The relevance of pre-participation screening

First published on The Sunday Times on 10 June 2018

Dr Yeo Tee Joo – Last year, I explained the importance of pre-participation screening (PPS), where a combination of blood tests, physical examination, electrocardiogram (ECG) and questions on medical history can help active individuals calculate their cardiovascular risk as well as identify potentially life-threatening heart conditions.

For the masses

While PPS can be performed for anyone, it is particularly beneficial for sedentary individuals who wish to start training, as well as those with pre-existing heart disease or cardiovascular risk factors. Based on results of the PPS, a healthcare provider (ideally a sports medicine physician or cardiologist) can then advise on the suitability of the race event you have in mind, and the appropriate duration and intensity of training.

For athletic individuals

Puzzling as it may sound, fitter active individuals, Asians in particular, also face challenges, but of a different nature, with their ECGs during PPS. This is because prolonged periods of training have conditioned their body and led to changes in the electrical system and structure of their heart. As a result, their ECG may look very different from the general population and others who are generally more sedentary.

To identify normal or training-related ECG features, healthcare providers refer to international recommendations, which have taken more than a decade of research to establish and refine. Unfortunately, these recommendations are currently based on predominantly Caucasian and African-Caribbean athletes, with minimal representation from Asia.

Recent local developments

The National University Hospital and Singapore Sports Institute are working together to bridge this knowledge gap by creating a Sports Cardiology Registry of national athletes’ ECGs in Singapore. This collection of localized data will be helpful in determining  “normal” baseline indicators for our local population and improve the robustness of PPS. In the long run, these findings can potentially be applied to, and benefit a wider population of recreational athletes.

In spite of the above challenges, PPS remains an important tool for anyone participating in sports. With a greater nationwide emphasis on, and enthusiasm in, fitness and active lifestyle, as well as increased participation in endurance events, there is no better time to get yourself screened.

Dr Yeo Tee Joo

Dr Yeo Tee Joo is a consultant with the National University Heart Centre, Singapore and part of the multidisciplinary team at the NUH Sports Centre. He is also the lead investigator for the Sports Cardiology Registry project.

Mok goes Queensland!

First published on mokyingren.com in June 2018

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The University of Queensland (UQ) alumnus shared on his rare and privileged opportunity in Queensland, on his university visits, exchange with influential leaders, efforts on inspiring the youth generation, sightseeing in the beautiful autumn, and finally watching the Commonwealth Games 2018 up close! Read more about it right HERE!

 

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“When I completed my Masters in Sports Medicine with the University of Queensland in 2016, it never crossed my mind that I would one day return to this town to visit some of the best universities and medical schools!”

Mok Ying Ren
Double SEA Games Gold Medallist
National Marathoner & Records Holder
Managed by ONEathlete

Special shout-out of thanks to The Government of Australia (TIQ) & our lovely ambassador host, Marion and her colleagues! 🙂

Importance of a Good Training Plan!

First published on The Sunday Times on 3 June 2018

Dr Ivan Low – Have you ever signed up for an endurance running event, got overly excited and immediately headed straight into a series of hard trainings, only to eventually succumb to injuries before even toeing the starting line? Or are you one of those who tend to wait until the very last minute to begin your training and end up struggling just to complete the race, or worse still, putting yourself at risk of serious injuries and harm through over-exertion during the race?

If your answer is yes to any of the above, you are probably not alone. Many people tend to underestimate the importance of adhering to a systematic training program, and this is a particularly common mistake amongst recreational runners. A well-designed training plan is important for the safety and success of all endurance runners, and not just requirement for elite athletes only.

So, how do we know if a training plan is well-designed? Often, good training programs abide by a few key principles which can then help us gauge the suitability of one’s training plan.

1. Principle of Individuality

Individuals differ in their capacity to adapt to exercise training as a result of differences in their hereditary and physiological build. This explains why some runners may experience significant improvement after adopting a given training program while others exhibit little or no progress despite going through to the same program. A good training plan has to be specific and tailored not only to the individual’s fitness, but also to his/her’s training capacity and needs.

