Friday, September 28, 2007

Question & Answers 3

Question: You have mentioned that you are rehabilitating goal keeper IMRAN, do you think he will be able to play the world cup qualifiers or SAFF championships, I’ve read news that his name was included in the National team squad announced recently.

Answer: Yes I am looking after the rehabilitation (conditioning) of goalkeeper Imran, it’s totally impossible for him to participate in the World Cup qualifiers against Yamen. Second at this stage it’s too early to mention that he can or cannot participate in SAFF Championships. His training is progressing as projected and we’ve moved several stages of training, the good news is you’ll see him jogging on the track grounds every other night as part of his rehabilitation.

Question: My son who is 15 years wants to go to a gym and start weight training, he is active and weigh about 60+Kgs, 5’5” tall. Is it a good idea?

Answer: I would say it’s a fantastic idea. Weight training can be started at early teens. Getting hold of a good trainer and starting a supervised weight training program is advisable. Arnold Schwarzenegger started training with weights at his teens, who knows your son, can be the Arnold of Maldives if he gets interested in Bodybuilding.

Question: You have been nominated on the Technical Development Committee of FAM; you haven’t got any experience in football as player or anything related to football? Why did you accept to work there without any experience in football?

Answer: Yes I have not been a footballer that means I have no experience in football as a player. But I have done strength and conditioning of many footballers for the past several years, worked with a large number of footballers in injury rehabilitations from which I’ve gained experienced in conditioning footballers and injury rehabilitation of the same. I accepted the post as I believe that my qualification as a physical/personal trainer and the experience I’ve gained by working with footballers will put in light in the development of football in the country. I’ll try my best!

Question: I’ve got to know from your clients that your style of training is very different from almost all trainers in town; you hardly use the machines in the gym. Can you explain why?

Answer: I am a firm believer in Functional Training & Movement Based Exercises. Say if I am training a female client I will focus on her core (mid section), and moving the whole body in almost all exercises, I will never make her sit down on the Machine Bench Press and do it as the exercise will not be functional for a female client. I use stability balls, medicine balls, cable motion, balance boards, fitness boxing which is the new era of fitness. Next, if I am training a footballer I would not ask him to machine shoulder press, I will work on his shoulder with some functional medicine ball exercises which involves core together with his legs. The idea and belief behind functional training is to train the person for his/her sport or requirement giving away the traditional machine based exercises.
I do use machines when training bodybuilders mostly on there conditioning phase for competition which needs lots of isolation exercises, that means those isolation exercises are functional for them. Functional Training rules …

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


High blood pressure (hypertension) is a health risk that the World health Organization (WHO) and International Society of Hypertension (ISH) claims is the biggest challenge facing public health authorities & medical practitioners world wide. Hypertension is almost always without symptoms (WHO, 2002) and is sometimes described as a silent killer.

Excess body fat is described as the most important or common predisposing factor for hypertension, this thus shows the importance of physical activity or exercise for a person who is hypertensive. Exercise or physical activity consideration for this condition remains a bit complex and should be followed step by step. It is a must to get clearance from a medical practitioner before beginning an exercise program and give a medical clearance report/letter to the fitness professional in order to follow a safe and effective exercise program.

Cardiovascular exercise recommendations
Cardiovascular physical activity is agreed to be the most beneficial form for exercise for hypertension. Activities using large muscle groups in rhythmical fashion in a very low intensity (i.e. 40-60% of VO2 max) appear to lower the blood pressure effectively. Some activities like walking, jogging, cycling and cross training are among the best types of cardiovascular exercises for hypertension.
These cardiovascular exercises can be conducted 3 to 4 times weekly from 20 to 60 minutes duration, but be cautious and keep a gradual progression in the activity, start from 10 minute of activity and gradually add 5 minutes in every two weeks. Also it’s advisable to do a proper and extended warm up and cool down in every exercise session.

Strength/resistance training recommendations
Circuit training is known as the best form of resistance training for hypertension. When choosing exercise for your circuit session, the best would be exercises which use large muscle groups which has multi joint movements in a rhythmical fashion. This indicates that free weights lead over machines for strength training. To name some exercises; squat & calf raise combo, stiff leg dead lift & bent over row combo, dumbbell squats & bicep curl combo are good choices. Use very light weight in every exercise and perform about 15 to 20 reps in each set with 2 circuits as maximum in each session.

