E SU IS `S EN M W O Nov–Dec 2016
Shy Nokman: “The Little Lifter”
Women in Fitness
not your ordinary CrossFit Coach
Tone that body on a Vegan Diet? Possible? POSSIBLE!
USD $3.99 GBP £3.49 BND $5.00
LET US SHOW YOU HOW
A WELL-TRAVELLED HEALTH ENTHUSIAST
Diversify your workout routine to gain more
SOFIA THEOLOGOU PLUS+ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:
+Health 6 Detox Juicing: Yay Or Nay?
+Fitness 10 Building Muscles on a Vegan Diet 12 Switch It Up: Diversifying your workout routine 16 How Fitness Can Empower Women
+Life Inspired 19 Amalina Abdullah 24 Sofia Theologou 31 Shy Nokman
+Travel 39 Temburong: Brunei’s most unexpected treasure An experience straight from the heart of the Green Jewel 45 A Beginner’s Guide To Backpacking
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39 Temburong: Brunei’s most unexpected treasure
Switch It Up: Diversifying your workout routine
A Beginner’s Guide To Backpacking
he end of the year is fast approaching and it’s only fitting that we talk about diets, workouts, getaways and juice detoxes. We provide invaluable information about how to go about a vegan diet the right way to keep you looking your best for the holiday season and discuss the fitness trend of juice detoxes. We also reveal why you should keep changing up your workout routine and why women shouldn’t only be working out to look a certain way. Plus+ is all about the women in the fitness industry this month and we had the pleasure of chatting with three such inspiring women. CrossFit coach Amalina Abdullah gives us insight into her active lifestyle, coaching methods and urges everyone to give anything a go. Then we have Shy Nokman, who divulges the
motivation and thought process behind her healthy and fit lifestyle. Last but not least, we feature the lovely Sofia Theologou on our cover this month as she tells us about her blog, how she got started on her fitness journey and how she maintains it. To wrap things up, we touch on the benefits of going on a solo trip and provide some useful tips on how to do so and highlight the unique and refreshing Sumbiling Ulu Special package — a chance to relax and get in touch with nature, right on our beautiful doorstep. Don’t forget you can follow us for the latest updates @PlusBrunei on Facebook and Instagram, where we post behind the scenes pics and sneak peeks of upcoming features. Many thanks and happy reading, The Plus Team
+Supported by: Ministry of Health (Brunei Darussalam) Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (Brunei Darussalam) Health Promotion Centre (Brunei Darussalam) Fitness Zone Royal Brunei Airlines Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd
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Plus Team +Photographer +Editor
Iman Murni Manisha Dhalani
+Featuring Sofia Theologou
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DETOX JUICING: YAY OR NAY?
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here are generally two schools of thought regarding the recent fad of detox juicing: the first, that it’s great for your body and your weight, and the second, that it’s unnecessary. Of course, there are some who are still on the fence about the whole situation. To start off, for those of you who aren’t aware, detox juicing is the process where you substitute regular meals or food intake with solely juices for a set time frame. The kind of juices, the duration of the detox, and the other factors that you have to consider are all dependent on what you want to achieve from juicing.
