My blueprint for 2013

I’m not a huge believer in strict, regimented new year resolutions and rarely make them myself. However, 2013 is going to be a big year for me so I took my 10 day break to have a think about the direction I’d like to go in this year, and some habits I’d like to continue and form… not just in 2013, but for life.

Below is a list of things I’d like to achieve, ideas I want to develop and thoughts on how I want the year to pan out.

The only one that I absolutely will make sure I do is the last one:

Get a new apartment where i’m happy and comfortable by march 1 (have already done this one!)

Purchase an awesome bed, sheets and pillows. This is important, seeing as I spend a 3rd of my life there.

Get 7 hours quality sleep each day, preferably 8+

Update at least once every 2 weeks

Continually improve flexibility and mobility

Sit down as little as possible

Move around as much as possible

Do yoga at least once a week

Eat natural real food as often as possible. Keep processed food and sugar to a minimum.

When I eat badly, make sure it tastes damn good

Improve my Thai language

Get out of Bangkok into natural and beautiful surroundings once a month

Spend lots of time in the sun

Spend less time on social networks and more time actually socializing

Call people more (rather than message)

Surround myself with positive, interesting and inspiring people

Be a positive, interesting and inspiring person

Run 100m in sub-12.5

Run 400m in sub 1 minute

Run 5000m in sub 20 minutes

Do all 3 of the above at the same time; don’t achieve one at the expense of another

Try new things

Do a muscle up

Continue to make The LAB a success and a great place to be and train

Stay as close to 80kg as possible and within 10-15% body fat – my optimum composition and weight for peak performance

Only drink water to rehydrate (with maybe some lime)

Limit coffee to 2 cups a day (down to one ideally)

Only drink alcohol to the point of having fun and being able to fully function the next day

Practice intermittent fasting

Do things, don’t talk about doing them

Read through this list once a week

8 things I took from the 2012 Asia Fitness Convention

The Lab Team with the king of kettlebells, Steve Cotter

Last week the Asia Fitness Convention came to the Dusit Thani Hotel in Pattaya. I attended a few sessions at last year’s convention in Bangkok but this was my first full conference.

The event was a great opportunity to refresh knowledge, get some new ideas and pick up some inspiration to push forward.

What I enjoyed most about the conference was meeting people all over the region (and the world!) involved in the fitness industry. I met fitness professionals based in Hong Kong, Korea, Phnom Penh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India and the States, to name a few, and I’ve already planned a few trips for the next few months.

Below are the top 8 things that I learnt or was reminded of at the AFC 2012.

In no particular order…

Kettlebells! I’ve been kettlebell training for 2 years but it was great to get a refresher on kettlebell technique from the man at the top of the sport, Steve Cotter. The guidance and instruction was invaluable and it truly was a unique opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

Calories I attended some great sessions with Fabio Comana, head of NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). His nutrition seminar taught us that tables showing how many calories we use each day (based on our perceived activity levels) are decades old and are therefore very outdated. As a western population we move around far less that we used to and this needs to be taken into account. In short, these quantitative tables, and related apps and online calculators, are often rendered confusing and misleading, and we should focus more on the process towards healthy living. If we do this, the results will come.

Weight training is fine for 7 years+ I have always subscribed to the idea that weight training for young people is healthy and productive. After all, since the dawn of time children would have been required to move and lift heavy items. It was good to hear my views reaffirmed by Fabio and to hear the NASM recommendation that resistance exercise is good for children 7 years and above. I’m not suggesting we have kids doing 1 rep max power cleans, I mean lifting and shifting weight safely with good and proper technique. A lot of parents believe it will stunt their growth, including some parents of children I instruct at some of my international school strength and conditioning programs. This is totally misguided.

Body fat % testing machines are largely useless I’ve always thought this and seldom use these handheld machines. People seem to like gadgets that provide numbers on progress though so they’ll be around for a while.