2. Principle of Specificity

Exercise adaptations are specific to the volume, intensity and type of training. In other words, if you wish to race fast, you have to train fast;t if you wish to race far, you have to train long!

3. Principle of Progressive Overload

A systematic increase in training demand is also necessary for the continuous improvement of one’s fitness . Good training regimes gradually condition your body towards the specific physical and mental demands of your upcoming race. It also ensures that as you edge closer towards your fitness goal, the risk of unintended injuries is minimised.

4. Principle of Variation or Periodization

A good endurance training program should not be repetitive, dull and one-dimensional. The prescribed volume, intensity and mode of training should vary systematically , so that the training stimulus remains challenging and effective over the entire training cycle, or even across multiple cycles within a training season.

5. Principle of Recovery and Reversibility

During rest, and not training, our body repairs itself and gets stronger. Therefore recovery periods or days should be periodically incorporated into training programs to afford the body sufficient recovery before the next bout of training. Training too hard or too soon is one of the most common and leading cause of overtraining or overuse injuries.

On the other hand, if trainings are spaced too far apart, the body may lose the stimuli and benefits gained from the previous session. Fitness gained can, and will, be lost (detraining) when one stops exercising for a prolonged period. Therefore, in order to ensure optimal training gain, an ideal training program should allow just enough time for recovery before introducing the next training stimulus. Remember, consistency is key!

So, is there a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to training prescription? Unfortunately not. One man’s meat may be another man’s poison. Athletes should never blindly adhere to a training regime just because it has worked well for others. Finding an optimal training program may also sometimes involve a certain degree of trial and error.

Nonetheless, it is always good to begin with a training program that has been tried and tested, and gradually tweak it to suit your specific needs and abilities. If you are not sure where to start, try the #RunWithMok Training Plan, by runONE above this article!

Dr. Ivan Low Cherh Chiet is an Instructor and Exercise Physiologist in the Department of Physiology, NUS. He ran the Boston Marathon in 2015 and also extends his expertise to runONE’s training program for ST Run 2017 and 2018.

On your Mok, set, go!

First published on The Sunday Times, 24 May 2018

Mok Ying Ren – Singaporeans are known to be a rather busy lot, with very limited time for exercise, myself included.

So this year’s #RunWithMok programme – which runONE (the official training partner) and I will helm for the second straight edition – is designed to help you build and maintain your cardiovascular health in a time-efficient manner.

Its structure will be in line with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for physical activity (30 minutes on most days of the week) and the American College of Sports Medicine’s guidelines (150 minutes each week).

#RunWithMok

Similar to last year, runONE will be releasing weekly training programmes in the Sunday Times over the course of the next 16 weeks to guide you as you prepare for the Sept 23 ST Run.

You can also find the programme on the ST Run’s website https://runone.co/strun2018

On social media, use the #runONE and #STRun hashtags for your runs to let us be a part of your running journey.

#AskMok

Following feedback from last year’s readers, runONE will be tweaking its approach in determining the topics addressed in this column.

Instead of us choosing the content to be covered in this column, we would like to invite readers to come forward with any burning questions which you may have in relation to running and physical fitness.

We will then select a question and address your concerns to the best of our abilities.

So fire away, submit your questions to https://runone.co/askmok/ and the question featured here might just be yours!

#LearnWithMok

Learning is a lifelong journey. Together with runONE’s partners and experts from various fields, we will be revealing unique training ideas periodically to enable you to spice up your personal running journey.

I, together with fellow ONEathlete(s) and national marathoners Ashley Liew and Evan Chee, will be hosting two running clinics in the lead-up to the ST Run.

We will share with you the theories behind the different approaches to running efficiently, and take you through the practical aspects of running to help boost your speed and performance.

So what are you waiting for?

Sign up for the 2018 ST Run now and take your running to the next level as you #RunwithMok

Mok Ying Ren is a Double SEA Games Gold Medallist. He is also National Marathoner & Record Holder. He is currently Managed by ONEathlete, and is the ambassador for New Balance, 100PLUS and Futuro.