does not need a juice detox to help cleanse the body. According to naysayers, what the body needs is a balanced diet, not deprivation of essential food groups — for instance, protein. The truth of the matter, though, is simple — juicing is great for some people and may not be ideal for others. So how do you make the decision as to whether or not to juice? Firstly, identify your reason for juicing. Some actual benefits of replacing your lunch or dinner with
juices include gaining more access to fruits and vegetables, which in return reduces your intake of processed food. This is ideal for someone who has been binging on unhealthy food for too long a time and needs to give the body a break from this. On occasion, juicing can also help you identify foods that cause skin issues as you are eliminating some food groups from your diet. Having said that, take into consideration your current body health. Do you have high blood sugar? If yes, then fasting from
The Yay-team that represents detox juicing assures you that doing it will help you cleanse your system, possibly result in better weight management, and more importantly, help you cut back on certain cravings or food items that aren’t ideal for your body — for example, sugar. The Nay-parade, on the other hand, strongly believes that a healthy and functioning body has an “auto-detox” system, thanks to the liver and kidneys and therefore
whole foods is not a good option. You may opt to juice for one meal only (example for breakfast), which will give you the nutrients you need for the day and ample time for you to regulate your blood sugar with prescribed medication. If you do feel the need to give your body a break from all the excessive fast food and junk you have been consuming, an ideal situation would be to go on a juice detox for about three to four days every few months where you replace one meal by consuming juice only. Ensure your juice is packed with a good supply of nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, and maybe even some
milk or nuts, and is not just laden with too much sugar (read the packaging of store-bought juices to be on the safe side). Ultimately, observe your body’s reactions and be mindful of your health. Juices are a convenient way to add in more fruits and vegetables to your diet — but they are not a sure-fire method to get rid of all your troubles, excess weight or other health issues. For any uncertainties, consult your nutritionist first. ARTICLE BY: Manisha Dhalani
BUILDING MUSCLES ON A VEGAN DIET
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onsidering ditching meat for a healthier plantbased diet? Good on you!
Afraid that it’s going to affect your muscle-building regime in your quest to become fitter and more athletic? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! Vegan bodybuilding, as terminologies go, is gaining popularity amongst women and men alike. Deciding to abstain from consuming any sort of animal products can be a tough choice to make, what more if it might affect your fitness regime. Whatever your reason to go green however, the good news is that with proper care and knowledge, your choice of diet doesn’t have to get in the way of your muscle building dreams.
How, you ask? Here are some tips that you might want to keep at the back of your mind for future reference:
STOCK UP ON YOUR PLANT-PROTEIN
Traditionally, it is known to all that protein is the way to go when you’re focused on building muscles. Think lean chicken breasts and eggs. Being vegan doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be short of any protein supply. There’s tofu, tempeh, kale, spinach, broccoli and even new-and-improved protein shakes that are specially catered to the vegan crowd. And if you can’t find a shake that suits your vegan needs, then you can also blend a super-shake for yourself from home.
Ladies, whatever you do, do not deprive yourself of food. When building muscles, your body needs as much nutrients as possible and whether you are a meat-eater or vegan, there should be no massive reduction of the volume of food you consume. As any exercise regime and health diet would recommend, minimize your intake of processed food and stay hydrated as well. Think fresh fruits, vegetables, and toss in some nuts for that extra crunch in life. Ensure that your meals are wholesome (the right balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates) for the best results when it comes to muscle building.
UNDERSTAND YOUR MUSCLE GROWTH PROCESS
Even if we zoom in and focus on women athletes only, individual women go through their own process of muscle gain. Your muscle growth also depends on the particular region of the body you are focusing on. Start with being aware of your diet and your exercise regime. Should you feel weak during your exercise, consider improving your food intake. Add in other vital supplements to your diet such as iron, calcium, and vitamins to avoid having deficiencies of these. Vegans and vegetarians often require more volume of protein than regular meat-eaters so take note of how your body reacts and recovers from light or intensive workout sessions. Adjust your food intake accordingly and consult your fitness instructor or nutritionist if you are not seeing any progress. In short, eat well and stay healthy. Stock up on meal ideas for breakfast (rolled oats, scrambled tofu and smoothies), lunch (salads and wraps), and dinner (beanbased stews and stir-fried tempeh). Snack if you must. Going on a plant-based diet should not be your excuse to put the brakes on your athletic dreams. ARTICLE BY: Manisha Dhalani
SWITCH IT UP: DIVERSIFYING YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE D
oing the same workout routine for days on end can get a little boring. What’s worse is if said routine isn’t exactly generating the results you’ve been looking forward to. Plus, neither are you slimming down, building muscles, or feeling good about yourself. These are just some signs that it’s time you switch up your workout routine. The logic behind actually changing up your exercise regime is fairly simple. Your body becomes somewhat used to a particular type of exercise and spends less energy on recovery. Less energy spent means less calories burnt. In essence, it means the same workout may not give you the desired or consistent results in the long run. It may have passed a certain threshold that is dependent on individual bodies. In addition, focusing on one type of exercise may not provide
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sufficient energy to different parts of your body. Imagine if you only carry weights to build biceps but completely forget that your legs need some movement for good blood circulation and strength as well. There are numerous types of exercises that one can take up — from basic yoga to lifting weights, from dance exercise to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) — take your pick. The idea is to change up your routine from time to time, no matter what form of exercise you choose. If you’re into gentle exercise, try different postures to stretch different parts of the body. If you’re into weight lifting, consider changing your routine from seated dumbbells curls to standing dumbbells curls to change it up. Work opposing muscles and alternate between upper body and lower body workouts. Keep the whole body engaged.
