Category Archives: Health

Natural supplements

What are the supplements that athletes take? This was the question that was asked in whatsapp group chat of 21km beach trail runners I was in. I had contributed a few things from my own experience and learned a few things from others.
Some supplements I have tried personally, but i like to find the natural equivalent.

Omega oil 🐠 is reportedly good for the heart. I tried it and reduced chest discomfort during hard runs. Interesting side effect is burps smells like fish. I think eating fish or specifically salmon would be good enough.

Isotonic water 💦 or salt  tablets or salt sticks to replace the lost salts we sweat from during and after running. The failure tbreplace adequately may cause leg cramps and worst full body cramp (something I experienced in my first marathon in 2005). Also, avoid distilled or reverse osmosis water as it has no electrolytes and may worsen the condition. Table salt maybe enough, but recommended to use himalayan salts, as it contains other minerals other than sodium chloride. Just add a few spoons into a bottle of mineral water or hydration bag and your done.
Additional note on water, three ways to make sure you have enough. One is to weigh before and after a run, and then drink the difference. Two is to take note of urine color. If its a strong color, drink until full and until pee color is pale or clear. I find cold water gets into blood stream ( helps to pee) faster. Third is to rely on sports app, and some will calculate base on your weight, exercise, duration, and weather. It will recommend a certain amount to drink. I find it fairly accurate and at least a helpful reminder.

Protein, either protein shake, eggs🍳 , soyabean, etc. Before or after a run, maybe not during as it doesn’t get digested well during runs. We need protein to help recover, rebuild and strengthen our muscles. Taking proteins soon (within 30mins) after a work out reduces the delayed onset muscle soreness after a work out.

For joint pains or injuries, I have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin. I personally find it costly, and after a bit of research found that it is extracted from bovine joint tendons. Or in malay, urat. So I resort to urat soup or noodles or satay urat.😝

Cordyceps I have only heard recently, to my understanding it adds iron to your diet as well as improves immune system, and reduces blood clotting (similar to omega oil). I have yet to try it out. But I am Wondering if I can just buy and eat the mushrooms… 🍄

For carbohydrates, Power gels I am not a fan, mostly because of the high cost. For a single packet, I can buy some 🍌 bananas. Bananas has fructose and
also has some minerals such as potassium. I think these power gels maybe useful for fast athletes where they can get their carbs fast during a run. I run slow (7-8 min/km). So I am often fine without taking them. I can get some energy from my isotonic drink. If i feel cheap just add table sugar to my bottles. Or during a long ride I buy myself some bread on a pit stop.

But above all, I find the best food to eat after training or exercise, is whatever food I feel like eating. It may seem odd, but i find myself craving and  loving the taste of certain foods after a run. I consider it as a subconscious way for my body to tell me what I need to eat to recover.

“Athletes don’t diet and exercise, we eat and train.” – unknown (if someone knowa please tell me).


The Many Techniques to Success (of half boiling an egg)

A lot of people tend to give different advises for the same problem. It depends on the individual to try out those solutions. Case in point, my half boiled eggs.


I often brought my attempted boiled egg to office, but the end result was sometimes not really half boiled. My colleagues often advised on their methods.
Here I have a few issues.
1. The solutions in some cases differ in such a way that the result would be different. E.g. 3 mins vs 4 mins boiling vs pour over boiling water. In fact, the perfect solution is highly dependent on several variables , in this case, volume of water, heat source, and current room temperature and pressure. Water can boil at lower temperatures at higher altitudes at lower pressure. Rate of heat transfer is affected by ambient temperature. (I took up chemistry as a major in uni, its funny where I apply these knowledge).
2. The solution provider may not always practice it, but they swear it works. It might work for them, But in truth it might not work for others. As these people often debate amongst each other. A consideration is they might not even boil and eat half boiled eggs often or everyday. (these might be biased due to memories just remembering the time it works).
3. They often project their own reality as universal truths. E.g. The eggs tastes better, in sweet soy sauce, bovril, butter. (I like salty soy sauce thank you). Everyone has a different taste or preference, but that doesn’t stop them from recommending. They would say “it would be more delicious if…” rather than the more accurate “I like it when…”.