Run For Good

First published on NS MAN Magazine – May/June 2018 Issue

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A line-up of notable national athletes kicked off the year’s first charity run at a launch event at SAFRA Toa Payoh’s EnergyOne gym.

Led by #ONEathlete and National Marathoner, Mok Ying Ren, these athletes marked the commencement of the 3M Team Futuro Challenge, encouraging participants to run at least a 2,000km from 20 Jan to 4 Feb. Achieving this target would help raise $30,000 worth of Futuro-brand products for under-reached individuals and community groups.

At the launch held on 19 Jan, Mok was joined by fellow ONEathlete(s), National Tennis Player, Shaheed Alam and National Badminton Player, Ren-ne Ong.

Read more via image below.

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30 Interesting Facts About Ashley Liew That Most People Don’t Know

As a National marathoner and ONEathlete, Ashley Liew has represented Singapore twice at South East Asian Games (SEA Games), won Singapore Marathon 2012 Local category and is the 2nd-fastest all-time Singaporean for the Ironman triathlon distance (10h3m29s at Ironman Texas 2012).

 

Ashley shares with RunSociety 30 truths that most people don’t know.

It includes a vivid history of his overweight days, to his desperation to lose it, to his road to running, to his usual running companions & his lil Tiger, to his guilty pleasures,  to the lady who swopped him of his feet, to what he does in the day (and night), to who has got his back on.. phew!

Read all about the Pierre de Coubertin World Trophy Recipient, right here! Read more

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Top 10 local fitness role models worth following on Instagram

Men’s Health Singapore – May 2018 issue covers Top 10 local fitness role models worth following on Instagram! ONEathlete Mok Ying Ren makes it to the list and shares with them what got him started, and what still keeps him going!

 

 

Take your time to find your strength and ultimately enjoy the journey,” Ying Ren advices. He believes that once you have found your strength, you should use it to encourage others as well. “It will not only make a difference to them, it will also make a difference to you.

 

Check out the full list of fitness role models to see who made it to the exclusive list and read their stories too!

  • Roxanne Gan @roxanne_yoga
  • Mok Ying Ren @mokyingren #runwithmok
  • Christy Chng @christychng
  • Leroy Kiang @ketobeast
  • Soh Rui Yong @runsohfast
  • Tyen Rasif @tyenstagram
  • Melissa Sarah Wee @melissasarahwee
  • Darren Stephen Lim @dslasher
  • Adrian Tan @adriantanfitness
  • Calvin Kang @frappecal

 

Read more about it in its latest issue! Digital copies can be purchased here: https://www.magzter.com/SG/SPH-Magazines-Pte-Ltd/Men’s-Health-Singapore/Lifestyle/ (Top stylised photo by Men’s Health Singapore)

 



More from Menshealth.com.sg / Weight Loss & Nutrition

Here’s What Runner Mok Ying Ren Eats To Prepare For Long-Distance Runs

Home cooked meal by 'Chef' Mok Ying Ren
Home cooked meal by ‘Chef’ Mok Ying Ren

 

Mok’s food diary

6am: Breakfast

One bowl of high-fibre cereal, one glass of low-fat milk, half cup of yogurt, one cup of coffee with milk.

Noon: Lunch

One bowl of white rice, 11/2 cup of vegetables, one palm-sized piece of steamed fish.

4pm: Pre-run snack

One slice of fruit, one snack bar.

5pm: Training

No food or fluid intake.

6 or 7pm: Post-training

Half to one litre of non-carbonated sports drink, one glass of low-fat chocolate milk.

8 or 9pm: Dinner

One bowl of brown rice, one cup of vegetables, one palm- sized piece of meat/fish (steamed/stir fried), one slice of fruit.

 

Read more here: http://www.menshealth.com.sg/weight-loss-nutrition/heres-what-runner-mok-ying-ren-eats-prepare-long-distance-runs/ 

Hawkins vied, but Shelley rises victorious!

