5 common food that you think might be the healthiest choice; MAYBE NOT

Before I start, I would just like to clarify that whatever information you are about to read about food and nutrition here are mainly based on research and findings under the American Council on Exercise; so yeah…I didn’t randomly pluck these information from the sky.


We often feel that having anything with the label ‘low-fat’ is good, however that apparently is not the case for peanut butter. Peanut butter supposedly provides healthy fat to our diet, however low fat peanut butter reduces the amount of healthy fat we get; not much of a reason to go low fat now don’t you think?

In low-fat peanut butter, about 1/4 of healthy fat is removed while sugar and sometimes salt is added. The calories you consume is almost the same and with that though I rarely say this to people but…TAKE THE FATS!!! Go for natural peanut butter.



While research has found that consuming more whole grains can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer while also serving as a great source of vitamin E, iron and fiber, most people incorrectly assume that multigrain and seven-grain breads must do the same. Unfortunately, many of these products are often not 100% whole grain, and in some cases, they contain no whole grain whatsoever.

Here are the facts, most seven-grain and multigrain breads are made from refined, white flour with a sprinkling of other grains; these breads are just as processed and refined as white bread, they are usually devoid of fiber and spike blood sugar quickly, only to create the same crash that a sugar high does when it wears off leaving you hungry very quickly.


Opt for wholesome whole grain breads that state that they are made from 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat flour. To avoid picking up an imposter, avoid any products that list the words “enriched” or “refined” anywhere on the package or in the ingredient list.


To salt or not to salt? That is the question. Many of us are led to believe that sea salt is more natural than regular table salt, it must be healthier.

However, Gina Crome, MPH, RD who is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, clarified that “sea salt and regular table salt are fairly identical nutritionally,” so essentially they have the same amount of sodium. “Because sea salt crystals are bigger than table salt crystals however, the same volume of sea salt doesn’t take up as much room as the table salt would, and thus, has a little less sodium,” said Miller. But as Crome has seen firsthand, the false belief that sea salt is “healthier” than table salt often leads people to use it more liberally, and thereby consume more total sodium.

4TH FRUIT JUICE (Packaged ones)

100 percent fruit juice may not be as healthy as you think. Michelle Murphy Zive, MS, RD, said “even with ‘only’ fruit juice, there is usually added sugar in the form of fructose (fruit sugar). “For instance, apple and grape juices – which can be the ‘only’ juice or added  to 100% fruit punch – have higher amounts of fructose than other fruit,” she said.

So screw the commercial fruit juices, go home take a blender and blend your own juice or easier, JUST EAT A WHOLE FRUIT!


If you are ever so curious to read the ingredients on a protein bar or shake, you may have noticed a laundry list of words that look like they are more suitable in a chemistry textbook instead of a food label. The bars are usually 200 calories each with around 10-15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 20+ grams of sugar. Julie Burks, MS, RD, CSSD, Semper Fit Dietitian and ACE Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, stated that while the average protein bar or shake doesn’t sound so bad at first glance, these products are processed and contain stabilizers, preservatives, and other ingredients that may not support health. (She cautioned that the second and third ingredients are usually some form of sugar).

I drink protein shakes myself but have significantly reduced my dependency on them. It is alright to consume them on occasion; after an intense workout, but not 5 times a day! Opt for natural sources of protein.


5 Common Excuses NOT to Exercise; Malaysian Style

I have taken time to listen and put out a survey to find out what the main reasons people give not to exercise. Well here are my findings:

1. NO TIME (Most common)

I bet most of you reading this post would just automatically agree with this excuse because you feel that it is rather ‘relevant’ to you. Well, my take on this would be that exercising for general health is not just about taking your time out to go to gym and run in the field; it is also a question of lifestyle.

Most Malaysians choose to be lazy over everything (Sometimes I am too *wink*). For example, if you work on the second floor of a building, TAKE THE STAIRS! It is very common to see people willing to wait for the lift just to go up to the first floor. Another example would be we would rather spend time waiting for parking or waste petrol turning numerous rounds the parking lot just to find that ‘perfect spot’ nearest to the entrance; come on, just park somewhere slightly further and walk!


Exercise merely requires commitment and mental preparation. You don’t have to spend hundreds just to buy all sorts of exercise equipments, its about just walking out of your house and getting your body moving, heck you can even do some indoor exercises at home! Another thing is, a healthy body keeps your pockets wealthy too; you spend less on going to the clinic and medicine (its cool to have common sense).


The idea of exercising is not about hurting yourself and the pain you feel through exercising is just an indication that you REALLY did exercise. But don’t go and push yourself till you break a bone or tear a ligament. Know your limits but if you want results, you have no choice but to push. After recovery, the freshness and feeling you’ll get will surpass all the pain and the pain would be worth it, believe me. If you don’t want results, then easy, just sleep and eat and sleep and eat (real productive).