You can Google half boiled egg  yourself, but i recommend you experiment your own way (almost scientifically). I previously found the perfect way for me, but since I moved house and started to use induction cooker instead of gas, I am experimenting again. The variables, volume of water (more water takes more time to heat up), the heat setting (higher heat faster rate, but not higher boilimg temp), time of day (certain times are often different temperature), the weather, time spent to boil (if u put in the eggs before boiling), time boiling, time egg left in the water after stopped boiling, and number of eggs.
Mine WAS, in the morning, wait till boiling (reducing error result from rate in boiling), then dropped in the eggs for 2-3 minutes, then remove the eggs from boiling and cool in water. (reduces error from additional heat transfer from still boiling water).
My current issue is I am trying out the lazy and quick way with timer setting on the induction cooker set to boiling. I am down to 3 minutes, but i have to watch out for level of water and number off eggs, as it affects the rate of heat transfer. The heat source is consistent, it is the ambient temperature I need to account for. Also the timer is in increments of 1 min. I can’t set for 2 and a half minute.
For the seasoning, that’s your choice.

My points here though, is that there are many solutions to Success, what works for one person may work for another, but then it might not. There are several variables we have to consider, our current status, where we want to be, and the environmental factors involved. And finally, I prefer people to share their truths, rather than project their truths as absolute truths. Saying “in my case, it was…” rather than “The right way is…”.

Good luck and have fun trying.

Review of my 2013

The following is a point form of my successes in 2013. After listing them out, I managed to categorize them to spiritual, Physical, Intellectual

  • Spiritual
    • Finished reading conversations with God volume 1, 2 and 3 – Despite understanding that it is based on the author’s perception of god, it god me to realize everyone has their own perception, we can only see through our perception, and thus we interpret god as we see, through our limited perception. Pondering on the truth of our knowledge of God.
    • Explored Pantheism – the notion that god is everything, and the universe is defined as everything in existence, therefore god is the universe. ended up realizing that god is greater/bigger then the universe, because according to science, the universe may decay, or freeze.
    • Deeper understanding and appreciation of god and the universe, noting that we probably can and will only see at best 1% of the universe. the universe has expanded in a way that light coming from other stars will never reach us. 
    • Watched The movie of Life of Pi – choosing a story of a universe with a God or one that has none.
    • re-examining the things that were taught in religious school or by our tradition or culture.
    • Understood that the meaning of Allah is literally “The God” from the phrase “la ilaha illa allah”. which means “there is no other god than The God
    • Installed iQuran on my iPad, occassionally reading through translation(s).
  • Physical
    • Completed the 5.4km Open swim from Labuan to Pulau Papan and back. without getting sea sick!!!… much… thanks apple xin for the distraction during the swim.
    • Picked up cycling again and went for and completed Individual Triathlon (inspired due to 2012 MnY mastermind)
      • ABDB Triathlon, thanks to fadilah for reminding me.
      • Panaga Triathlon, 
      • Serawak Triathlon in Miri, (due to weather, swim leg replaced by run instead)
    • Ran barefoot for most of the runs that I did (except for SME run)
      • National Day Run in Temburong.
      • SCB Run – helped train my sister for the 5km run.
      • Pusat Ehsan’s The Run
      • Business School Charity Run (to be honest I crashed it, I didn’t manage to register and get the shirt)
      • Signed up for His Majesty’s run, but did not run due to scheduling, I went to AYPVC cambodia
      • Did not run BIBD run due to scheduling. had leadership camp at the same time.
  • Self Development – Intellectually, Mentally, Financially, and Creatively
    • Moved house.
      • closer to work place, feel more independent, more customization due to wife’s feng shui interest.
    • Bought a Guitar, finally bought a replacement for my broken guitar by my nephew a year ago. Gonna learn to play contemperorary songs with the guitar again 🙂
    • Attended the Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar,
      • got reinspired to get passive business income and attain financial freedom.
      • Understood who I was in respect to money and vice versa  (I’m a saver)
      • learned the 6 jars money management (I’m going to enjoy the play jar)
    • Helped create mastermind from the graduates of the seminar.
  • Career and Professional Development
    • Toastmasters
      • Got my Advance Communicator Bronze
      • Appointed as Vice President of Education
    • LiveWIRE
      • Organized SME run for the LiveWIRE Brunei SME Promotion.
        • from the marketing, registration,shirts, refreshments, and volunteer management.
      • Organized LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards
        • from judging process to prize presentation ceremony.
        • some problems, some were overcome, others will be handled for next time.
    • Being involved with ASEAN Young Professional Volunteer Corps (AYPVC.
      • Delegate to Cambodia in the agriculture,
        • Made/met new friends from ASEAN community
        • Learnt about agricultural practices, 
        • helped locals solve their own issues,
        • inspired to see and help the rest of the world.
      • Committee for AYPVC Seminar in Brunei.
        • helped organize and welcomed most delegates at the airport.
        • Became tour guide for delegates.
        • Made new friends
        • learnt about Volunteer Organization Management.
        • more ice breaking games.
      • involved in the national youth day parade/line up representing AYPVC.
  • Others
    • Won an iPad – from a scratch card at, I am now an iOS convert… nah! more like iOS/android hybrid :p actually lost a waterproof camera in cambodia, but the universe replaced it with an iPad.
    • Supported my sister in attending landmark, she admits that it has helped here with coping with life issues a lot better 🙂 yay… she doesn’t need much consulting and consoling anymore 😀

