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Weight Loss Program

Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary causes like diet or exercise, or involuntary conditions such as illness.

The most common result of weight loss is loss of body fat, but protein and other substances in the body can be depleted in extreme or severe situations of weight loss.

For a successful weight loss plan, it is recommended that you:
* have reasonable expectations. Avoid the equivalents of ‘get rich quick’ schemes
* follow a diet that fits your preferences
* maintain your favourite foods but check on the calories
* focus on changing your eating and activity patterns
* track your weight
* track your diet
* put in place accountability and support measures, in consultation with your trainer, over the long term

There is no perfect diet plan; you need to find one that fits best with your lifestyle.

It should also be one that will encourage you to keep going even after small slip-ups.

Keeping to these seven recommendations can help you look past all the marketing claims and find a program that will most likely help you to meet your long-term weight loss goals.

Muscle Building and Toning

Muscle hypertrophy occurs when the fibers of the muscles sustain damage or injury.

The body repairs fibers by fusing them, a process which increases the mass and size of the muscle.

Certain hormones, including testosterone, human growth hormone and insulin growth factor, also play a part in muscle growth and repair.

To help you build muscle mass, you should eat:
• A whole breakfast
• Every three hours in moderate portions, according to your calorie intake per day
• Protein with each meal
• Fruits and vegetable with each meal
• Carbohydrates only after your workout
• Healthy, unsaturated fats eg. avocado
• Whole foods that are unprocessed and unrefined plant foods, 90% of the time

Postnatal Fitness

Why are post-pregnancy exercises good for you?

During the postpartum period, fitness exercises can potentially strengthen and tone abdominal muscles that were stretched during pregnancy.

These exercises can also boost your energy, promote better sleep and relieve stress.

It is important to find a personal trainer who has the patience and understanding to listen to various issues that you may face, and help you, not only to be at your best, but to also feel the same way.

Your nutrition plan, post-exercise routine and even the cool down part of your workout, will be vital components of a good program.

So are other exercises to improve memory, with proper assessment of your current energy level and the amount of rest required.

Elderly Fitness and Well-being

As an elderly adult looking to establish an exercise routine, you should, ideally, be able to incorporate 150 minutes of moderate endurance activities into your weekly exercise routine.

These can include walking, swimming and cycling, while you can also spend some time everyday to improve strength, flexibility, joint health and balance.

For your six-minute strength training routine, here are some recommended exercises for people who are just getting started:

1. Lying abdominal contractions - to increase strength in the abdominal muscles
• Take a deep breath and tighten your abdominal muscles
• Hold for three breaths and then release the contractions
• Repeat ten times

2. Wall push-ups – to increase strength in the chest and shoulders
• Stand about three feet away from a wall, with your feet shoulder-width apart
• Lean forward and place your hands flat on the wall, in line with your shoulders. Your body should be straight in plank position, with your spine straight, not sagging or arched.
• Lower your body toward the wall and then push back
• Repeat ten times

3. Pelvic tilts – to strengthen and stretch muscles in the lower back
• Take a deep breath, tighten your buttocks and tilt your hips slightly forward
• Hold for a three-count
• Now tilt your hips back, and hold for three seconds
• Repeat eight to 12 times

4. Shoulder blade squeeze – to strengthen postural muscles and stretch the chest
• Sit up straight in your seat, rest your hands on your lap, and squeeze your shoulder blades towards one shoulder
• Focus on keeping your shoulders down, not hunched up towards your ears, and hold for three seconds
• Release and repeat for eight to 12 times

5. Toe taps – to strengthen the lower legs
• Sit in a chair and keep your heels on the floor, lift your toes high enough that you can feel the muscles along your shin working (this helps to improve blood circulation in the legs and also strengthens the lower leg)
• Repeat 20 times

6. Shoulder and upper back stretch – to stretch the shoulders and back
• Bend your right arm, raising it so your elbow is chest level and your right fist is near your left shoulder
• Place your left hand on your right elbow and gently pull your right arm across your chest
• Hold for 20 to 30 seconds
• Repeat with the other arm

Preparing for Competitions

Take your bodybuilding or fitness training seriously by hiring a knowledgeable personal trainer.