Flexibility training recommendations
Flexibility training (stretching) forms a large part of any exercise program. Flexibility training should be at least done 2 to 3 time weekly. In general it is advisable to do flexibility training in every exercise session. For best results hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds and stretch all major muscle groups concentrating more on any tight muscles in the body.

Special attentions
When you are hypertensive there are special points to look at when exercising,
1 - Do not hold breath at any phase of exercise
2 - If you feel that you are getting exhausted, stop immediately
3 - When doing all strength exercise avoid doing any overhead movement like shoulder presses or incline bench presses which may increase the blood pressure.
4 - Avoid performing exercises to failure; maintain a weight which you are comfortable for at least 15 reps.
5 - Now I have to put up a small restriction for the favorite exercises for abdominals, it is not advisable to do incline or decline sit-ups on the bench. Use a level surface to do sit ups, crunches or leg rises.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Without a doubt soccer is the most demanding and most popular game in the world, the players have to be strong, fast and skilled. Yes all of you are not a professional player, a large number out there performing are semi-professionals or recreational players but the bottom line is everyone wants to be good in the game even though they only play it on the weekend. Below is a study conducted by Umbro Football Conditioning which gives average movement patterns of a soccer player on the field.

18 to 27 minutes (20-30%) Walking
27 to 36 minutes (30-40%) Jogging
13 to 23 minutes (15-25%) Running
09 to 13 minutes (10-15%) Sprinting
04 to 07 minutes (04-08%) Walking backwards

Surprising isn’t it, players virtually runs non stop for 90 minutes and its noted that on average a midfield player runs 12.8 km during a full 90 minutes game. This shows that soccer conditioning requires all components of fitness [strength, speed, power, aerobic and anaerobic endurance, and flexibility] included as part of their training.

“Training with weights will make me gain weight and slow my speed down” is a common misconception of all sportsmen, especially many soccer athletes I have met.

Lifting weights simply doesn’t mean that your body has to pile up muscles. Training with weights can strengthen your muscles, can make these muscles powerful, and can make you move faster. Doing flexibility training can aid in your skills to move your body the way you want on the field. These are all goods about training with weights. And most important is the stronger and powerful you are the risk of injuries are low.

One of the most effective weight training systems for soccer players are circuit training. By its nature it builds both strength and endurance. Here is how you make circuit training sports specific for soccer.

1 - Lower weights and higher repetitions – the resistance should be light enough to perform 15-25 repetitions in proper techniques.

2 - Time is often used instead of repetitions – it’s advisable to perform the exercise for a set period of time instead of repetition.

3 - Short rest period between exercises – to develop endurance, minimal time should be spent in each station and circuit

4 - Alternate body parts – Each station should work different parts of the body from the station before – ideally upper body, lower body, upper body and so on

5 - Focus on core – Target on developing strong abs and lower back, core is the most important muscle for strength, explosive power & endurance.

Increase the intensity gradually over a period of weeks by increasing the time per exercise/station or decreasing the rest period. For exercise that’s use free weights gradually increase the weight as it becomes easier.

Get started and feel the difference.

Note: If you would want to read about Local Football or International Football, visit the web blog of Mr. Ahmed Marzooq a professional in football studies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I first used an indoor rowing machine while doing my further studies, from the first day of use I understood that rowing is one of the best form of exercise as it involves both cardio and a strength effect. Rowing is definitely one of the best form of exercise, looking at the kinesiology of rowing it’s understood that all the muscles are used whilst rowing. From that day I made a promise that one day we will have few rowing machines in our club. Today 03 rowing machines are installed and the clients have accepted the machine and are having a good time exercising on it.