Fitness+ This then leads us to the next burning question — how often do you change your workout routine? As cliché as it sounds, the answer is: it depends. It depends on your goals. If you’re seeing the results you want, stick to your current routine and maybe change it up if you get bored. If you aren’t getting results, change your routine immediately. It also depends on how often you workout. Everyday? Then maybe take a Thursday night off and then spend the Sunday doing light stretches instead of doing your regular routine. If you like, you can also change the intensity of your routine — maybe change sets, or even consider shortening your
rest times. Mix it up — do it one day and don’t do it the other. Take note to ensure that the transitions flow from one routine to the other. If you only engage in daily yoga, don’t jump to carrying heavy weights the next day. The idea is to work on the body as a whole, not to injure and cause further damage. Overall, pay attention to how you feel physically and mentally. Keep your workout routine exciting but stay focused on the goals you want to achieve. Remember — the key to exercise is to feel good about yourself. Have fun while you’re at it and don’t forget to stay on a healthy diet. ARTICLE BY: Manisha Dhalani
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FITNESS CAN EMPOWER WOMEN PLUS 17
hy is it that there are more men than women exercising or playing sports than women? Could it be the stigma that exercise is only for those who want to lose weight?
If there’s one other thing that having a fitness regime can do for a woman — it is to empower her. How, you ask?
Whatever the reason, in recent times, global movements have cropped up to encourage women to start focusing on fitness; reminding them that feeling good and healthy is equally as important, if not more important, than just looking good on the outside.
For starters, exercise amidst all of the above-mentioned benefits, will help you to become stronger. It gives you the ability to become a self-sufficient person. No longer do you need to call on someone else to carry things for you. You automatically become more independent in nature by having the ability to carry out what are usually male-dominated activities such as fixing a bulb, lifting the mattress and even protecting yourself in dangerous situations. Learning self-defense techniques is also an amazing workout.
While the motivation to work out differs from one woman to the other, there is a common misconception that the main reason to exercise is to “get in shape”. Throughout this issue, you’ll read multiple articles that zoom in on other benefits of fitness for women. Decreasing risk factors such as diabetes and heart attacks, helping maintain a certain weight to counter obesity, helping to improve an ailment, and even reducing risks of mental illness are just the tip of the iceberg.
Feeling more capable will in turn help to boost your confidence in social settings. Participating in community exercise programs or even joining a gym will improve your self-confidence as you will begin to understand and accept yourself better. You might even create a support network of fitness buddies for yourself to collaboratively strengthen your morale. Together, you can even address women rights issues that can be tackled through sports such as
Could it be that female-centric roles and responsibilities disallow us to have ample time to focus on our good health?