Achieving results require meeting some fundamentals. Be realistic, eat well, do the correct training, be patient and PUSH yourself!!(jogging 30 minutes a day is not pushing yourself!) If you didn’t fulfil any ONE of these fundamentals, then scrap this excuse out of your brain and try harder.


This is a common misconception people have towards exercising. Exercise is not just about losing weight or getting a smoking hot body, most importantly exercise is key in keeping your body healthy. I won’t debate with anyone if you are happy with how you look and I very much respect that, but please understand that the need to exercise is mainly to keep you healthy and help you live longer.

My overall view on this is that, there is actually no excuse when it comes to exercising. It is only whether you want to do it or not; it is a yes or no question with no further elaboration needed. So take your pick and go with it =)

Tips on handling your diet during the Chinese New Year

It’s that time of the year again! Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai to everyone! Festivities like this also points towards more open houses which equals more food to consume; more calories. So how do you handle yourself when attending an open house? Being healthy doesn’t mean that you have to avoid eating and lose out on the fun of the new year, it just requires you to be extra cautious. So I decided to share with you some tips that I usually give my clients.



1. Have a light meal/snack before you leave the house (eg. a glass of low fat milk/ 2 pcs of bread)

2. Start off with the main course in an open house (eg. rice, meat and vegetables)

3. Drink only plain water (try avoiding carbonated drinks)

4. Take it easy when eating! This is not a contest so take your time! Finish your food in about 20 minutes; it makes you feel full.

5. Don’t jump on all the desserts; a slice of cake and some fruits will do.

6. I know most of the time when offered food during an open house that it is courtesy to take the food given. But that doesn’t mean that you have to eat everything! Tasting the food is courtesy, stuffing your face full is crazy!

7. Avoid fried, smothered, sauteed, creamed and battered food! Go for steamed, cooked, grilled, baked or smoked food. (If there are less options, be smart like taking only chicken breast without the skin)

8. STOP when you are no longer hungry or when you know that you have another 3 more houses to go! DON’T STOP only when you feel full!

9. It is okay to indulge ONCE IN A WHILE (indulging once a day is not “ONCE IN A WHILE”) but make sure to make up for it through exercise (eg. take the stairs!!)

I hope that these few pointers could be of some help to keep those extra calories away =). Happy Chinese New year to all and have a healthy joyful one!


1st step to your desired body -Realistic Fitness Goals-

I have alot of people coming up to me talking about how they want to lose weight, buff up, tone their body, lose their dangling belly etc. However, a lot of times failure can begin even before the workout; it begins when unrealistic goals are being set.What and how are unrealistic goals being made? Be my guest and scroll further down my post to find out.

These are few goals made by my real life clients and how I see it to be a problem even before we start training.

I WANT TO GO GYM EVERYDAY!! (Unrealistic for a sedentary individual with no knowledge of the gym)

There are 2 main issues to this goal. Well firstly for those who have no knowledge about the gym and are sedentary, going to the gym EVERYDAY with no idea what to do will not accomplish anything. What workout are you going to do everyday? How many sets? Intervals? How long are you going to workout? All these questions need an answer before you even go to the gym! The solution to this; GET A PERSONAL TRAINER!!

Secondly, working out everyday is not the key factor in attaining the results you desire as our bodies would need time to recover and rest. Overdoing something is never good unless you are already very good in programming your workouts.


Oh my, I get this A LOT. It is crucial to realise that the healthy weight loss rate is around 0.5-1.5kg per week. It takes most people a lifetime to accumulate their body weight and you want to lose a chunk of it within a month?! Weight loss is a massive battle of diet and proper workouts; lay your hands off those slimming products and just start hoping on the treadmill. The key is to be patient, no short-cuts!!


The danger to this goal is that the older you are and the longer you have not been actively involved in sports, the harder it is for you to return to your younger state of fitness level; sometimes quite impossible. Most of my clients will tell me, “I used to be my school’s football player!” or “I used to run for my school!” and based on that they think that they could just hop straight back into training as an extremely athletic person. Remember this, look at ourselves as cars, the older we get the more time we need to heat up our engines; we can never compare the explosive performance of an older car to a new car. So what do you do about this? Well firstly, you must set a fitness goal based on your current age and not attempt to travel back in time and return to your fitness level 10 years ago. Take it easy in training, slow and steady will win the race.


My personal view is that the key to setting a realistic goal is to be logical, specific and rational. Don’t set a goal too big for you to grasp and don’t set a goal that is not time bound. So basically stay motivated, begin slow, push yourself to your individual limits, build consistency, be disciplined and DON’T TRY TO BE SUPERMAN!