Lets take look at a proper rowing stoke without using complicated language it’s explained on diagrams…

The Catch
The Drive – Leg Emphasis
Body Swing Emphasis
Arm Pull through Emphasis
The Finish
The Recovery
Whilst rowing for the first time here are some important guidelines you should follow

The Very First Row
Resist the temptation to row for 30 minutes the first time on the machine. It’s recommended to start with no more than 3-5 minutes at a time. Then take a break to stretch and walk around. If you feel good - do up to 4 of these short intervals of rowing.
The Second Row
Begin experimenting with stroke rate and power. Stroke rate is your tempo in strokes per minute. It is displayed in the upper right corner of the Performance Monitor. Power is how hard you are pulling. It is displayed in a choice of units in the central display area : watts, calories, or pace. Try some 3 minute intervals of rowing, varying stroke rate and pace.
The Third Row
Introduce longer rowing with stroke rate variation. The Fourth Row. Longer steady rowing. The Fifth Row. Short intervals for variety and for a chance to see how fast a pace you can achieve.
The Fourth Row
Longer steady rowing.
The Fifth Row
Short intervals for variety and for a chance to see how fast a pace you can achieve.
Benchmark Piece
30 minutes, non-stop. Definitely record your total meters rowed for this piece. You should repeat this workout periodically, every few weeks, to see how you are progressing.
Try rowing for a change I am sure you will like it.
Kinesiology of the rowing stroke, NSCA Journal, Volume 10, Number 2, 1988, Thomas Mazzone, M.D. Wyoming County Community Hospital, Warsaw, New York

Sunday, September 16, 2007


One of the greatest bodybuilder in the world Lee Haney quoted “Every bodybuilder wants to develop huge, powerful muscles. In fact, that’s usually the main reason why most of us started weight training, to look huge and powerful. And no matter how massive a bodybuilder gets he still wants to add a little more muscle mass to certain part of his physique” (Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding. The Master Blaster’s Principles of Training and Nutrition)

That shows how important building mass is for bodybuilders as no body in this world can rule out a word from the great champion Lee Haney and the Master Blaster “Joe Weider” who is known as the trainer of champions.

While talking of mass building find below some important points to consider …

Stick to Basics

A major feature of a mass training routine is an extensive use of basic compound exercises which stress large muscle groups. Exercise large muscle groups like Quadriceps, Lats, Pecs, etc in conjunction with one or more small muscle group.
One of the biggest mistakes done whilst training for mass is using too many isolation exercises (exercises that move a single joint and focus on stressing one single body part). Basic exercises like squats, bench press, deadlifts, bentover rows etc are best for building mass.

Mass Building Nutrients

Remember if you training for Mass each meal should contain some complete proteins (red meat, chicken, fish, egg or milk). According to numerous references 25 to 30 grams of protein is the maximum amount of protein your body can digest. This fact makes professional bodybuilders consume 5 to 6 protein rich meals per day.

Avoiding Overtraining

Overtraining occurs when the amount of stress placed in your body is more for it to handle, when the stress is high it shows signs and symptoms that it cannot handle more. This is the biggest road block to success in Mass Building. A novice bodybuilder should be careful about this as sometime they get carried away with more and more sets while training.

Avoiding Functionality

The modern trend of weight training promotes a lot of functional training using stability balls, Bosu boards etc. Do not mess up!! when training for mass avoid using these kinds of unstable surfaces as it could be dangerous, and most of all you could not train at the required intensity for building mass if you add too much functionality in your training.

Lee Haney conclude his words about mass building “ I personally didn’t begin to add isolation exercises until I have been training for three years and already weighed 210Lbs, so don’t get carried away with too many concentration curls and cable side lateral raises early in your bodybuilding involvement.”

Friday, September 14, 2007


In a country like Maldives, while we all are talking about producing a better lifestyle for people I feel it’s good to address the area of healthy living and proper lifestyle education for our children. Without being healthy, how would you have a proper lifestyle?

Where does the journey of proper lifestyle begin? Developed countries have gone far producing comfort, luxury and convenience for mankind. Yet these things has left human lazy and unhealthy. Processed food, fast food, luxury transportation with less movement is what we all demand. So where can we start to teach our young generation the habits of healthy living.

Some of the said countries are struggling to find a way out to make coming generations better, even politicians are playing on hard to convince the public on this concern to get support. United Kingdom has imposed a ban on fast food in primary schools after long debates in the parliament, to develop a habit of eating healthy and natural food. The food trading industry has been forced to provide healthy eating options to the public, in the developed countries supermarkets has been forced to have ORGANIC food and healthy food area.

