Perfect Fat Loss Breakfast Saigon

Perfect Fat Loss Breakfast Saigon - Spinach Omelette

Looking for a quick powerful breakfast idea to start the day?!

Try out my spinach omelette. Doesn´t matter if you do it in the oven or in a pan, both works pretty well.

Why spinach is good for you?

Spinach is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.

Basically it has everything your body needs to start the day right.

We find most people over complicate recipes and try too hard to make food good for fat loss… the key is making it simple! Simple works… takes very little time and still tastes amazing


– 3 eggs

– 1-2 cups of spinach

– salt & pepper

– a bit of coconut oil or olive oil

Bon Appetite!!!

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Vietnam Post Natal Experts: Get Back in Shape After Pregnancy - Part 2

Get Back In Shape After Pregnancy - Part 2

Post Natal Exercise

How to Get Back in Shape After Pregnancy

Continuing from last months article (Part 1 – hormones to understand and focus on posture) here are 5 excellent tips that are proven to get you back to your pre-pregnancy shape, or better, in no time:

1 – It’s a Matter of Movement:

All of us need to move as much as possible and exercise just enough. This is easier said than done with a newborn baby and the sleep deprivation that comes with it. It is an overwhelming time and many mothers can’t even think of exercise. However, the detrimental effects of not moving and sitting for long periods are far worse. New mothers must ‘take it easy’… a good place to start is to simply walk around the block. If this feels ok then walk a little bit further the next day. Catch up on sleep by napping at the same time as your baby and move and play with them when they are awake. Do this until your doctor clears you to be able to do more (generally around 6 – 12 weeks)

2 – Core Rehab

The abdominal muscles become highly stretched and weakened due to pregnancy. As the foetus grows the abdominals are put under a lot of tension. So much so that the left and right sides of a women’s abdominal muscle (rectus abdominis) usually separates a few centimeters. This gap needs to reduce and heal before you can perform strenuous abdominal exercise. You must ‘mind the gap’ before you start those crunches or you’ll risk abdominal and spinal injury.

The muscles to focus on to rehabilitate your core and achieve the best tone and shape of your torso are the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. These are your deep inner unit abs. They are responsible for stabilizing the spine, supporting your organs and structure as well as enable the other abdominal muscles to work properly.

The pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. Kegels (or pelvic floor exercises) can help you avoid embarrassing accidents, like bladder leakage and passing gas by accident after delivery. They can also improve your sex life.

The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles you used to start and stop peeing. Squeeze these muscles as if you were trying to stop urinating. You should feel the muscles inside your vagina “lift.” You just did one Kegel. Relax the muscle and do it again. Begin slowly… Try squeezing your pelvic floor muscles for 3 seconds, then release for 3 seconds. Do this 10 times in a row. That’s one set. If you can’t do 10, do as many as you can and build up over time. Try to work up to two or three sets of 10 Kegels two to three times a day.

The transverse abdominis (TVA) is the deepest of the abdominal muscles.  The TVA has a corset like effect within the body, narrowing and flattening the abdomen. Its primary function is to stabilise the lumbar spine and pelvis before any movement of the limbs happen. The TVA is activated by pulling the belly button inward towards the spine; called abdominal hollowing.

Abdominal hollowing is probably easiest when in an all fours position, kneeling on your hands and knees. Completely relax your abdomen, then pull your belly button up and in towards the spine, “hollowing the stomach”, without changing the position of your black and pelvis. As with the pelvic floor exercises start with holding for 3 seconds and then gradually build upon this time, reps and sets. Other positions in which to practice this exercise include sitting, lying on your back with your arms down by your hips and lying on your stomach with your arms overhead.

It is essential to rebuild your inner unit strength before doing any crunches or other abdominal exercises. These muscles are crucial for good function and without them you are susceptible to injury.

Continue reading – Part 3 of Get Back into Shape After Pregnancy – for the final 3 tips we find essential to quickly regaining shape, function and confidence in your body.

