7 Weeks Later

Post by Mark

Back in January I joined Core Fitness and the first thing they did was take my measurements so I can compare them 7 weeks later. Well it’s been 7 weeks and I finished my first course and here are the results:

  Before After
Weight 84.7kg 80kg
BMI 25 23.6
BMR 1946kcal 1881kcal
Fat 20% 17%
Fat Mass 16.9kg 13.6kg
Fat Free Mass 67.8kg 66.4kg
Total Body Water 49.6kg 48.6kg
     
Chest 99cm 101cm
Shoulder Girdle 55cm 57cm
Thighs 56cm 58cm
Arms 28.5cm 29.5cm
Hips 105cm 100cm
Waist 98cm 93.5cm

What do these numbers mean? Basically my weight has gone down from 84.7 to 80 and that includes gaining around 1.7kg of muscle. I’ve lost fat around my waist and hips (I actually had to add two new holes on my belts) and I’ve added muscle to my other areas like chest, shoulders, thighs and arms. My aim wasn’t to lose weight but gain muscle mass and right now I’m actually below my ideal weight. But, this is just the middle area because I’ve lost weight in fat and now will gain weight with muscle which is why most probably when I get measurements again in 7 weeks time I would either be the same weight or hopefully more.

The first week was very intense, I didn’t puke but I very nearly did, like just about to but didn’t. It was a killer and it scared the shit out of me but I kept going back and I now actually enjoy going to the gym. Even though its still exhausting, I no longer feel like I am going to die from a heart attack or puke. The lessons are as advertised, just 20 minutes long and I go 3 times a week. I’ve refused to do any work out or cardio during my off days since what attracted me to Core Fitness was the 20 minutes 3 times a week selling line. 20 minutes 3 times a week was all the time I had to give and wanted to give and I’ve stuck to my guns. My cardio hasn’t improved that much because of that since I was advised to run during my off days.

Every week I have a different trainer that takes me through the 20 minutes of workout. Whats cool about that is every trainer has their own style of training and exercises so once my body feels like it’s getting used to a routine, my trainers change and I’ve suddenly got to survive and get used to a new routine. After every 20 minute session I get a fully body stretch out by the trainer which is nearly as grueling as the 20 minute workout.

One of the cool things I like about Core is the SMS’s I get on the day of my workouts. They serve as a reminder on what time my course is but they also provide health tips as well like the following:

Hi Mark! Workout today at 8:20PM! FYI: Drink 1 glass of cold water 15min before a meal gives your metablism a 25% boost!

Hi Mark! Workout today at 8:00PM! FYI: Studies show that people who drink 3 servings per day of Green Tea lost more fat around their midsection

Hi Mark! Workout today at 8:00PM! FYI: Pizza? Choose Domino’s. 1 small order, thin slices, add anything, but ditch the ground beef and pepperoni

I was given a nutritional plan when I first started which you can see [Here]. It wasn’t too difficult to stick to since it mostly involved eating what I usually eat. The biggest change was the breakfast and dinner. Breakfast I used to have pancakes from McDonalds while dinner I used to have a lot of carbs (3 turkey & cheese sandwiches or bread with labneh for example). For breakfast I now have sausage & egg mcmuffin while for dinner I either pickup 2 chicken taouk + 2 meat tikka in a plate (no bread) from Kebabji near my house or I grill steak at home. I get my steak (fillet) from a butcher but recently I started getting ostrich steak from Sultan Center which I found out has the superior nutrient content of red meat while having less fat than a chicken breast. Too bad I can’t have it breaded and fried! Oh and another big change is the greens, I now eat a lot more vegetables and salads. I used to barely eat anything green before but now I want to eat them. For example when I go to Le Notre I usually order a fish or meat dish and their sides are usually rice or potato. I now have them swap them for steamed vegetables. It’s really weird but I think I do this because I want to get healthier and I am seeing my self get fitter.

I’m not perfect though and I do cheat but I like cheating. I look forward to cheating because it helps me stick to my diet. For example I passed by Chocolate Bar twice during this 7 weeks and overdosed on chocolate (enough to last me through the 7 weeks!) and once a week I pick up a Cadbury Flake or a Twix from the bakala. Oh and there was the Ferrero Rocher incident. The one thing though I am REALLY craving but can’t and shouldn’t have is the molten chocolate cake from Chili’s. It’s always on my mind but I’ve still managed to resist it!