Opinion piece by Ben Moreau, ONEathlete & Commonwealth Games Athlete

Live from Commonwealth Games 2018 @ Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

First published on BenMoreau.net


 

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The writer Ben Moreau (extreme right), running the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Image from CNN.

 

Watching the epic performances out there today has inspired me to write something as I sit at Brisbane airport about to head home. I’m not going to write an analysis of the race as others will do that better than myself, but I wanted to give my thoughts on a few debates I’ve seen flying around on Twitter and online regarding race tactics and competition ‘ethics’. Read more on the race from original news sources: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/6064426/callum-hawkins-released-from-hospital-after-collapsing-commonwealth-games/

 

I’m in awe of what Callum Hawkins tried to do today and it was sickening to see him in such distress and clearly desperate to continue, even once his body had given up on him. I’m also in awe (although not QUITE as much) of Mike Shelley’s run today – his Games record is a massive achievement and yet again he was Mr. Consistent with a fantastic run. Mike was clearly on the edge also and for a while at 40-41km I thought he would be going the same way as Callum as he looked a little wobbly. For anyone who didn’t see the footage, Callum essentially collapsed at 39.5km, got up after a few failed efforts, struggled on for another 800m and then collapsed again at the 40km mark, losing his 2 minute advantage on Mike Shelley in 2nd. I’m sure it’s on YouTube.

 

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Image from Metro

 

Debate 1: Should Mike Shelley have stopped to help when he passed Callum?

When Mike passed Callum, lying prone on the floor, there was an official with him, although admittedly not doing much. Mike ran past him and has had some stick for not being ‘sportsmanlike’ and offering support. My view is he did the right thing. If Callum was in the middle of nowhere and Mike had seen him collapse then that’s a different matter but remember that Mike has no idea why he’s on the floor. He hasn’t seen the distressing scenes we all saw. Callum is also being attended to – what on earth can Mike do to help? Also, Mike looked pretty shaky himself and probably was battling on just getting the last 2km over with – stopping could have finished him and I’ve been in that state before – you barely take in what’s going on around you but to get to the finish. Just keep the strides moving. What if Mike stops and still no ambulance arrives – should Robbie Simpson in 3rd stop too? Should all Athletes just gather round until Callum has enough attention and then race the last 2km? It makes no sense.

 

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Image from News@TechMasair

 

Debate 2: Did Callum go too hard too soon?

Callum was always looking to make a move and got a 41sec lead between 25-30km with a 15.20 5km split. Mike Shelley and others hung back, and Callum then extended his lead by another minute at 30-35km with a similar split. It’s very easy to say he went too hard too soon in hindsight but what’s interesting is that he never slowed (until he came to a hard stop!). He didn’t seem to be tiring – even his 35-40km split was the fastest in the field and that included nearly a minute on the floor and then 500m or so of running afterwards. His pace judgment seemed spot on, but the heat (I assume) just zapped him and must have come from nowhere. Usually when someone goes too hard or misjudges pace in a marathon you slow gradually over several kilometres, but this never happened to Callum. I think it’s fair to say he wouldn’t have suffered as much if he’d have made his move later and he probably should have been more cautious seeing as the heat was always going to be a factor – but I imagine he felt incredibly comfortable and the pace was fine for him. It’s hard to predict a massive collapse at 40km when you feel fine at 38km, and if he was to have gradually faded, then having a 2minute lead is quite a handy thing to have should he have started to slow…. Actually collapsing and being unable to move is pretty rare! I would say he made the right decisions not having the benefit of hindsight.

 

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The writer Ben Moreau, running the 2014 Commonwealth Games right behind Derek Hawkins (Callum Hawkin’s brother). Image from CNN.

 

Debate 3: Was the race badly organized?

There are two debates here – why did it start so late and why did it take so long for Callum to get medical attention? The first is (I suspect) due to TV broadcasting demands – the men started at 8.30am and it was 28C by 10.30am and with the heat off the road, it felt way hotter. I don’t want to see a race where conditions drive the result more than athletic ability and I do believe it should have started earlier. I don’t buy into the “it’s about being tough – make it as hard as possible” argument. It’s about who can run the fastest over 42.2km, not who can cope with heat the best.