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gender-based violence and even managing other health or career issues. This in turn will foster a more open line of communication where women can rely on each other through healthy dialogue and activities that will make everyone feel good on the inside. Plus, with the endorphins released after a workout, you are bound to feel better about yourself, resulting in your ability to be more productive and think out of the box. It’ll help you start feeling more proud of yourself and your accomplishments. A fitness regime for a woman can work wonders for her on a mental, physical, spiritual and even professional level. Each woman has her own motivation that drives her to start working out, and whatever your reason may be, our only advice is to get started today. Find the right balance between eating healthy and engaging in the right kind of workout for yourself. “Not enough time” should no longer be an excuse. Break a sweat, women. It’s time to make your health a priority. ARTICLE BY: Manisha Dhalani
AMALINA ABDULLAH “STRONGER IN NUMBERS: THE TRIUMPH OF COLLECTIVE STRENGTH”
aving just came back from conquering Mt. Agung in Bali, I was lucky enough to spend some time with Amalina Abdullah — a light-spirited woman with a million-dollar smile. Growing up, Amalina was always active in sports, from running marathons to rollerblading for fun. It was only around five years ago when she started doing CrossFit. Fast forward to today, she is a proud Under Armour ambassador in Brunei, coaching over 20 people on an average night at GetFit CrossFit. What Amalina has got going for her is her emboldening character. She believes that everyone is capable of achieving greater things in health and fitness. Her technique is sound and simple — positive
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reinforcement and endless motivation. “You can do it — I say that to all my students because I genuinely believe that they can, and I just keep pushing them.” The way she cares for her students is what makes them keep coming back to her, despite the sweat and tears. CrossFit has become a big part of her life. So much so that she describes the box as her “happy place”. Her supportive community (who are now her second family) is a significant part of her progress and has contributed greatly to her current stage in her own personal fitness journey. As she shares her fitness endeavors, they all narrow back down to the importance of surrounding yourself with a strong support system because that is what will take you further.
What got you into fitness? I didn’t get into fitness so much as I kept doing what I enjoyed as a kid. I was always an active child, and loved putting myself out there. At school, whenever there was a Sports Day, guess who was first to sign up? I would do badminton, swimming, running and even horseback riding — anything to be out and about in nature. Being active and outdoors is a thing I do, a way of being, and it makes me happy. How long have you been in the fitness industry? And how long did it take you to achieve your current status? I started CrossFit five years ago, and two years before that I ran marathons and did a lot of
spinning. I just got to the point of wanting something more challenging because with running and spinning, I felt my body was doing the same thing. It became very efficient at these sports. At CrossFit, different muscles are challenged and you’re always on your toes. Even after five years, I’m still learning the moves. So back to the question, I’d say, five years and counting! Do you have an ‘eat, train, sleep, repeat’ philosophy? How do you keep fit with your busy schedule? In a way. Especially in the beginning, that philosophy was clear cut. Here’s the thing though, too much of doing that makes you feel like your fitness is a chore. From time to time, it’s good to
step out of that box, do something different and come back to it. The effect is that you remember why you loved it in the first place. It becomes fun again. So, eat, train, sleep, (be random), repeat! As for working with a busy schedule, if it’s not important to you, you wouldn’t make time. You can’t. If it is important to you, you will make time and effort. Family is important. Friends are important. Where I am in my life right now, I can make time for fitness. What keeps you motivated? Why is fitness important? Food! I love food. What is your diet? I’ve stuck to Paleo. I’ve tried other diets and none of them worked as
