Introduction to Sport Nutrition

Introduction to Sport Nutrition

Sport nutrition, as its name suggests, is the nutrition required for athletes to enhance their sports performance. Anything can affect an athlete’s performance, and there are a few major factors – Timing of major competitions, diet, and genetics. Genetics will not be touched on here as it is beyond our control.
An athlete’s diet is different from the typical recommendations:

1. Higher calories (most sports)

    • Daily energy intake of athletes is substantially elevated from sedentary individuals as they need sufficient energy to allow them to optimize their performance during training and recover quickly.
    • However, the energy intakes of athletes are dependent on their body size and training/performance requirements. For example, an athlete in figure skating will consume significantly less calories than a rugby player.
    • Energy intake can fall short of energy expenditure in athletes competing in sports with aesthetic or weight-class considerations (i.e. Judo or bodybuilding), so it is important to monitor their caloric intake.

2. Focuses more on different macronutrients

    • Protein intake more than carbs & fats for faster recovery

3. Timing of intake

    • High fibre intake before/during prolonged endurance exercise may reduce gastric emptying, increase gastrointestinal problems and impair performance.
    • Sodium requirement increases substantially especially competing in hot conditions
    • Ingestion of sugar during exercise/recovery from exercise benefits athlete.

So… what kinds of macronutrients should athlete intake and the timing to optimize their performance? We will talk more about the benefits and timing of each macronutrient in the subsequent posts. Stay tuned!

Grace Yong
Force 21 Academy

Is squatting Ass to Grass (ATG) the most effective way in targeting the muscle group required?

Is squatting Ass to Grass (ATG) the most effective way in targeting the muscle group required?

Squatting, a compound exercise that is often seen in the gym these day are widely encouraged by the gym patriot to squat as low as possible (as though they are achieving the Ass to Grass Motion). Being considered as one of the activities for daily living, having the ability to squat is paramount for everyone regardless of age or gender.

Imagine you are in a gym setting, in-front of you are several squat racks being used for barbell squat exercise. As you were glancing through each user’s form, you realised that not everyone is achieving the “Ass to Grass Motion”

Squatting in a layman term actually means having yourself to sit on an invisible chair. This motion is very similar to squatting. During its concentric phase (concentric muscle contraction involves movement which cause tension on the muscle as it shortens) as known as lowering phase, they are “sitting” on the invisible chair. On the other hand, the eccentric phase (muscle are lengthened in the process of contraction). This is where they are rising up back to the starting squat stance / position (as though you are standing from an invisible chair).

There are a lot of factors causing one to have less depth when squatting:

  1. Inadequate ankle dorsiflexion mobility
  2. Tightness around the ankle joint area
  3. Torso to Femur and Femur to Tibia ratios
  4. Shorter torsos and longer femur
  5. A longer Tibia and a short femur
  6. Smaller stance

Although having in ability to complete a squat is depressing, every issues comes with a solution. In order to counter these “flaws”. There are some creations like the lifting shoe, which consist of a raised heel made out of non-compressible material. It allows you to actually get into a lower position as it increases the ankle range of motion. Additionally, with the upward trends of using resistance bands, stretching can be a good aid to achieve one’s mobility issues.

Alternatively, different kind of squat which can achieve similar muscle target area like Goblet Squat or Hex Squat are good beginner exercises for people who have little range of motions. These exercises help to ensure forms are executed well to prevent injury when more loads added.

The main focus of this article “Is squatting Ass to Grass (ATG) the most effective way in targeting the muscle group required” I would say it varies for one another. Their mobility as well as other components which cause limited range of motion squat actually fine. There are a lot of research done in regards to ATG squats vs Parallel squats. According to them, there are no correct form/stance as everyone are born differently. It is individualised as the “gold standard” we learnt are only a reference point for guidance.

In conclusion, ATG squat will only be benefit for those who have good range of motion. For those can only achieve parallel squat should not be despaired for ATG as there are abundant exercises out there which can achieve similar results. After all, squatting is not that tough if good forms are executed the muscles will still grow and we will get stronger as days goes pass.

Elton Peh
Tactical Performance

The Benefits of Physical Activity

The Benefits of Physical Activity

Being physically active throughout the day is important for the growth and development of our children.