So that’s basically it. I am going to sign up for another 7 weeks and I want to continue improving. I’m going to have Fahad post about Core Fitness to give you guys a better idea of what it involves since it’s his gym and he will be better able to explain it. I will definitely post my measurements again after 7 weeks and we’ll see how things changed.


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The Letters P, C and F: The Finale

Post by Fahad AlYehya

Posted by Fahad AlYehya | Core Fitness – Kuwait

Eating out isn’t necessarily a problem, but can be a fuss to those around me. I start by scanning the restaurant’s menu for a lean source of protein, followed by a good source of carbs and a great source of fat. Usually, I pick a great option, a good option and a decent option; the waiter that’s about to approach me is bound to shut me down with words like fried, breaded and sauteed, so might as well make due with other sources since I’m already at my 3 hour mark and my muscles are aching for some food.

Me: “I’ll have the Cajun Chicken Platter with no Monterey jack cheese, crisps, refried black beans and mashed potatoes.”

Waiter: “You mean you want the Cajun Chicken Platter with absolutely nothing on it?”

Me: “Yes, but I’m not done yet. Do you serve sweet potato?”

Waiter: “No sir, we only serve mashed potatoes.”

Me: “Do you mash it in with butter?”

Waiter: “I’m not sure sir.”

Me: “Would you ask someone that knows please.”

Accompanying Friend: “Dude, are you serious? No he’s not doing that.”

Me: “Ok, may I have a baked potato please.”

Waiter: “I’m sorry sir, we serve only mashed potatoes.”

Me: “Are they mashed before or after they arrived in the kitchen?”

Waiter: “After sir.”

Me: “Ok, so take one unmashed medium sized potato and bake or boil it.”

Waiter: “I’m sorry sir, we cannot do that.”

Annoying Fat Friend: “FHAID! Cut that crap out! I want to order!”

Me: “Ok Ok. I’ll have the Cajun Chicken Platter with nothing on it, and only broccoli on the side. Is the broccoli sauteed or steamed?”

Friend: “F*ck you.”

I am literally a waiter’s worst nightmare and I don’t care. I even question a restaurant’s supposedly healthier options, and after a thorough investigation (i.e. annoying the hell out of the restaurant’s staff) it doesn’t seem healthy at all. I persuade any health conscious individual to do the same.

The Awesome Subject at Hand

I was contacted by a 248am subscriber in order to help him out with a diet plan. His routine was simple and average, and could easily relate to anyone who decides to pursue the healthy lifestyle, so I used him as an example in order to explain the ins and outs of nutrition calculation and timing. Hopefully, I’ll be able to simplify things as much as possible.

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Bayan Dental & Me

Post by Mark

I’ve been visiting Bayan Dental for over 5 years now. I first found out about them from Zaydoun and ever since me and Nat have been getting all our dental work done there at their Salmiya branch. They were actually featured in my Miskan project back in 2005 as Day 303 which is where the picture above is from. Once every few months I pass by my dentist (Dr Samer Khaddour) for scaling because I know that the longer the gap between my visits the more I am going to suffer during my session so I try to keep the gaps small. My dentist and Nat always seem to team up on me since they find my fear amusing but I’m slowly slowly getting over it.

Anyway I recently got approached by Bayan Dental and got offered veneers for free if in return I could post and explain what veneers were on my blog and also about my experience getting them installed. I didn’t have a clue what veneers were but after a quick google followed by a detailed explanation from Bayan I found these two words the best way to explain them… Hollywood smile. Veneers give you the perfect smile and you get them installed in one hour without any pain or anesthesia and they last forever.

I asked them if my dentist could install them for me and since he specializes in restorative and aesthetic dentistry they told me it shouldn’t be a problem. Since then I’ve already had a couple of visits with my dentist getting a mould of my teeth done so I could see how my teeth currently look and how they will look once I am done. They will be sending me a bunch of pictures of difference cases before and after veneers so I could share them here with some proper information about veneers and how they work. For now I thought I would post this to keep everyone in the loop on whats going on. If you have any questions about veneers (and I guess anything dental related) you can post them below since someone from Bayan will be reading the comments and answering any questions you might have.

Since we’re on the subject of dentistry for those of you who have a fear from dentists you could post what concerns you have below and I could try to answer them from my experience like for example how much pain or discomfort a procedure might have or how long certain things take etc.. I haven’t done all the procedures but I think I’ve done most of the general ones. One thing I’ve learned from my experience is that if you have a dental issue now and you don’t take care of it, it will only get worse tomorrow and the fix becomes more complicated.

