Men’s Health Thailand November 2015 Ask The Trainer

Here is a translation for my monthly column in Men’s Health Thailand.

11012063_10153042306887142_3281844784604478776_oI have heard many people are trying the Paleo Diet. What is it and will it help me to get in good shape?
The idea behind the Paleo Diet is that you only eat foods that occur naturally, and that you could have eaten 10,000 or more years ago. This means eating organic meat, wild-caught fish, fresh vegetables (organic if possible) and fruits in season and nuts. Cooking oils should derive from natural unprocessed sources such as coconut oil or avocado oil. Grains like bread, rice and pasta and dairy like milk and cheese are not permitted in this way of eating as the idea is that we haven’t fully adapted to these foods and so our bodies often do not respond very well to them.
I first heard of the Paleo Diet, or ‘caveman diet‘ as it was called then, about 10 years ago and it’s been gaining in popularity ever since. Unlike many dietary trends, the paleo diet isn’t going to die anytime soon as many people have adopted the diet as their full time, permanent way of eating, rather than a method for losing weight quickly. There are even food delivery services now that only send food that complies with the ‘paleo‘ way of eating.
paleoI personally am a big advocate of the Paleo Diet and it works fantastically well for me and many of my clients. Like many people, my body responds better to a lower carbohydrate diet which this approach naturally promotes. You can still get carbohydrates from sweet potatoes and fruits, but there is strictly no added sugar. Whatever your body type, you will certainly gain many benefits from eliminating processed food and sugar and consuming more natural foods full of nutrients. It also naturally provides high protein and lots of healthy fats which helps to keep you satiated and feeling full, and helps you maintain and build muscle.
Some people get obsessive over this way of eating, and desperately avoid eating anything not considered ‘paleo‘. I aim to eat paleo about 80% of the time but I do add in some dairy such as greek yoghurt and milk. The truth is, we can’t be sure of exactly what we ate 10,000 years ago and our eating habits and lifestyles have undoubtably changed a lot since then. However, as a guideline way of eating for optimal health, low body fat and maintaining and building muscle, you can’t go far wrong with this diet.
I’m Jack Thomas, Founder of BASE. More information on our approach to nutrition.

Product Review: Adidas miCoach SMART RUN Watch

The  miCoach SMART RUN is Adidas’s first attempt at entering the fitness watch market. In the last few years offerings such as the Nike Fuelband, Jawbone UP and various pieces from Garmin, Polar and TomTom have helped fuel a huge increase in demand and interest in exercise enhancing devices and products.

Personally I have never used any exercise gadgets so trialing this watch was a new experience for me and I had little to compare it to. However, many of my clients use these types of watches and they clearly helps people get motivated to move more, run more or simply hit the target number that they’ve been given, whether that’s steps, calories or miles. Ultimately, if anything helps get you in the fitness groove then that’s a positive.

Appearance and functionality

adidas micoach watchThe miCoach looks pretty slick with a 1.45 inch touchscreen and weighs in at a fairly bulky 80.5g. However, it’s doesn’t get in the way of anything and it feels like it could survive a knock or two. I’ve had problems in the past with watches slipping or being uncomfortable but it has a double buckle system that gives it a secure, stable feel on the wrist when running, moving or for daily use.

The interface is a simple touchscreen and a single button underneath. This gives it a fresh minimalist look and moving around the options and screens is quick and effortless with swipes and taps.

The battery life is not as long as some other watches and that can cause issues if you’re using a lot of features or doing a long run. Think of it like your phone – if you use it regularly expect to charge it daily.

Features and performance

The initial procedure to set up the watch is somewhat long-winded but once this hurdle is cleared there are numerous neat features that make the process worth it, and start to justify the price tag.

Uniquely, the watch can take your pulse from your wrist without the need for a chest strap using a laser in the back. Clever, huh? I wasn’t aware this was possible and the ability to monitor heart rate easily and without the need for a strap appealed to me. The colour coded metrics also made it easy to monitor at a glance.

The GPS sometimes took a minute or two to pick up which left me feeling a little impatient at first, but if you set it up once you start warming up this can be avoided. Once running, I took a route that I knew well and the distance was very accurate. Being a stickler for detail this was reassuring. I mostly run short distances up to 5k at max pace, so if it’s a few hundred metres out I don’t want to know.

adidas micoach interface

The various watch swipe and tap interfaces

The Bluetooth connection, once set up, is pretty sweet with feedback given on your run stats, pace, distance and plays music held on the 3GB worth of memory space.

As well as your watch talking to you while you run, you can also set up workouts on the watch which prompt you to do exercises and circuits. As a trainer and someone who is self-motivated, this feature is not really useful or motivating for me but these may be great features for some.

Summary

For 14,990 THB I expect a lot. The numerous features may make that worth it – GPS, music player and heart rate monitor being the big 3 for me. If the other features get you excited, you can charge it regularly and you like the futuristic look and feel, this could be the one for you.

From what I’ve seen of the other fitness watches and wristbands available I think some of watches from the more experienced players like Garmin and Nike would suit me more, or maybe something more minimalist like the Jawbone UP or Vivofit – so being the fussy little thing that I am, I’ll trial a few more and find the one that suits me best.

The Adidas miCoach watch and ranges from Garmin, Nike and Jawbone are all available at Ari Running Concept Store at CentralWorld in Bangkok.

Specs
Price: 14,990
Weight: 80.5g
Screen: 184×184 pixels,
Battery life: ’14 days’ of no feature usage. 1 day of full usage
Charger: USB docking station


BASE is proud to have partnered with adidas. We provide accessories and exclusive adidas x BASE apparel.

Men’s Health ‘Ask The Trainer’ Fitness Q&A Column

MH OctoberAn English translation for my monthly column in Men’s Health Thailand.

I sit in an office chair all day and it leaves my body aching and feeling tired. Can you suggest some ways to deal with this?

Our bodies were not designed to be sitting down for long periods of time. Unfortunately, today’s modern lifestyle means we are sitting down more than ever and this is causing common cases of what’s often referred to as Office Desk Syndrome. The first remedy I would suggest is to make movement more a part of your routine, every day. Try walking to work or getting off at an earlier station and taking the stairs instead of the lift – always take the more physical option if you can. Try and incorporate swimming, playing sports or walking in the park to wind down after work. This increased movement will loosen your joints and muscles and help to relax you. Secondly, make it a habit to stand up as often as possible, at least every hour, and work your joints through large ranges of motion, such as your hips, shoulder, neck, knees etc. Complete your new movement routine with dynamic and static stretching as often as possible, with perhaps some weekly yoga or massage to relax your mind and body. These steps will all help to relieve the stress, pain and tension in your body.
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BASE Group Class Training packages are a great way to meet people and get active in Bangkok.