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End of Year Quiz 2016

Saigon Health & Fitness Quiz 2017

2017 in Review

December is a time to reflect on the past 11 months and look forward to and plan for the up and coming 12 months. Instead of writing another article I like to see if you’ve been paying attention. How do you score on the below True or False quiz:

1. Magnesium deficiency can contribute to fat storage in the abdominal region = True | False

2. Poor gut health can prevent you from losing weight = True | False

3. HIIT is more effective at burning fat than steady state cardio = True | False

4. Body weight or callisthenic exercise is more beneficial than equipment based exercise = True | False

5. Vegetable based oils (like sunflower, sesame, canola, etc) are healthy = True | False

6. One of the biggest mistakes made with vegetarian diets is the amount of starch consumed = True | False

7. The follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen is high and progesterone low, is a time to focus on cardio training = True | False

8. The statement “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is based on science = True | False

9. Your metabolic rate is set and only changes with your weight = True | False

10. One of the most effective exercises for toning the bum/glutes is the Donkey Kick = True | False


1. True – Research suggests that magnesium deficiency is a big contributor to an enlarged waist. Magnesium plays a very important role in glucose regulation, it has the ability to decrease inflammation and anxiety, lower cortisol, improve HDL cholesterol levels, and adequate levels are absolutely critical for a lean body.

2. True – It’s very difficult to lose weight and be healthy if you don’t have a healthy gut. If your gut is not healthy, it will negatively affect the production of the neurotransmitters, leading to poor cognitive function, low mood, feelings of depression, and low motivation as well as poor digestion that prevents your body receiving the nutrients it requires

3. True – HIIT training burns more fat due to 1) improved insulin sensitivity 2) Anabolic Effect and 3) Afterburn effect

4. True – Movement based exercise focuses on increasing ROM, increasing mobility and strengthening joints. Movement based exercises, or calisthenics, not only increase your range it strengthens your secondary system, which includes ligaments, tendons, inter-connective tissue and fascia. By strengthening your secondary system this type of exercise massively helps in preventing injuries.

5. False – vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and usually contain large amounts of trans fatty acids. Many studies have now demonstrated that vegetable oils can cause serious harm to your health. Omega-6 oils are pro-inflammatory – inflammation leads to chronic disease.

6. True – The term vegetarian, to me, means someone who predominantly eats vegetables. However, what I regularly see many people following a vegetarian diet consisting mainly of pasta, bread, rice, dairy and other non-vegetable foods. To me this is a STARCHetarian – a huge mistake! Starchy foods hold very little mineral and vitamin content = empty calories

7. False – The best time to focus on resistance training is in the follicular phase of the menstruation cycle. The follicular phase has more estrogen, which means less fat storage, more fat burning and is a muscle gaining time. In this phase carbohydrate intake can be a little higher due to better insulin sensitivity which also helps with lean tissue development

8. False – It is not fact at all but rather a slogan! Seventh Day Adventists James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg invented “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” in the mid 19th century to sell their newly developed breakfast cereal foodstuffs. Kellogg was incredibly eccentric with his thoughts about breakfast believing that bland food would curb masturbation

9. False – The metabolism is adaptive and reactive to food, exercise and mood. We must continually vary our inputs and outputs, so that our bodies continue to adapt and change

10. False – The donkey kick exercise works core stability, in particular the Transversus Abdominis (TVA). The general mistake is to think that this exercise works the glutes. However, there is no resistance applied, so the glutes will not be overloaded sufficiently to cause significant “toning”.

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Super charge your diet

Saigon Super Charged Diet

Super Charge Your Festive Season

The Festive season is upon us. The expat life in Saigon, Vietnam makes it hard to stay health and fit at this time of year. Work and farewell parties equal large meals, drinking and late nights. All of which take it’s toll on the body, increasing toxin levels and negatively affecting your health.

To help counteract the fun and damage of these celebrations aim to include as many green superfoods as possible into your diet. Foods containing a lot of antioxidants are especially good for clearing out toxins, managing insulin and protecting the liver. 5 great superfoods that are available in Vietnam and, in my opinion, should be apart of everyone’s diet are:

Bok Choy

A great source of Vitamin C & A as well as bone healthy vitamin K. Bok Choy is a must have readily available vegetable in Vietnam containing a very rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and many vital phyto-nutrients. It also contains moderate levels of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Other Green Leafy Vegetables

Green vegetables of all kinds come loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help nourish the liver. Many also increase levels of glutathione, a vital element in the destruction of free radicals within the body. Vietnamese green leafy vegetables that are great to include and increase in your diet are water spinach- morning glory (Rau Muong), cabbage (Bap Cai), kohlrabi (Su Hao), and ceylon spinach (Rau Mung Toi)

Okra (Dau Bap)

Okra is a favourite of mine. It’s easy to cook, tastes great and is super healthy. Dau Bap contains potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. It’s low in calories and has high dietary fibre content, so it fills you up before it provides too much energy to make you fat. Okra has been advocated to help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes making it a great vegetable for the festive season.