Update: If you’ve never been to Bayan Dental before, just mention my blog when you go in and you will get a 17% discount on non cosmetic procedures.


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Part 2: The Letters P, C and F – The Fatty Truth

Post by Fahad AlYehya

Posted by Fahad AlYehya | Core Fitness – Kuwait

It takes me 8 hours to write an article, 8 more hours to review it and 60 minutes to press publish; and I still make spelling and grammar mistakes. I shower 3-4 times a day, wash my face with the most expensive fascial cleansers out there and I still get mild acne. I see people train hard, diet hard and recover, but they still lack that muscular maturity. Females go through episodes of anorexia to look like that Cosmo model, yet they lose a lot of hair, the sparkle in their eyes diminish, their nails start to break off, their skin barely shines and their bones are as fragile as a piece of tissue.

The above are all side effects of a lifestyle low in fat. Has anyone seen those Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian and Palestinian documentaries about how their senior citizens live above the age of 90? How do they do it? They have more energy and vigor than Kuwait’s older generation; but how do they do it?

“Ebnakul zaitoon,” or “bin7ib zait el zaytoon kteer.” (English Translation: we eat olives or we love olive oil a lot). Those are literally the two answers available to explain how they managed to live that long.

Or approach a Japanese dude and ask him how they live so long and why heart disease isn’t such an epidemic: “We uuuh, rive very hearthy rong rife because uuuh we eat sushi and aaah hearthy fatty fish high in omega sree! And when Godzirra come again, uuuh we can fight!” (English Translation: I’m not really sure what he said, but it had something to do with karate and sushi).

Fat is a lot more important than any other macronutrient. I’m not saying that fat should be consumed alone; in conjunction with other macronutrients, fat can do wonders. Unfortunately, I learned it the hard way.

When I started weight-lifting, I did what the pros did: ate a diet high in carbs and proteins and low in fat. I wanted to be as big and as ripped as they were. And come on, it’s common sense! Why would I listen to some nerd who majored in medicine and not a freak with veiny arms? Long story short, I paid the price and should’ve listened to the pencil neck. I had terrible acne, my short-term memory was a joke, my hair barely grew to considerable volume, my immune system was a disaster, every joint in my body hurt like hell, I was tired all the time, my muscles looked like soft ballons that only looked decent when training and I suffered constantly from overtraining. Why? Because I went low-fat, thinking that low-fat would get me big and ripped.

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Part 1.5: The Letter P, C and F

Post by Fahad AlYehya

Post by Fahad AlYehya | Core Fitness – Kuwait

Gym Rat #1: “Dude, you need to eat carbs with that.”
Gym Rat #2: “Your mother needs to eat carbs with that.”
Gym Rat #1: “Bro, what the hell, you need carbs with that protein shake right after your workout.”
Gym Rat #2: “I think your mother’s calling, and guess what? She wants more carbs.”
Gym Rat #1: “Look I’m serious, carbs fuel the muscle building process. You need a decent amount for energy expenditure.”
Gym Rat #2: “Your mother’s an energy expenditure.”

Gym Rat #2 was me a few years back when I thought carbohydrates were evil. They lurked everywhere. That chicken breast from Subway? Carbs. That protein shake? 3g of carbs per serving. Diet Gatorade? Still has carbs, only less, but carbs nonetheless. Splenda, Sweet & Low, Equal? Ayyyup! Dem artificial sweeteners are bayyud mmmkay?

A roll of sushi used to bloat me like the Michelin Man and turn my day into a living hell. I low-carbed my approach and in return found it relatively hard to build muscle. I high-carbed my approach and gained a lot of fat in the process. Don’t forget, I once was fat. I may not look like it, but I do have excess skin that you cannot see, but yours truly can feel. Since I was known for my gargantuan love handles, my lower back carries a fair amount of excess skin (again, you may not notice, but I can feel it). Whenever I consume a lot of carbs, my body begins to fill up nicely with much needed cellular water (water in the muscle). However, since I also carry around excess skin, water retains there easily too, which makes me feel fat. Ukh, the pain, the agony, the suffering; I strive to perfection but those little details stop me faster and harder than a concrete wall idiotically placed on a 120km+ speedway.

Lucky for you, this nutritionist wasn’t born a quitter. I did what I do best, research and experiment, proving time and time again that SCIENCE IS KING.

My last protein-oriented post was (for some) too complex, long, sciency and had a lot of numbers; so I’ll be using a different approach this time around (not really, but please bare with me). If anyone wants more information, feel free to ask.