Typing this up kinda reminds me of making a CV. 2013 just gave a worth one page of CV. I should add picture to this post, or links to facebook or other resources, but i’m not gonna bother. simplicity is key. next up is my aims for the year 2014, that one i’m gonna add pictures.

Completed my triathlon!

I finally made a decision to do the whole triathlon individually this year. Previous 2 years, I had been doing the swimming for teams category. One time I think in 2007 I tried individual, but did not finish due to my bike tyre being flat, but then again I remembered that I actually struggled in the swum part then.
For the past few years I’ve been rebuilding my ability in running and swimming. I can do the 1.5 km swim around 30mins easily due to total immersion technique, and I can do the 10km run just over an hour (still training to get my 2007 sub 1 hour), thanks to 4hourbody High intensity interval training, pose technique, and chi running. I had only to build the cycling part.
I bought the cheap urata brand roadbike for under $400 early in June this year. The triathlon was on 7th July 2013. One month away.
Looking at my research I need to do 2 things. 1. Build my cycling endurance. this should he easy as I’ve done endurance swims and runs.
2. Build my engine, or power, this will ses a variation of HIIT.

In my short time in training, I realized that knowing how to bike is different from knowing how to bike fast. During my long steady rides, other cyclists would easily overtake me. I was using the low heat to get up even low gradient hills, while these people were using the big high gear. I was going an average of 22km/h, and they were going 30 maybe even 40km/h or more.
When the day came,  I swam a good 33mins for my 1.5km, an unexpectedly fast (for me) 1hr 41min for my 40km cycle. And a lazy/tired 1hr 25min, for a total of 3 hr and 39mins.
I know I overtook a lot of people during the swim, cause when I cycled most of them overtook me, especially during uphills, In the run I felt really heavy (so that’s why they call it a brick run) and when I arrived, the closing ceremony was just beginning.
Apparently I just need to maintain my swim, do more work on my engine, and do more brick runs. Looks like my brick runs didn’t push my cycling to apoint my running was affected, I’ve only done brick runs with 20km cycle with 5km runs. I may need to increase intensity and frequency. As well as to cycle on a group to push myself to their level.Remind myself to check cycling buddies on facebook for group rides.
For now in the fasting month I may train before iftar, or after terawikh, last year I noticed a few people training around the stadium and I tried it out.
Upcoming triathlon in brunei (which is still pending confirmation) is a half ironman/ long course triathlon (3km swim, 100km cycle, 21km run) in November this year. And also the sprint triathlon organized by panaga.

For now I am a TRIATHLETE!!!! 🙂
Next stop IRONMAN!!!
(hey… Does that make me a quarter ironman?)