Green tea (Tra Xanh Matcha)

Green tea, especially concentrated, powdered matcha green tea, is known to contain powerful nutrients known as catechins that act as antioxidants in the body, combatting free radicals within the blood, reducing liver inflammation and lowering the effects of oxidative stress on the digestive organs. For fat loss this is great as the liver plays a big role in the breakdown of fat within the body. Matcha tea also improves insulin sensitivity. Green tea elevates glucose uptake and supports fat burning making it a must have before any big meal/occasion, as it helps prevent carbs being converted to fat and stored. Green tea also detoxifies effectively and naturally, enhances mood and aids in concentration, and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar

Fresh herbs (Thao Duoc Tuoi)

A lot of people think that eating healthy doesn’t taste good… eating healthy actually tastes amazing! Most of the fresh spices and herbs provide excellent antioxidant levels and health benefits. Oregano, parsley, turmeric, coriander and cilantro are great to boost glutathione production, which many experts call “The Mother of All Antioxidants”, and also lower inflammation. For example, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound helpful in restoring healthy blood pressure, improving circulation and fighting chemical accumulation. Raw garlic is another great natural flavour enhancer that contains excellent health benefits. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that has long been regarded as a powerful agent that lowers inflammation, helps strengthen the liver while also increasing circulation and healthy blood flow.

Enjoy the festive season while also being mindful of your health and weight. Include these vegetables and herbs in your diet to help you recover quickly and stay in shape.

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Ineffective Exercises

Ineffective Exercises… Don’t Waste Your Gym Time

Ineffective Exercises… Don’t Waste Your Gym Time

Everyone has his or her favourite exercises when it comes to working-out. When 98% of people do not achieve the results they want from their efforts in the gym we need to look at what they are doing. The problem is that most of these people spend their precious workout time on exercises that are, generally speaking, a waste of time.

I’m not talking about exercises that may not be appropriate for certain individuals based upon their conditioning level or training goals. I am talking about exercises that, pretty much regardless of how much you do them, will not make significant changes in ”tone”, strength, or body composition. Here are five of the biggest gym time wasters:

#1. Triceps kickback:

Although it is one of the most included and used exercises for the back of the arms the triceps kickback is a real time waster. The reason being that the triceps are only placed under stress through a small range of the total motion, meaning that the triceps are only contracting in the last 10-15% of the movement. Much better alternatives to create shapely arms are the cable triceps pushdowns or a decline bench French press.

#2. Donkey Kicks (or kneeling hip extensions):

The donkey kick exercise should be considered an exercise that works core stability, in particular the Transversus Abdominis (TVA). The general mistake is to think that this exercise works the glutes. However, there is no resistance applied, so the glutes will not be overloaded sufficiently to cause significant “toning”. It’s like trying to tone the biceps by simply bending the arm at the elbow. Where as, the TVA is placed under considerable load, the weight of the moving leg, when performing its role of stabilising the lumber spine and pelvis. There are many better and much more functional exercises that will give you a lot more “bang for you butt” such as lunges, 1 leg squats and weighted glute bridges.

#3. The ABDuctor & ADDuctor machine:

In my opinion these two machines are simply oversize paperweights taking up valuable space on the gym floor. The ADDuctor machine only works the short adductor muscles, which will actually result in a bulky upper inner thigh. Likewise, the ABDuctor machine fails to deliver its promise of toning the glutes. The actual muscles being worked by sitting in the abduction machine are the piriformis and tensor fascia latae… I expect these are not the muscles you where hoping to tone. Furthermore, the adductor machine starts with your legs in a stretched position, making it easy to strain these inner thigh muscles.

These two isolated exercise machines don’t cause your body to burn much fuel, which will limit their effect on fat loss. It is much more effective, and safer, to work the inner and outer thighs with compound exercises. Side lunges, step-ups, Bulgarian squats, pile squats, for example.

#4. The iPhone Curl:

This is technically not an exercise but if you’re on your phone in the gym you are wasting time! You are at the gym to achieve a goal… socialise after your workout. Intensity is one of the most important components of your workout, getting distracted by your phone, resting too long means less results and taking up space when someone else could be exercising in your space.

Although any exercise you do in the gym has some benefit (and of course doing something is better than nothing), but these four exercises are on the “if I have nothing better to do than waste time list”. Train smarter by choosing the most effective and efficient exercises for your workouts.

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