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Part I: The Letters P, F and C.

Post by Fahad AlYehya

I sat with a client a few days back in regards to his nutritional plan. He contacted me prior to the consultation for some advice for lean muscle building. Upon meeting him face to face, I immediately remembered seeing him around a few gyms. This guy stood 180cm, weighed 100kg of good muscle and was incredibly strong. He was genetically gifted of course, with his broad shoulders, tiny waist and large calf muscles (3 characteristics of great genetics). I thought to myself, why would he need my consultation? He definitely looked a lot better than me.

I assumed he would understand my nutrition/training lingo since he looked the part. When I said “protein”, he thought I meant protein powder. When I said “fat”, he got scared and looked at me in disgust. When I said “carbs”, he had no idea what that meant; so I said it in Arabic and still “no hablo nutrición.” He looked up, started thinking and said “Oh, you meant rice?”

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The moral of this story is that everyone needs to know their 3 macronutrients before implementation of any nutritional plan. Knowing what to eat and when to eat it is every dietitians secret; and I’m about to ruin it for every nutritional consultant out there and today I’ll be talking about:

Proteins
Weightlifters adore this macronutrient and old school dietitians hate on it like it was the devil. In layman’s terms, proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. The proteins that exist in our bodies are constantly being broken down through vigorous weight training, athletic and cardiovascular activities, walking around or merely dealing through stressful situations. In order to replace broken down proteins, a good amount of ingestion is needed so that the body can convert it into amino acids and distribute it around our bodies for repair.

Why do I promote proteins more than any other nutrient? Enzymes that are found in proteins are the catalysts of metabolism. It takes our bodies a lot of energy to break down protein, which in turn boosts our metabolism. When the metabolism is at its best, it’s more efficient in the digestion of other nutrients, including fats and carbohydrates.In order for our bodies to benefits from the above, we need to ingest “complete proteins”.

A complete protein contains all the amino acids, and only then can our bodies ingest it properly. Complete proteins (listed from best source to not-necessarily-worst):
1) Whey Protein (found in dairy products or protein powders)
2) Whole Eggs (egg whites are not complete, but complete when combined with yolks)
3) Lean Animal Proteins

The above doesn’t mean you need to ingest a huge amount of protein powder. I’m only trying to show what types of proteins that easily digest.

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An Overweight Introduction

Post by Fahad AlYehya

Back in 2001, I went on an amazing trip to Lebanon with the family that lasted 4 weeks. I remember going from one restaurant to the other, eating and splurging on mouthwatering Lebanese food. We ate lunch at a place in the mountains, then went down to Beirut where we were suggested to eat dessert at another; after that we looked for any café that served good fatty carby coffee. Our blood sugar levels would definitely drop after our marathon eating spree, so we translated that crash into “let’s go back to the apartment and rest; we didn’t get enough sleep.” We got more than 10 hours of sleep per night and we traveled in a mini-bus, so exhaustion was definitely not the problem. Whenever we went on long trips, we ate a lot of soft-serve ice cream in between huge meals; and for some reason there was a lot of soft-serve ice cream in Lebanon. Yes, we needed the energy to survive those agonizing trips that were spent seated in a mini-bus.

We went on for an entire month on that exact routine and it was amazing up until I got a welcome home message from my dad: “My God. You’re fat.” He said that when he first saw me arriving to Kuwait from the airport. I wanted to hug my dad after of a month of not seeing him, but all he could emphasize was my increase in size (particularly the lower area). It was bad and my dad annoyed me about it. I was already big to begin with since all I did before my trip to Lebanon was eat whatever was infront of me and spend 2-3 hours lifting the heaviest weights at the gym. I went from 100kg of fat and a bit of muscle to 130kg of fat and absolutely no muscle in a span of a month.

After my dad started emphasizing how fat I got (my love handles…my God), my family and friends noticed the difference and laughed it off. It literally took me a few seconds to do something about it. I had no knowledge of nutrition or training, so I just winged it and took my chances since I knew I could not get any lower than this (my God…the love handles). I ate 3 meals a day, consisting of Nestle Fitness Cereal and skimmed milk for breakfast, a chicken salad with a lot of ketchup for lunch, pineapple juice after a workout and a tuna salad with also a lot of ketchup for dinner. I did a minimum of 2 hours a day of cardio, abs and weight-lifting (in that order) 7 times a week and increased the time spent at the gym when results started to slow down. Obviously, I was a ketchup addict and used copious amounts of it; the training lasted forever too.