Studies have shown that engaging in PA has a direct correlation to improved physical wellbeing – healthy physical growth, better bone and heart health. It has also proven to bring about positive cognitive development as it trains a child’s decision making skills, taps onto his/her creative thinking and increase mental alertness. Proficiency in movement also help to build confidence and self-esteem.


The importance of Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS)

Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) are a set of motor skills that involve different body parts like feet, legs, trunk, hands and arms. They lay the crucial foundation for the development of all other complex movement and sports skills we use in our daily lives. As such, it is critical for children to acquire FMS in early childhood.


The 3 categories of FMS are:


In line with the developmental milestones of pre-schoolers,  children in the 3 – 4 years old range will focus on balance and locomotor skills while children at 5 – 6 years old focus more on “advanced” locomotor and object control skills.


Perceptual Motor Skills

Perceptual Motor Skills (PMS) are essential movement-related skills that combine the use of senses (“perception”) and motor skills to interact with the environment.  

With good PMS, children are able to gather and interpret sensory information, enabling them to develop and use FMS more effectively and efficiently.

Chan Zhen Wei
Community Fitness

Is exercising really beneficial to your mental health?

Is exercising really beneficial to your mental health?

There are many articles out there stating that exercising helps in your mental illness – mainly depression and anxiety. Those articles are not wrong.

Exercising releases “feel good” chemicals in your brain that will help improve your mood. Chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are commonly found in antidepressants as well. So, yes, exercising does improve your mood, but is it really beneficial to people who have depression and/or anxiety?

The answer depends on each individual. There are days where you feel good and have the energy to go for a run or hit the gym – go for it. But there are also days where you feel that your energy level is low – best if you ask yourself if you should put yourself to exercise.

Sometimes exercising can further your depression and anxiety. Being in a crowded gym or a packed class might be a big anxiety trigger for you – you might feel like you are being judged or disappointed with yourself that you did not push yourself hard enough.
How can you not let yourself in that vulnerable situation?

  1. Set small goals. Perhaps start by running for 10 minutes, then increase slowly with each run.
  2. DO NOT force yourself. If you are not feeling up to it, do not pressure yourself in exercising. This might worsen your condition.
  3. Seek professional help – doctors and physical trainers – they could help you with setting achievable goals.
  4. If you really want to exercise, find someone you are comfortable with to go with you. This way, they can encourage you and help you along the way.
  5. Listen to yourself. If you decide to stop in the middle of a workout, do it. Do not force yourself into doing something you might feel worse after.

To those who keep saying exercising is good for your mental health:

By constantly telling them to exercise does not help with their mental illness, sometimes it might worsen the condition as they might feel that they are not good enough or are not trying hard enough. Trust me when I say, they are well aware and let them work on it at their own pace.

Chermaine Chua
Sales & Marketing Executive
Force 21 Academy

Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Chinese New Year is a season of feasting and abundance. Most of the people will feast, steamboat and eat Chinese New Year cookies throughout the festival. Therefore, people will concern about how to lose weight after the festival. Intermittent fasting (IF) will be a good solution to lose your weight effectively and it is a healthier and safer way compared to other solutions.
IF is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. The most common methods of IF are 16:8 Method, 5:2 Diet, and Eat-Stop-Eat.

1. 16:8 Method
The 16:8 Method involves fasting for 16 hours and restricts your daily eating window to 8 hours. Basically it can be done by skipping your breakfast and not eating anything after dinner. For example, you start your meal on 12 p.m. and finished your last meal before 8 p.m. then you will hit your 16-hour fasting.

2. 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for 5 days in a week and restricts your total calories intake to 500-600 calories for two days in that week. So basically you may eat more clean food, fruits and vegetable on your fasting day. For example, you can eat as per usual for every day except Tuesdays and Fridays of the week. During Tuesdays and Fridays, you can only eat two small meals (250-300 calories/meal).

3. Eat-Stop-Eat
The Eat-Stop-Eat involves a 24-hour fasting for once or twice in a week. So you may choose fasting from Tuesday’s dinner to next day’s dinner then only can start eating after next day’s dinner. You can drink water, black coffee and other non-caloric beverages during fasting period. This method will need much more self-discipline compared to the other methods.

All these methods will reduce the total calorie intake and lead to weight loss. However, some points to take note of are not eating excessive unhealthy food and overeating during your eating window. Besides, IF will bring some health benefits such as reduces insulin resistance, lowers blood sugar level, and controls of cholesterol levels.

Goh Suyi
Digital Marketing Executive