What would be our first step to teach healthy lifestyle? Ban crappy snack packets like Chicken rings and these kinds of unhealthy snacking options from primary school? Ban fizzy carbonated drinks from primary school? Yes these are good ways …

Well in countries like Singapore, they have introduced kid’s gyms in the primary schools. Not to forcefully send all the primary children to the gym, but to educate and teach them the benefits of exercise, and how to exercise using these machines and make them do some exercises in a way that they enjoy.

We are in a stage that we should be careful about our young generation, the number of over weight children are growing. In the past year (2006) according to stats in our fitness center 45% of school children who exercised are obese. That shows a 14% growth compared to the previous year (June 2005). I believe this is something to think about.

Producing a kid’s gym in every primary school is a good way to start.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

THE 3 D’s

Bodybuilding is a sport where you have to show your muscularity, symmetry, bulk, shape and definition. As you all know it’s not an easy sport, and it's not a sport for just anyone …

As defined by most of the sports scientists, bodybuilding is totally a scientific sport. Very true the sport requires so much to be a champion; I would say it involves a lot of science as well as the three D’s to success.

Few days ago I was sitting in my gym counter and enjoying looking at the people who exercise; a young teenager walked into the gym and wanted to join my club. I thought it has been a long time that I haven’t had a chat with such a walk in client. I started a conversation with the guy asking him what he wants to achieve by joining my club. It was not surprising he answered me “I want to grow my body, big biceps, huge chest, and a six pack abs” I guess what else a young guy can look forward for to impress the ladies. The guy was curious and was looking for more information so I explained him the 3 D’s of success in bodybuilding, and now I want to share it will all of you.

What do I mean by dedication? You need to be committed to the task; you just can’t join a weight room and expect miracles to happen. You need to understand how much time and effort people have put in to build those fantastic muscles which you see in the fitness magazine. Trainers are not magicians they just cannot make your muscles grow. It’s you who can make it grow by following the instructions of the trainer. So be ready to listen to them and be patient.

You got to have the will power to overcome all obstacles in training, trainers will sometime make your training painful; I’ve made those huge muscle heads scream with the high intensity which I put on them. Not because I like to make there scream but it is the only way to push them to a stimuli. You may have to do your least favorite exercise, you may have to stick with the basics for long but you got to believe that it is how the science of growing muscle works.

The factor which most of the athlete’s lack… How would you expect your muscles to grow without proper nutrients? How would you expect your muscles to grow without proper recovery? How would you expect your muscles to grow over night? Well I have the answers for all those questions. If you need that awesome body, you need to sacrifice those fast foods which you love, those late night get to gathers and go to sleep early. Training alone does not help, be disciplined to get your diet online & proper rest. Adopt a disciplined lifestyle and you’ll get there soon.

All guys out there, who are looking to build those muscles and look good, it only works with the 3D’s … take my word

Sunday, September 2, 2007


It was a Saturday evening (25th August 2007); I switched off the ringer volume of my mobile and took a nap. I woke up close to dusk and checked my phone to see if there were any important calls. It took me by surprise to read a message from Football Association of Maldives.

The message reads…

“You have been nominated to be on the Technical Development Committee (TDC) of FAM. Would like to hear your views before sending a formal request. Thank you”

I was surprised for the reason that I have not been involved formally in training any football team, but I have trained many top professional footballers in the country. Well I was looking forward for the challenge. And I believe this is a start to explore more in the world’s top sport.

On the inauguration meeting I met the group of experienced and well qualified professionals who have been selected for the committee. The members of TDC include:

Mr. Mauroof Ahmed – Martey (Football Coach)
Dr. Hussain Haleem (Sports Psychologist, Sociologist)
Mr. Moahmed Rasheed (Nutritionist)
Mr. Mohamed Marzooq – Marey (Specialist in Football Studies)
Mr. Ali Suzain (Football Coach)
Mr. Abdulla Waheed – Binmma (Football Coach)
Mr. Ismail Mahfooz – Imma (Football Coach)
Mr. Ahmed Niyaz (Football Coach)

After the first meeting I understood that the challenge ahead is great as I will be able to put my ideas and views to flavor the Physical Fitness development bit which is my professional area. And most of all to work with this bunch of experience top professionals in the industry.

My sincere thanks to Football Association of Maldives for providing this opportunity to work in the TDC of FAM to develop football in Maldives

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