Succeeded in labuan cross channel open swimming 5.4km

I attempted to swim the labuan cross channel swim last year… Attempted and was only successful halfway. I reached pulau papan, but decided to quit due to sea sickness, and dehydration from several vomiting… While swimming. this time, 28.June 2013, I was successful. 🙂
Training for the distance was not a problem, considering practice and the total immersion technique. My main worry was (other than sea creatures) motion sickness. For a whole year I didn’t think about it until a week before the event. Then I started to research, the cure that was cited was often eating ginger and wearing earplugs. The normal sea sickness medication of dramamine was either ineffective or it may cause drowsiness, not something I want to feel when swimming a long distance.
I also read about sea sickness in Wikipedia, how it is the incongruence between our inner ear’s sense of balance and movement with our sense of sight, causing the brain/mind to think we are hallucinating due to a toxin in our body, which it then tries to expel from the action of vomiting, ginger apparently reduces this effect by emptying the contents of the stomach into the intestine. It is unclear of how it affects the brain.
I found a motion sickness pill at guardian that contained ginger (contents labelled zanziber, which was scientific name for it). Additionally, I avoided citrus fruits and apples, and instead carbo-loaded with bananas.
On the night of the swim, I had an early dinner at Singapore Chicken Rice. I was pleasantly surprised that they served ginger as condiments, naturally I added some to my chicken. Then I made sure I had enough sleep as last time I didn’t cuz I was too excited.
Early in the morning, I woke up, had my one litre water, my canned tuna breakfast, and did my morning business. I warmed up by walking from the hotel to the water complex, a 1km walk. Arrived so early no one, not even the organizer was there at 5.30am.
When the swim started at 7 ish, I had just swam a few metres when a dark skinned guy (looked like a jamaican with dredges) turned back, seeing panic in his eyes, it didn’t bother me why, just thought that it was his first time in these murky and salty labuan waters. Later I heard he got kicked in the head. Then there was this lady who was asking passing by swimmers if they mind pacing and accompanying her as it is her first time. Seeing that I was practically the last guy there and I didn’t mind the company, I obliged, but informed her that I may be swimming slower than her (which it turned out wasn’t the case). So we swam together, and I found myself sighting often then I originally intended, once every two strokes, and occasionally signalling to her to correct her course, there was a male swimmer we passed by that then tagged along. I only realized in the middle of the swim to pulau papan, that I had no sign of sea sickness. I thought it might be the remedy, but then close to the jetty when I was able to see the sea floor and leaving number 6 behind (i just realize I don’t know her name, but that’s the number written on her limbs), I began to feel dizzy. Quickly thinking that it was the act of focusing on my swim partner, I waited for her and arrived at the jetty together. I avoided seeing the sea floor, kept looking at number 6 when I breathed, and kept telling myself and my brain, that I was not hallucinating, that I was swimming in the water, in quite choppy waters by this time.
At the jetty, there were a few swimmers who went up, I guess they were intimidated by the choppy waters, but I also realized that the way back filled with buoys were obscured by the waves, and the finishing point was slightly blocked by a drifted tanker. I remembered there was a clear line of sight when I started.
After dehydrating at the jetty, and one lady swam back with a kayaker to guide her,we decided to swim back. I was slightly worried that either the ginger was wearing off, or that the waves were getting bigger, and couldn’t see the tower that was present at the starting line. but I remind myself to just do what I was doing from the beginning. I swam unsure of the finish line, just swimming towards the buoys, and the kayaker who is now quite far away. We reached the half point again, reaching the buoy close to the blocking tanker, then I could see the tower and the finish line, I was relieved. But then I saw a line connected to the buoys under water, I felt dizzy again, I could also smell the diesel fumes, and then I saw a piece of plastic drifting underwater, my gag reflex activated and I puked. Last year I stopped to puked, but seeing how closer I was, I didn’t stop, I continued my front crawl, breathed on my right, and puked to my left, for about 3 times. The taste of banana and garlic actually tasted better then the salty see :p
I then chose to close my eyes in the water, only opening to my right to see my swim partner. I realize at this point we have left the third swimmer behind. But as long as she could keep up, then I was determined to swim fast to reduce my chances of breaking down. The waves at this point was pushing us to the shore, but derailed my partner a few times to the right, but as we neared the finish line, I decided to hurry, taking care not to see the sea floor.
As I walked in shallow waters, I saw my wife walking down to greet me, she had not woken up when I left, but she came around the time I estimated I would finish. The feeling I had was that I was invincible. And it was great that my wife was there. The other bruneians had finished earlier, some of them still at the finish line sharing their experience with each other.
And thus ends my story on my SUCCESSFUL 5.4 km openswim at 2hr 47mins, I was informed later by another bruneian that a professional open swimmer recorded his swim on his GPS to be 7km rather than the informed 5.4km. My guess was the drifted tanker caused us to swim around it at a longer distance. I also checked Google earth. The straight distance would have been 5.4km, but it might have been more 😀
At the end I got my wife to take picture of me at the finish line and later with my swim partner, number 6, whose name is apple sin.
My next marathon open swim I’m gonna need ginger pills and some bananas, I wouldn’t mind swimming with apple again :p I think she smiled everytime she breathed when swimming. But I am definitely gonna need a swimming partner…. Wifey?…… 🙂