+Life inspired well. Everybody is different, so we have to respect that. How do you keep your training knowledge up to date? Talking to coaches — that’s the first thing. I read a lot, too — books, getting information from the internet, and sometimes watching YouTube. Being around people who have the same goals helps. How do you keep the spirits of people who are training with you up? One of the things I love about CrossFit is that it’s all about supporting each other. And I have to say I have a tender spot for beginners — those brave ones! It’s actually a relationship that you invest in. I get a buzz from seeing them move from strength to strength, so it’s definitely a two-way thing. As a coach, I do encourage others, and every coach has their own method. For me, when beginners say they can’t do a workout, I usually keep quiet. You know why? Because I trust them. I know that there’s a battle going on in their minds and from personal experience, I don’t interfere because I realize that everybody is capable of overcoming that negative talk. I just have to be around to support them when they do. Of course, sometimes I talk nice, and sometimes I say things more forcefully. But that bond you build is genuinely supportive, so whether I’m quietly encouraging, loudly cheering, or silently trusting, they know that I’ve got their back. Their success is my bonus. What is the key to your training success? I’d say two things: accept that it’s going to be tough, and that it’s going to be worth it. CrossFit has taught me a lot about the unknown. I’d say it trains me for uncertainty and builds my self-trust. It trains me mentally as well as physically. You see, no matter how long you’ve been in CrossFit,
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when you walk into a box, you have no idea what you’re in for. You see the Workout of the Day on the board and the next thing that shows up is your demons, talking so much negativity in your head and saying you can’t do it. But you’ve been here before — every time you start, you are here, and you prepare yourself for the struggle. Remember, you’re trying something different every time, so different muscles are being challenged. You decide to go for it. You huff, you puff, and you keep going. At the end, you are on the floor in your own pool of sweat and you can say to yourself, ‘I did it’. Recently I went up Mt Agung. As fit as I thought I was, I had that voice saying, ‘Oh, the struggle!’ and ‘What if I can’t reach the peak?’. This was a constant ringing in my ear. It was a hard climb, but you put one foot in front of the other. You trust that the hard work is worth it. And you know this the most when you’re up there, getting a peek at the best view ever. If you’d dropped in on a helicopter, you’d get the same view, but not the same feeling. That’s two different journeys. Always choose the one where the goal is being built as you are. How far are you in your personal fitness goals? Probably halfway. I’m not there yet, even though I’ve been in CrossFit for five years. In that time, I feel I’ve learnt so much. Thankfully, I don’t feel done with learning yet. That’s a constant. Golden question: Advice for a newbie in fitness? Come try it out. Let loose. Have fun. People think they need to be fit in order to try CrossFit, but that’s a myth. You can do anything. You come to CrossFit to test your fitness. And it’s the same whatever sport or activity you want to try — seriously just give it a go and have fun. If you end up not liking it, you don’t like it. Try something else. Let loose. Have fun.
INTERVIEWEE: Amalina Abdullah INTERVIEW BY: Iman Murni PHOTOGRAPHY: Azree
“BUT FIRST, LOVE YOURSELF”
SOFIA THEOLOGOU +Life inspired
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ood vibes. That is what I got when I first made Sofia Theologou’s acquaintance. She is a well-travelled health enthusiast that will be an inspiration to many who cross her path. Born and raised in Brunei, Sofia has all the temperament to lead women in Brunei through a lively health and fitness journey.
The concept of health and fitness is bigger than just a workout at the gym on a Tuesday night — it is also about self-love. Sofia carries her brand “Soft Dlight” to inspire and motivate others by sharing her own progression, struggles and experiences. Often, people turn to others to relate to — not only through achievements but also through struggles. Sofia’s own journey is one where she herself is still learning everyday. While it may be all about achieving goals for most, it is also important to reward yourself every now and then in order to boost your confidence and strive for your better self. What garnered your interest in health and fitness and of all things, why health and fitness? When did this happen? I was brought up to be active and outgoing at a very young age. My parents would take me and my sister swimming almost everyday. We would go horse riding and play tennis a lot, and in high-school I played football and touch rugby. I just loved being outdoors and building up a sweat so I guess you could say I’ve always been interested in fitness. Once in University for my degree
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and masters, things started to slow down. I only started getting back into the health and fitness lifestyle around the end of my Masters. One of my best friends kept going on about wanting to try horse riding, so I went with him and it was such a rush of nostalgia. It felt good!
I know that many other people have similar struggles and goals, which is what makes my blogging a way to share and motivate others to reach their goals.
Shortly after, we decided to start going to the gym. We hired a personal trainer and slowly my interest in fitness started to come back. I was tired of being ‘skinny fat’ (yes, that’s an actual thing) and I had always been self-conscious about my tummy. That started to become my motivation for the gym.