12 weeks and 60kg later, my weight went down to an all-time low of exactly 80kg. I stand 190cm, so 80kg is extremely skrawny for a guy my height. After that, I researched, experimented and practiced and lived happily ever after.

What differentiates me from other nutritionist/dietitians/gurus/doctors/professionals? The story above. I know how it feels to be fat and how to overcome that obstacle. I know how it feels to look at that molten chocolate from Chili’s and not the cute girl devouring it. I know how to psychologically deal with stress that might hinder my fitness goals. I also know when my bodies tells me that the current technique is no longer working. A health practitioner has to know all these things before preaching to clients. You can’t expect to take advice from an overweight professional who can’t seem to keep his life in order.

Middle English diete, from Old French, from Latin diaeta, way of living, diet, from Greek diaita, back-formation from diaitsthai, to live one’s life, middle voice of diaitn, to treat.

 

A dietitian provides you with a modified way of living based on your current lifestyle. Dietitians are supposed to:

1) Teach you how to psychologically deal with your life in order to eat, sleep, and exercise correctly.

2) Provide immediate solutions based on their own experiences and education in order to overcome a client’s obstacles and challenges.

3) Be in control of their lifestyles and know how to deal with stress, which clearly projects their presentable appearance.

4) Understand your body and how it reacts to certain factors, including stress, nutrient and exercise (this requires time).

5) Practice what they preach.

If your current dietitian does not have any of these characteristics then I’d suggest you take the time to look for another. The same rule applies to a trainer. You wouldn’t want to hire a person who doesn’t look the part. Moreover, look for a trainer that was born with bad genetics and excelled into something presentable. The genetically gifted ones have it easy since their bodies are prone to muscle growth and fat-loss no matter what they do.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the best genetics at all; I had to work hard for what I achieved. I started out with a plan and a journal, and throughout the years I soon realized that I can’t force my body into a fixed routine. I had to use an instinctive approach and listen to my body; my workouts are literally planned once I set foot in the gym.

The point is, this whole process doesn’t take a few days or months; it takes years to understand. Once you think you’ve got it all together, some study comes out that falsifies the entire method, which makes it even more frustrating, confusing and agonizing. Then you try as hard as you can to muster up the patience to dig into more knowledge, causing more perplexity than an episode of Lost. Pat yourself on the back, because this is when you successfully know too much. 

That was a brief introduction of myself and what you can expect in terms of knowledge and credibility.

Posted by Fahad AlYehya
Core Fitness – Kuwait

Picture by tachikoma


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Healthier Lifestyle

Post by Mark

Last year after I found out I had an acid reflux problem I decided I wanted to post healthier lifestyle related posts on my blog. Since then I’ve done it maybe three times and the posts weren’t that great. Recently though when I posted about my new diet plan and gym membership with Core Fitness, both posts hit nearly 100 comments. Most of that had to do with the fact the owner of the gym was interacting with many of you, answering your questions.

Since it seems many of you are interested in a better and healthier lifestyle, I decided to invite Fahad the owner as a guest blogger here. He will be posting about healthier lifestyle related posts and he should be able to answer most of your questions. I’ve also created a new blog category called Healthier Lifestyle in which all these healthy lifestyle posts will be archived. His first post is located below and expect more to come.

Note: Also check the new blog I added to my blog list recently called Eat Like Mira which is also health related [Link]


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Setting the Record Straight

Post by Fahad AlYehya

A lot of doctors, nutritionists, specialists, professionals and gurus preach to people on what’s right and what’s wrong. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has their own methods of approach. My approach is to guide as much people as I possibly can to a healthier lifestyle.

The transition into this lifestyle will not be easy, but with practice comes perfection; and perfection in this specific case might take years. I have researched, practiced, experimented (on myself) and experienced all the methods that I will be providing this blog. Whatever I will be providing has taken me 7 years to accomplish. However, the more I know, the more complicated it gets, which is where you differentiate the men from the boys.

My posts will start from scratch in order to welcome all beginners into a healthier lifestyle. Blogs will provide anything and everything that has to do with the world of health and fitness. I’ll also be reviewing restaurants whilst giving recommendations on what to eat and what to avoid. Moreover, I’ll be reviewing nutritional supplements.

Lastly, free free to to ask questions in regards to health and fitness, which will be answered at a separate Q&A post.

Here is to a healthier lifestyle and a new beginning.

Posted by Fahad AlYehya
Core Fitness – Kuwait


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