy, youthful skin and hair.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Chateau Cantemerle, 1996, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Chateau Cantemerle, 1996, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux

Fifth Growth. 1996 is a great year in the Medoc.

Balanced sweet perfume of bouquets, truffles, berries, plums and mineral. Tastes of luscious ripe dark berries with some mild spices. Brickish colour at the rim. Soft, smooth and pleasant tannins. Medium bodied. Medium finish/length. Very delicate, elegant, romantic and feminine. Balanced and highly enjoyable wine.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Poupille, 2007, Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Poupille, 2007, Cotes de Castillon, Bordeaux

A powerful and vibrant red made of 100% merlot. Love the dark garnet colour. Pretty decent legs. Still rather sharp tasting now and tastes quite spicy when open. Typical intense nose of dark berries, plum and spice. Tinge of rustic earthy scent. Medium bodied. Tannins are still edgy. Needs a few years to mellow down and for tannins to be rounded. I think it tastes best after close to 1.5 hours of decanting. Pretty smooth and elegant after decanting.  A value for money French red.

Monday, 22 September 2014

3 variants of bend over barbell row

I'm quite a "lazy" bugger so I like doing compound movements to cut short my workout. Compound movements save time as it involves a few muscle groups working together simultaneously when you execute them. Since each compound movement involves multiple muscle groups, it definitely takes more effort to execute it. Examples of compound movements are deadlifts, barbell chest press, squats, bend over barbell rows etc.

Bend over barbell rows are great as you not only workout your back but also your forearms, biceps, traps, triceps, abs, thighs and hamstrings! It's also one of the best ways to add real power, real strength and mass to your back.

There are a few variants and all are great movements depending on which specific muscles groups you plan to target...

Variant #1 – Pronated Grip (Palms Down)

This is the most traditional row. Lift the barbell up safely and bend over so that your body is at about 45 degree angle. Thoroughly tighten your legs, gluts, lower back and keep your head in a neutral position. Pull the barbell towards your belly button and hold for a second before lowering it.

Barbell bend over row with the pronated grip is more demanding on your body, your grip strength, your forearms and your back because your biceps do not assist you much when you execute the barbell rows. 

 Variant #2 – Supinated Grip (Palms Up)

With this grip, you actually draw your elbows closer to your body. It gives you an advantage as you are able to bring your biceps more into play with this grip variant. With your biceps more involved and your elbows closer to your body, you will have more power and more strength to execute your bend over rows. Once again, pull the barbell towards your belly button and hold for a second before lowering it.

This could arguably be the best grip to begin with if you have never done a barbell bend over row before!

Variant #3 - Pronated Grip Pulling Higher Towards the Chest

A slightly different variant is to hold the barbell using the pronated grip and pull the barbell higher up towards your upper abs and just below your chest. This is significantly harder and you are likely to pull lighter weights.

This movement forces your elbow out wider so now you are hitting more of your upper back, your deltoids and your rhomboids. You tend not to workout your lower back much with this movement.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Triple drop set circuits

Want to lose weight? Want a quick but effective workout? Want to triple the burn (and pain!)?

If yes, you should try doing triple drop set circuits.

Triple drop what? *guffaw*

Please don't let the grand-sounding name scare you. It's pretty simple actually.

Here's the concept:

You select an ideal weight that will adequately challenge you for a triple drop set of 12 reps, 10 reps and 8 reps with 10 seconds of rest between each set. Once you complete the drop set of 12-10-8 reps, that's considered 1 set. You do 3 sets for each movement or each muscle group.

In a triple drop set circuit, you'll apply the above concept for 1 chest movement, 1 back movement, 1 leg movement, 1 shoulder movement, 1 triceps movement and 1 biceps movement. 6 movements or muscles groups in total. You move from 1 movement to the other with just 10 seconds of rest between each movement. Once you finish all 6 movements, repeat the entire workout once more and you are done!

I bet my last dollar you'll ache all over the next day! No pain no gain, right? *guffaw*

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Gemstone, 2009, Estate Red, Napa Valley, California

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Gemstone, 2009, Estate Red, Napa Valley, California

My good friends visited Napa Valley and they brought back this bottle of wine to share. It was delicious to say the least!

This wine is a blend of 68% cabernet sauvignon, 24% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 4% petit verdot. Wonderful fruity nose especially blackberries. Luscious taste of dark chocolate, mocha, toffee, dark fruit, licorice and blackberry jam. Hint of oak. Concentrated, fleshy, chewy and silky smooth. Massive wine with impressing finishing. Lot of tannins still. Decanting is required- minimum 2 hours.

Drinking well but I'm sure it'll be even better over time until 2020.

This is a 91-pointer by RP.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Frank Phelan, 2009, Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux

Property of Mr Flabby Less
Frank Phelan, 2009, Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux

Deep, concentrated ruby in color. Rich, complex ripe red and black fruits aromas on the nose and flavours on the palate. Tastes of interwoven blackberry and raspberry jam with smooth dark chocolate. Excellent structure. Approachable tannins and acidity. 75% merlot and 25% cabernet sauvignon. Drinking well now, but it will age beautifully through 2018. 

Although this is the second label of Chateau Phelan-Segur, it doesn't feel as if it's second best. Sure it's much more affordable compared to it bigger brother but Frank Phelan stands on its own pedestal and wears its own crown.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Complete arm workout

If you want to have nice arms, you'll need to focus on both bicep and tricep exercises. Most people just focus on their bicep as they want to show off their guns. But seriously, you need to train your tricep too for a fuller looking arm. 

One of the most effective workouts for building muscle in the arms is using a training technique called "Positions of Flexion". This basically means training your biceps and triceps through their full range of motion; starting with a compound mid-range exercise, then moving on to an exercise that works the muscles in the completely stretched position, and then finishing with an exercise that works the muscles in the fully contracted position.

This concept is certainly not new and Arnold Schwarzenegger previously used this style of training for his workouts. His arm development was stunning to say the least.

Give the below workout a try! I'm very pleased with the results!


1. Standing Barbell Curl

2. Incline Dumbbell Curl 

3. Seated Concentration Curl


1. Close Grip Barbell Bench Press

2. Overhead Barbell/Dumbbell Tricep Extension

3. Dumbbell Kick Back