Articles & Videos Author
by Joannes Marvin, SSC

The Tortoise And The Hare And Its Application To Your Fitness Goal

As a coach, I encounter clients who want to get strong fast, get their physique, body weight and body fat percentage goals ASAP on a regular basis. While there’s nothing wrong with setting an optimistic goal, there are things that I wish I could have explained better to them to give them a better perspective of time and feasibility. Here’s my attempt to do so, using the lessons learned from the familiar childhood bedtime story, The Tortoise and The Hare.

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What I Learned From Constantly Failing My Diet

If you have been following Hygieia’s social media pages for a while, you might remember me documenting my attempts to gain weight and failing. I felt that something was off, but didn’t know what was wrong. It was after consulting with an experienced dietician that knows how to work with people that I realised how having the right professional in your corner can make a difference. Here’s what I learned.

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Cheating Depth And A Lesson From Master Yoda

The population census conducted in hell revealed that the most prevalent “squat-sin” amongst the participants was cheating (depth) when they think that they might fail the next rep. Researcher and Starting Strength Coach, Joannes Marvin, shares his wisdom in preventing this embarrassing issue.

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How To Never Mentally Give Up A Rep – Stop Being a Coward

The timer goes off, it’s time to go for your PR. Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. You’re nervous, but on the surface you look calm and ready. The bar is loaded at a weight you’ve never done before. The last warm-up felt unusually heavy. Your mind unknowingly start to doubt yourself, “if the last warm-up already felt that heavy, can I really lift that weight on the bar”? Here are 5 ways to mentally prepare and push through a heavy lift.

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The Patient’s Dilemma

Ever been told by a doctor that you should avoid lifting weights, running, *insert physical activity here* because of your back, neck, shoulder or knee pain? At the same time, that same doctor recommends that you should strengthen the muscles around the structure that’s causing the pain as it’ll help stabilise the joint. So what should you do? You’re not alone in this dilemma – Coach Marvin had the same experience when he was diagnosed with a spine degenerative condition and was told to avoid his favourite sport. Here’s why the advice given by the doctor isn’t always sound.

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Survival Reaction In the Squat – The Chesty Edition

A heavy bar is loaded on your back. You start descending, bending your knees and hips so that your hip crease dips below the top of your patella. You try to get back up, but darn, it’s heavy! Here comes your natural instinct to survive – raising the chest up, in the hope that the bar will follow. Even worse, you might start looking up! Because you’ve got to look up to go up, right? Well, well. If this is you, please read this article to understand how your survival reaction is detrimental to the lift.

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Latihan Barbel adalah Obat yang Ampuh

“[S]aat ini tidak ada bukti yang pasti bahwa latihan kekuatan – atau program latihan dan diet lain – akan memperpanjang masa hidup secara signifikan. Tapi dengan bukti ilmiah yang banyak, walau memiliki kelemahan, secara kuat menunjukkan bahwa kita bisa mengubah arah penurunan.” [Bahasa Indonesia translation of Barbell Training is Big Medicine]

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How To Set up Safely For The Barbell Lifts

Learning to squat, press, bench, and deadlift; there’s no lack of tutorials showing you how to do each one of those correctly and safely. However, safety is not only dictated by your form or whether or not you are choosing the correct weight on the first day, but also knowing how to set up your equipment correctly. Here are some guidelines for your reference.

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Kekuatan & Barbel – Fondasi Kebugaran

Jika saya mendapatkan satu dolar setiap kali seorang klien atau atlet bertanya mengapa mereka harus melakukan squat dan tidak bisakah mereka melakukan lunge saja, atau pertanyaan-pertanyaan serupa dengan variasi latihan berbeda, saya mungkin mendapatkan cukup uang untuk membuka gym yang telah idamkan. Jika saya menambahkannya sebanyak pertanyaan serupa di forum, saya bahkan mungkin bisa membayar sewanya. [Indonesian translation of Strength & Barbells by fellow Starting Strength Coach, Michael Wolf]

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How Strong is Strong Enough?

You’ve been training for a while, and you noticed how much you’ve progressed. Your numbers have indeed been going up, but are you strong enough? Before worrying about whether or not you’re strong enough, take a moment and think about why you started strength training in the first place.

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The Five-second Rule

Have you heard of the five-second rule? Have you noticed yourself or seen anyone giving up on their lifts, although it looked relatively easy until they gave up?

If you are guilty of such a crime, don’t worry! You are not alone! The majority of the lifters belongs to Team “Let it go!”

Bro science tells us that there are only two kinds of lifters in this world – lifters that are strong and lifters who let it (the bar) go.

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Foolproof Back Tweak Fix

Earlier this month, I had a bad back tweak from squatting. It was terrible. I was limping for almost a week. At one point, it was so painful to wake up from bed; I was shaking for a few minutes standing up. Here’s a detailed story of how it happened, why it happened, and what I did to recover.

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Getting My Mom To Train

I love my parents, and I bet you do too. My goal to increase my parent’s quality of life by being physically independent and enjoying whatever they want to do for the rest of their life, however long their life will be.

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Consistency is Key

Oh boy, what a boring title! The content of this article could potentially be boring, as with the message that I’m trying to send across. What is said here is not a secret…

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My interest in fitness started when I was around 19 years old. Being overweight for most of my growing up years, I decided to do something about it. After months of not being able to achieve the desired results, I began poring through books and articles about training and nutrition. The more I read, the more interested I became in this field, and got better results when the the newly discovered knowledge was applied. After 1 year of persistence and hard work, I lost 24kg and felt fantastic. The sense of achievement motivated me to pursue a career in working with people to help them achieve their own fitness goals.

After achieving my weight loss goal, I tried a variety of training programs for a few years, looking for a new goal to train towards. After aimlessly moving around from program to program, I chanced upon a book called Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, written by renowned strength and conditioning expert, Mark Rippetoe. Little did I know that this book was about to change my life and coaching career.

At that point, I had experience training with barbells and was relatively familiar with it but never have I come across any material that gave such explicitly detailed explanations of how to perform the barbell lifts. I devoured the book and modified my lifting technique and program. In just a few months, I was pleasantly surprised by how much stronger he had become. I now had a new goal to work towards – getting strong.

With full confidence in the efficacy of the Starting Strength methodology, I began coaching my clients using this program and got them stronger than they ever thought was possible. The consistent success my clients achieved through the program cemented my confidence in Mark Rippetoe’s teachings. I then decided to pursue the credential of being a Starting Strength Coach and I’m currently the first and only certified coach in Singapore and South-East Asia

In my 9 years of experience, I have given talks and ran programs at numerous companies and worked with a diverse group clientele of all ages with a variety of goals. Today, I specialise in coaching people in their 40s, 50s and beyond because it brings me a great sense of satisfaction to be part of the process of improving this demographics’ health and quality of life by getting them stronger.