Blog Posts by Coach Jon

  • Three health apps for your smartphone

    One of our clients is an engineer who measures electromagnetic waves for a living. He says that Singapore has a very high "dose" of this form of radiation since we have wi-fi, 3g and radio waves just about everywhere.

    While its probably bad to hang around areas with high levels of electromagnetic waves, one of the good things about this is that we have a high penetration of smart phone usage. So lets make use of the apps that come with them to improve our health.

    Here are three of my favorites:

    1. Myfitnesspal

    This is a free meal tracking software (the exercise tracking part isn't as good). While "calorie counting" isn't the first thing we teach most clients at Genesis Gym - good food choices are far more important for most people - you can't eat excessive amounts and expect to stay healthy and lean.

    The good thing about this app is that it is web based so you can track your food on your PC/smartphone/tablet etc. It's also free, and it has a large database of foods, including quite a

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  • Health books for the non-nerd

    I am a nerd. In fact I just finished my exam in Functional Medicine which took more two hundred hours to study for. I love learning because it is fun and allows our Genesis Gym team to help people more effectively. Also, this is my profession!

    How about other people who want to take responsibility for their health, but may not have that kind of time to spend reading. What books would be entertaining, as well as informative?

    Here are three that would be able to help almost anyone learn more about their bodies in a way that is engaging as well as informative.

    Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

    zebrasThis is one of my favorite books that deals with one of Singapore's biggest problems. Stress. It is written by Dr Robert Sapolsky. A brilliant guy with a PhD who is a lecturer at Stanford. He is also an entertaining writer. And his studies are not boring lab work. They are done by studying the behaviour of baboons in the wild.

    Baboons are smart and don't need to spend 10 hours a day finding food. They

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  • Break from society’s norms to get healthy

    If you have decided to change but the people around you are not "with the program," the author says to flip the questions around and get your friends to justify the "why nots". (Yahoo! file photo)
    From my informal interactions with acquaintances, extended family members and friends, the topic of health seems to come up pretty often (and NOT started by me!).

    Rightfully so. According to the Ministry of health, we have reason to be concerned. 8 out of the top 10 causes of death, as well as 3 out of 4 of the most common problems in polyclinics in Singapore are very much in our own control.

    Only pneumonia, and "accidents, poisoning and violence" are probably stuff that we don't have great deal of control over.

    But in reality, high levels of health and productivity are very much influenced by cultural norms, and the people around us. And the average person is getting less healthy all the time both due to age and the environment.

    But "average" is not normal. Normal is being energetic (I'm writing this at 6am after a good sleep), lean and strong.

    It's time to change. If you have decided to change but the people around you are not "with the program" here are some things to tell them...

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  • Calorie counting and why it works (sometimes)

    Does calorie counting work? (Getty Images)

    The "advice" given to overweight people by most health care providers is to eat less, count your calories and eat below your maintenance requirements.

    This method has many flaws, including difficult adherence, lowered metabolism, loss of lean muscle, and possible nutritional deficiencies if you care more about cutting calories than you do about eating enough nutritious food.

    Most glaring of all is that it doesn't work for many people. Despite the restrictive lifestyle they put themselves on, they don't seem to get much resultThis is backed up by research* showing that the effectiveness of a diet plan was VERY dependent on the current state of the individual person.

    The main difference in question was what is known as insulin resistance.

    Simply put, a person who is insulin resistant tends to put any nutrients eaten into their fat stores  i.e. they get fatter. A person who is insulin sensitive (the opposite of resistant) tends to put their nutrients into muscles and organs for use

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  • Why you can’t ‘burn off’ a bad meal

    The method of guilt-based exercise doesn't work to burn off calories eaten. (Getty Images)

    One of the common misconceptions of new clients at Genesis Gym is that they can "burn off" a bad meal by doing some exercise after.

    This is an idea driven by the negative emotion of guilt.

    In this article I will explain why this method of guilt-based exercise doesn't work, and how to plan a "less healthy" meal into your week.

    First let's take what I call the "pizza" example.

    Let's say you go to a party the night before and overdo the pizza eating. According to Domino's website, half a regular peperoni pizza (4 slices) is 1160 calories.

    This has: 135g carbohydrates and 51g fat.

    Then guilt kicks in and you decide to go for a jog. "That will burn it off" you think. So you take a 100 minute jog which is way more than normal, but the thought of that pizza sticking on your love handles helps you push through the sore knees to finish the jog.

    "Phew, I got rid of those 1160 calories!" you might think.

    Not so fast.

    Here is why this method will not work

    1. Food is not just calories, food is

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  • 5 tips to boost testosterone

    How can Singaporean men build up their testosterone levels? (Getty Images)

    It was recently reported that Singapore men have falling testosterone levels. This problem is nothing new, and I suspect it will only get worse because our lifestyle and environment encourage low testosterone levels.

    Even the "normal" ranges shown by laboratory tests are, in my opinion, too low for optimal health. Many of these standards in different countries have been lowered to adjust to the new average amounts in people today. Lowered averages doesn't mean that lowered results are normal!

    More on this topic can be found in an excellent book on testosterone by Nelson Vergel called "Testosterone: A Man's Guide".

    In my experience, unless you are a very focused healthy lifestyle person, or on anabolic steroids, your current levels are probably too low! Here are 5 things you can do to improve them naturally. While it's not an exhaustive list, these are simple lifestyle changes that can make a difference.

    1. Stop being a fatty!

    Fat is not simply a place where you store excess food that

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  • 3 little known habits that can help prevent acne

    I am certainly not a "beautician" and know next to nothing about the latest fashion trends. However I do know that good skin is always attractive, and is always in fashion.

    One of the pleasant "side effects" of good health is good skin. The skin is a reflection of what is going on inside. So fix it from the inside.

    Most creams and lotions only work on symptoms and don't hit the root causes of acne. Either you adapt to them and keep needing more and more, or they dry out your skin and make it less smooth. Or both!

    Anti-biotics are another common "solution" but they damage the good bacteria as well, causing side effects like poor digestion. So we can't take these for a long period either.

    While every case is different, and acne has many possible causes, good habits will help you increase your chance of clearing up your skin.

    In fact, many of our clients report improved skin conditions within a few weeks of starting these health building habits. So here are 3 things that build health and

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