I don’t yet hold any certifications in order to teach or run a class by myself but maybe one day, that would be something I would like to do.
How long have you been in the health and fitness industry? How long did it take for you to achieve your current status? I started my journey with fitness 7 years ago. It was only last year, when I decided to create this blog to share the ups and downs of trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. This gave me the opportunity to share my story and stay focused on my goals. Consistency is key in whatever you put your mind to, whether it be fitness, healthy living or work.
Basically my job is to help myself and others lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Do you have a “Eat, sleep, train, repeat” philosophy? How do you keep fit with your busy schedule of work, family and friends, and everything in between? Sometimes I do get very focused and I fall into the routine of work — train — eat — sleep (which isn’t a bad thing). But most of the time, I like to mix it up. I try to live a very balanced lifestyle — going out to socialize, weekend trips with friends, working on my blog, watersports during the summer season (the best!). What works for me is the 80/20 (originally called The Pareto Principle) diet. As long as the majority of the time I am eating clean,
healthy, balanced meals, I can treat myself the other 20% of the time. Balance is key! I try my best to always have meals and snacks ready so I can just grab something while working. I also never have treats stocked at home! I find that there is always time to smash out a workout, even when I’m really busy with work. I almost always wake up an hour earlier and fit in a workout. Sure I’ll miss some days when I have a very tight
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deadline but when you are consistent, those days don’t even matter. What keeps you motivated? Your Inner circle I think it’s very important to surround yourself with people, whose values and habits support your lifestyle. My best friend is always there, to call me for training, for a run or a hike and vise versa. When I’m having a fairly unproductive day I can always count on my friends to put me back
in the right mindset. I believe that if you surround yourself with people that are active and have a positive energy about them, you will definitely get motivated! Setting realistic goals What really helps me is setting realistic but specific goals. For example, chin ups — I started with being able to do 1 but in the next month I’ll be able to do 3. It’s challenging but fun and also very do-able. Remember
Life inspired+ Don’t start a diet that has an expiration date, focus on a lifestyle that will last you forever. I do incorporate some supplements in my diet such as protein powder (as a form of additional protein, NOT a replacement) and will sometimes have BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acid), which help maintain muscle mass as well as improve workout intensity. A quote I love is, ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation’ by Julia Child. Don’t take things so seriously! How do you keep your fitness training knowledge up to date? I’m always up for trying new fitness trends. I try and research them as best as possible and experience them myself before writing a blog post about it. Going out and trying things as well as talking to people in the industry keeps me up to date. When meeting people in the industry I always have an open mind and believe that I can learn something from everyonehowever small. As a personal trainer — imagine a client is discouraged during a training session, how do you keep their spirits up?
FEATURE: Sofia Theologou INTERVIEW BY: Iman Murni PHOTOGRAPHY: Azree
Although not a personal trainer, a good technique is to remind the person as constantly as you can about the progress that he/she has achieved. For example, “Do you remember 3 months ago when you first started and you couldn’t even do one pushup?” Self-confidence is something that we build through resilience. What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success? 1. Staying on track
that goals are meant to excite and motivate you into achieving them.
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
Most athletes have special/specific dietary and nutritional routines, what is your diet?
No matter what you are doing, if you are consistent and stick to it, you will be successful!
Again, the 80/20 rule works best for me. I have tried hardcore diet plans, high protein diets, no carb diets, teatox, etc. but none of those work for me (and it is not sustainable in the long run). I am not a very happy person when I can’t eat what I want!
2. Self-Love Don’t think that when you reach your “goal” body that everything will be perfect. Strive for happiness and self-love. I think that’s another part of healthy living that a lot of people forget.