Understanding the science behind it is key to your success.

There are three levels of competitions – bikini, fitness and physique.

Besides training, you will need advice on nutrition and posing.

Women nowadays are not just working out and lifting weights, but working hard to get ripped bodies and taking part in competitions alongside with men.

Preparing for competitions requires a lot of planning, hard work, commitment and discipline.

Strength and cardio training, dietary strategy and proper hydration are among some of the requirements for good preparation.

One-stop Online Center for Fitness


With emphasis on contactless exercise, a new normal has emerged in online fitness training. The Artisans Haven opens its virtual doors to its first one-stop fitness center that will focus on exercise, diet and nutrition. To be run by American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified coach Harizon Ramli, this center will pool the expertise of four certified trainers online to assist clients.

“Our top three services will feature online exercises for fitness, videos to demonstrate the different types of training and  individual nutrition plans,’’ said Harizon. Training programs include those for weight loss, hypertrophy for muscle gain and toning, post natal and the elderly.

Among the popular programmes are those for weight loss and hypertrophy; elderly clients also seek exercises for strength training and muscle building.

Before starting the exercise programme, clients will be assessed online where handouts on various exercises will be given to them. They may be asked to do, among others, push-ups where the instructor will assess their strength, and exercises for flexibility.

The instructor will also conduct weekly check-ins on clients; in the case of weight loss programs, clients will update him on their weight and latest photographs.

Clients training online may need to invest in some gym equipment such as those for weight loss or high intensity interval training, a form of cardiovascular exercise alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.

In the case of body builders, they need to be physically on-site at the gym, while the instructor conducts contactless training online.

Harizon has trained Japanese businessman, Ryo Kawai, for the World Fitness Federation (WFF) Grand Prix Asia 2018, where he won first runner-up in the men’s fitness model (short class) and second runner-up in the men’s fitness model (overall).

“With the pandemic, online fitness training has gained a renewed focus; many see that exercise can help them to manage stress and improve their health,’’ said Harizon.

Exercise releases endorphins, often called ‘feel good chemicals’ that can help to relieve stress and act as a ‘happiness booster.’

With the new norm in staying and working from home, it is important to get some physical exercise, which also helps to drive down obesity rates.

With less physical movement, some of the Movement Control Order (MCO)-related diets can also contribute to weight gain.

The National Health and Morbidity survey last year showed that 50.1% of adults in Malaysia are either overweight or obese.

Besides these benefits, online training, which is available 24 hours, saves travelling time and is more cost effective.

Harizon, who started out as a front desk consultant at Fitness First in 2008, had also taken up a personal training (PT) foundation course.

His certifications come with physical and written examinations, with a focus on providing training on a personalized basis.

Having taken part in several men’s physique competitions, his most memorable was the WFF Asia Pacific Pro/Am 2017, where he represented Asia and came out third in the men’s physique (tall class) category.

As an athlete director of the WFF, Harizon is also a judge for competitions where he focuses on aspects such as posing aesthetics, physique proportion, muscle balance and effort put up for stage presentation.

The last criteria, comparison of physique, requires careful evaluation as competitors are already within the top five, and come with their distinctive features.

Harizon has learned discipline and good time management from his stints at the Royal Malaysian Navy and in aircraft engineering where he has a Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering, as well as his 12 years in PT.

His biggest challenge, to date, is this prolonged Conditional MCO period during which he has opened a grocery business called Ayam Tanseri in Wangsa Maju, selling fresh food and provisions.

While sales at the grocery are encouraging, he still conducts virtual training as well as PT at clients’ homes or private gyms.

“PT is a lifestyle for all times; as I guide and take care of my clients’ health and well-being, I will build on the trust and rapport that I have gained, in a proper and professional manner,’’ said Harizon.

With the future before him, Harizon is determined to build up his businesses so that his clients and his young family can all thrive.


By Yap Leng Kuen, Chief Storyteller, The Artisans Haven.

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