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and is based around the idea that someone who is generally more active throughout the day but works out 1-2 times a week can get better health, fitness and  weight loss results than the person hunched over the computer who trains hard 3-4 times a week. This seminar on calorie expenditure and weight loss provided a lot of information to help my weight loss clients.

IKFF are serious about their qualifications With many fitness courses you simply turn up for the day and pick up your certificate. That’s not to say they don’t hold value, but most are simply attendance based rather than pass/fail. It was refreshing to see that the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation have a very stringent test and evaluation, which only 3 people out of 20 passed, including two of my colleagues at The Lab (well done Rich and Sasha, only the best at The Lab!) This means that to hold this certification really means something significant and special.

There’s a difference between training hard and training well Training someone ‘hard’  is easy, you simply increase the work time, weight or reps and decrease rest time until they’re exhausted. However, training athlete’s effectively and efficiently is somewhat different. Progressions should be earned, not given. The metabolic conditioning seminar provided a good reminder on programming, recover time and training with your goal in mind.

And the last thing I took from the AFC 2012?

A pink BOSU! Confirming the long-held theory that alcohol and charity auctions don’t mix, me and my colleague and friend Sasha put in a last-second winning bid for a bright pink BOSU stability ball… Haha!

Our new pink BOSU

Top 5 Healthy Restaurants and Eateries in Bangkok

I’ve been chatting with Chawadee this week about restaurants and eateries in Bangkok that serve up quality, tasty and healthy food. Chawadee writes an awesome food blog called Bangkok Glutton and what she doesn’t know about street food in Bangkok isn’t worth knowing. Her book, Bangkok Street Food Top 50, is available through Amazon or at Asia Books.

As Chawadee quite rightly pointed out to me, ‘healthy’ food means different things to different people. She defines it as “a lot (if not all) vegetables and cooking techniques that aren’t all about the deep fryer”.

Mahachai Road street food and market – home to numerous culinary delights

So basically natural ingredients that aren’t drowning in oil and fat – sounds good to me!

So onto her recommendations for healthy eating in central Bangkok, in no particular order. I haven’t been to these places yet but will make sure I do in the coming months!

All these restaurants can be found on our Bangkok Fitness Map

Anothai Tel: 02-6415366

An organic restaurant that’s hidden away near Rama 4. Chawadee says it’s one of the best in Bangkok, so worth checking out. This review gives good directions and some more information.

Sustaina 2/F, 1/40 Sukhumvit Soi 39, Bangkok, Thailand, BTS Phrom Phong

Another top-notch organic grocer and restaurant that offers a lot of Japanese and international dishes.

Sustaina website

Rasayana Sukhumvit soi 39 and Emporium

Organic raw food specialists Rasayana offer treatments and detoxes, as well as a restaurant. They are based in Sukhumvit soi 39 and have a recently opened branch in Emporium as well. Chawadee tells me she “quite enjoys” the food here, so perhaps what they gain in raw health they sacrifice a little in taste? I’ll go and find out soon.

Jay Fai Street food stall on Mahachai Road

Nice to get a street food stall in this list. I’m reliably told their pla luak is great boiled fish poached in a broth and served with steamed veggies. When many people think Thai cuisine, they think tom yum, and their delicious spicy lemongrass soup with seafood is one of the best in the city. Both dishes use a mix of herbs that Thais consider very healthy. Yum!

Lemon Farm Sukhumvit soi 39 with 4 other branches in Bangkok

The last one on our list is more of a takeaway spot than restaurant, so we’ve pretty much got all culinary angles covered in this top 5! They have 5 branches throughout Bangkok, creating dishes with all natural, organic ingredients. Chawadee tells me their nam prik jai (vegetarian chilli dip) is outrageous.

Lemon Farm website.

So there we have our top 5 healthy eateries in Bangkok. Exploring Bangkok’s huge array of restaurants and food stalls is one of the great ways to get the most out of this awesome city, so give yourself a guilt-free treat at one of these places.

Thanks again Chawadee from for the recommendations… All this writing about food has made me hungry, so I’m off to eat!