**If you are not certain about how realistic your fitness goals are, feel free to discuss it with me**

email – mhazli@corefitness.com.my
leave me a comment on my blog
or just visit me at Core Fitness Citymall

I want those Abs!!! Li’s AbsWork 101

Have you been devotedly doing hundreds of crunches EVERYDAY without much results? Little do most people realise that the flat and toned abs they so desire has little to do with lack of abdominal training. It is mainly about burning that stubborn layer of fat between the abs and skin.

Are crunches basically a waste of time?

Crunches are not a waste of time as I believe that it does help burn fats around the stomach. But most importantly crunches and abdominal exercise builds stronger abdominal muscles which would help in sculpting those abs. But for a 6 pack to be visible, initial focus should be given more on burning fats through aerobics and cardio exercises.


Well sadly, it is not quite possible to spot reduce fat as it is determined by individual genetics. It means that as long as you burn those calories and create a calorie deficit (burn more than you consume), your body will naturally remove fat everywhere including the abs.

Li’s ABS WORK 101

In the last week of December 2011, I programmed a one hour training routine which combines cardio, interval and abdominal exercises to target fats around the stomach and build a stronger core.

It was an intense five day workout which pushes the trainees to their limits.

Some of the trainees





Congrats to all the trainees who pulled through “Abs work 101”!! Hope to see you guys in the next workout programme, “Beach Body Frenzy” every Saturday or Sunday night.

The conclusion for beautiful abs

Literally “No pain no gain” ; with PAIN you will not GAIN that extra weight. Cheers~

Take note:

1. Design a well programmed workout with not only crunches but also include cardio training. Interval training may be very effective as well.

2. Take good care of what you eat; create a calorie deficit.

**To those interested to sign up in my weekly group class, “Beach Body Frenzy” every Saturday or Sunday night, please visit http://www.facebook.com/events/140659386047700/ or leave me a comment here**

What am I? Know your Body Type!!

Ever wondered why some people gain weight easily even if that person doesn’t eat much? Or why some people could never gain any weight even if they try eating alot? Well generally, we have different body types. Some will have problems gaining weight while some won’t be able to shed any weight, some could even pull off a bikini body by not working hard at all! (I know…that is so unfair)

In my opinion, it is relatively important to be aware of your body type, so that you can design a training programme accordingly. Put it this way, knowing your body type is like planning for war.

You must first identify the battle you are about to engage in. Set goals that are align with what your body needs. Do you need to do more weight training? or maybe more aerobics?

Well basically there are 3 body types


Lightly muscled
Small joints/boned
Lowbody fat (without exercise or following low calorie diets)
small shoulders,chest & buttocks
long arms & legs
Gaining weight, strength & muscle mass.
Ectomorphs should maintain consistent nutrition and focus on weight training to promote muscle mass. Consistency is the key in an ectomorph’s training. Once you stop, you shrink!!
Smooth, round body
Gains muscle easily but tends to be underdeveloped
medium-large joints/bones
High levels of body fat (tend to be overweight)
Small shoulders, high waist and large hips creating a pear-shaped physique
Difficult to loose body fat
Losing fat would be the endomorph’s life long battle.
Take extra caution in calorie intake. Combine weight training and cardio (eg. jogging, swimming & cycling) effectively. Muscle gain may be easier but losing fat can be super duper hard. Cardio training/aerobics should be your soulmate in training, break up with them and you’ll fall into a ‘fat’ depression.
Naturally lean
Naturally muscular
Medium sized joints/bones
Naturally strong
Broad/Square shoulders
Body fat evenly distributed
The mesomorph does not face a significant problem as they can naturally gain or lose weight with relative ease.
The mesomorph should have a good balance in weight and cardio trainings depending on individual goals. If muscle gain is the goal, then weight training is your main companion while cardio fits in for weight loss goals.
Well, knowing what your body type is a good guideline to what your training should be based on. However my simple view is that the basics are still generally the same for everyone; once you get into a training programme, stick to it and eat healthy. Every training will have some effect on your body but it must be done.
So, stop blaming everything on genetics and just hit the gym; hit the gym for the workout, not the sauna.
-If anyone needs some opinions on designing their training programmes, feel free to ask me anytime- 

Only in Sabah

It is hilarious how the simplest mistakes on the use of words can be a huge entertainment. The following images are all taken truly in our beloved Sabah, I know that this has nothing much to do with health share, but if it puts a smile on your face, then that’s healthy.I have always advised my clients that I train not to take too much ketchup and sauce as it is filled with sodium and preservatives. However I have no idea that there is ‘cum sauce’ in the market now. Maybe it’s healthier because it is natural?

So I guess that it would be fine for humans to throw trash in that area right?

I am more amazed with the fact that those people actually took the time to cut out the letters one by one to stick onto that sign; now, that is what I call commitment. If more people have that kind of commitment in exercising then battling high blood pressure would be so much easier.

Keep your eyes open! There are lots more of those ridiculous stuff out there! SNAP & SHARE folks~