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Articles

Markovnikov

 

If I remember anything from my three years of reading chemistry in high school, it got to be Markovnikov’s Rule. The rule states that with protic acid HX’s addiction to an asymmetric alkene, the hydrogen atom in the hydrogen halide forms a bond with the carbon atom in the alkene, bearing the greater number of hydrogen atoms.

Make sense? Yeah, not really, I can’t remember the chemistry of it. So, I googled the definition. But what stuck in my brain was how my chemistry teacher illustrates this empirical rule. He said, “the richer get richer, and the poorer get poorer.”

This wisdom represents another sad truth in life, such as how people can get weaker and weaker, barely able to accomplish what looks like regular daily activity.

 

The poorer get poorer; the weaker gets weaker

Most people do not enjoy being in pain. So, naturally, we avoid doing something that causes pain.

“My back already hurt; let’s not move so much and pick up heavy stuff.”

“I have an osteoarthritis, squatting hurts, let’s not do that.”

“My luggage is heavy; let’s get the cabin crew to lift it to the overhead compartment.”

“I am weak; let’s protect my weak body and continue to get weaker.”

Why? Because..

“Humans are not physically normal in the absence of hard physical effort.” ~Mark Rippetoe

Admit it! It’s a vicious cycle. The more we accept that we are weak and trying to hide from the hard physical effort, the more vulnerable we get.

 

Breaking the vicious cycle of getting weaker

Inside the body of a sedentary person, the function screams, “let’s get rid of those muscles!”

Why? Because muscle is an expensive organ for our metabolism, our body is good at managing their business. They see that those slackers barely have any job to do, yet, they receive a high salary. Let’s fire them!

Now you have less muscle mass, and you keep avoiding the challenging task that your body is designed to do. On one fine day, you can’t avoid it; you need to teach your kid to ride a bicycle. Or to move the furniture around. Then again, OUCHx2! More pain.

The best way to break the vicious cycle of getting weak is to expose yourself to the challenging physical effort. Little by little. Small increments every time. And thus, you will be on the brighter side of Markovnikov’s rule:

 

The stronger gets stronger.

 

 

Bio

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.

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