As for the medical attention – it’s clearly very hard to monitor every athlete and be immediate when an athlete collapses over 42.2km, but Callum collapsed at 39.5km, got up, carried on for 2 more minutes and then went down again. Medics should have been flagged when he collapsed the first time and alongside. I understand an athlete will be DQ’d should he be given any assistance, but they just weren’t there fast enough to even ask the question. Given the heat, they should have anticipated issues in 30-42.2.km and it would have been pretty easy to have mobile medics ready to go and on alert in vehicles at this point. He was very lucky not to knock himself out when he went down the second time.

It was an amazing race to watch and Callum is exceptionally talented and one of the gutsiest runners I know – I’m sure he’ll be back. Huge kudos to all who ran – was a tough day out there.


(Editor’s note: RunONE spoke to a source close to Hawkins who confirms that he has been recovering well, but is unable to grant media interviews yet. )

Run ONE again Callum Hawkins! Till then, prayers and love from Singapore!

 

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Image from Hawkin’s Twitter

Callum Hawkins is a Marathon runner and was a hot contender for the Commonwealth Games Marathon Gold. The 2016 British Marathon Champion is also a New Balance UK Ambassador, and member of #TeamScotland! 

 

(ONE)Athlete Passionately Giving Back to Society

First published by MCCY Press Release / Excerpt of Min Grace Fu speech

8. Our athletes play highly significant and meaningful roles, both in and outside the sporting arena. Your sporting talent and achievements put you in a unique position as role models; so I urge you – all of you nominated today and all those who are striving to be on the podium – to use this privileged position to inspire others to give back to fellow Singaporeans, to bring positive change to our community. And I’m heartened that our athletes have begun doing so.

9. I’d just like to quote one or two of them. Yip Pin Xiu, the Straits Times Athlete of the Year in 2015, is one such example. Pin Xiu was named as an athlete mentor for last year’s ASEAN Para Games, as well as the chef de mission for the Singapore contingent at the Asian Youth Para Games in Dubai last December, where she was able to use her vast experience from previous major Games to mentor a young team, and to inspire them to greater heights. I remember a quote from her: “I want to give back to society and help the future generation of athletes. Other than showing others what sports can do, I hope to create more awareness that ‘disabled does not mean unabled, and also to inspire others around me.”

 

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Min Grace Fu (left most) with Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & National Record Holder, Mok Ying Ren (second from left); during the baton run in May 2017. 

 

10. We also saw that three Team Singapore athletes – Mok Ying Ren (marathon), Shaheed Alam (tennis), and Ren-ne Ong (badminton)  – took part in a public fundraising event just two months ago to help raise $10,000 worth of sporting apparel for youth under SportCares. On behalf of the youth, we thank these athletes for doing their part to really make an impact and improve the lives of others.

(Ed note: Read More https://runone.co/2018/01/19/team-futuro-trio-run-the-talk-for-sportcares/ )

 

11. These are just two examples of how our athletes are using sport as a force for good. I’m happy that many of you are doing likewise, and I encourage you to connect with others in your community, reach out to the less fortunate, and be role models for younger athletes, even as you train hard and strive for sporting success.

Shaheed Alam: To Greater Heights

First published on @RunSG Run Inspiration

 

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From left to right : Shaheed Alam, Mok Ying Ren and Ren-ne Ong, the Team Futuro Ambassadors, managed by ONEathlete

 

“I do not really have a running “coach” who dishes out running advice at the moment, but when the chance arises I find myself invariably trying to emulate Mok Ying Ren’s running form close. Though I’m doubtful if it’s actually beneficial for my running abilities, I feel that it’s more a reflection of how I see him as a role model who I can look up to. I’ve heard so much about him before I got to know him personally, and he’s been a really awesome friend as well as a trustworthy brotherly figure to me.” – ONEathlete and Team Futuro Ambassador, Shaheed Alam

Read more https://www.runmagazine.asia/shaheed-alam-to-greater-heights/