A lot of people start their journey thinking that there is something wrong with themselves. That’s the hardest part to get through — being able to accept and love yourself. Knowing how we’re spending our emotional, mental, financial, and physical energy and whether these activities bring back joy, connection, nurturing and creativity to our lives. Owning ourselves without feeling guilty, arrogant or entitled. How far are you in your personal fitness goals? I believe in being ‘chronically under construction’ because I feel that there is always room for improvement. My goals are constantly changing as I get to them. The first and most personal goal I achieved was being able to feel comfortable in my own body. I feel that it’s very important for people at whatever age to feel comfortable in their own skin. Change starts from within, and you are the only person who can make that change. I’m constantly going to set new goals and meet them for as long as I can. Golden question: What advice would you give anyone out there planning to start with fitness? I think life is too short to not try it. What do you have to lose? Fitness is not only about going to the gym. It can be a stroll on the beach, it can be hula hooping with your kids or playing football with your friends. Everyone should find something that they enjoy, so that they stick with it in the long run. Seeing that you travel a lot, it is undeniably different from the Bruneian scene. How does that contribute to your knowledge and interest in health and fitness? Brunei is where my journey started. Being able to travel and live abroad opens up the mind to various different cultures, perspectives and ways of life. I am lucky enough to have been able to experience the places and things that I have, and one of those experiences is seeing how different people around the world keep fit and healthy. One of my favourite practices is the afternoon ‘siesta’! It’s a perfect form of midday stress management, and let’s be real, who doesn’t love an afternoon nap?
“SHY NOKMAN: THE LITTLE LIFTER”
hen asked about people who inspire her, Shy Nokman answered “I am my own inspiration” in a heartbeat. Yes, that is the level of confidence she possesses, so fasten your seatbelts. Don’t let her name or petite physique fool you, Shy is self-assured and headstrong — not only when in fitness but also as an individual. When she quit her job as an investment lawyer at the Ministry of Finance, she pursued her own line of active wear, Palestrato and is also conducting small group fitness training classes for women under the name of “Fit Chic”. She is now in a bundle of fitness joints, so to say. Shy goes against the grain with her personal fitness, making her own progress without letting what others may say get her down. “There are people on social media telling me my abs would look nicer with the V thing but I just think, hey I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing this for me!” Fun fact: The muscular term for “that V thing” is abdominal oblique muscle! Her fitness philosophy is based on breaking any stereotype that is attached to women trying to better themselves through fitness in Brunei. She provides a space where women can improve themselves without feeling insecure or afraid to push the limits. Her confidence acts not only to convince but more importantly, to inspire the women who have openly questioned themselves every time they attend her classes, but find themselves planking on their backs with her yet another day. Our forty-minute long conversation was packed with her perspectives that ultimately led back to the essential belief that everyone is responsible for their own health and development. “Some people do a certain exercise because it’s what they know. Most of the time it’s something that doesn’t work for them and that’s when they don’t get results and just want to quit.” Essentially, you have to find your own rhythm and groove to it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to change
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it up. You are the only one who knows your body — so listen to it closely. It is a game of trial and error, after all. What sparked your interest in getting into fitness? Long story cut really short, when I came back from the UK after studying, I wasn’t exactly in the best shape of my life so I started going to Bukit Shahbandar with my dad. I eventually got a job and the working hours were 7.45am to 5.30pm with occasional overtime, which meant there’s usually no time to hike after work so I joined the gym. It kind of sparked from there — 5 years later, I’m still into it. I started off at Fitness Zone, doing all that stuff, got bored of that, moved on to Crossfit, got bored of that — and kept moving on. So now, I do a lot of different things and people don’t know me for just one thing. People know me as a fit girl who does pretty much anything because I can go from bending in yoga to weight lifting to teaching HIIT (high intensity interval training) movements to doing calisthenics. So you basically wanted to improve yourself or was it just something you wanted to try? It was more because I had already started to try and get fit. I thought it was a waste if I just sat at a desk, so when I had just started work, there were 10 of us who were new and we all joined the gym. I was the only one who lasted longer than 2 months, as they would come and go whereas I was going every day. It became more of a lifestyle than a routine. It wasn’t something like “Ah, I need to go to the gym”, it’s more like “Yes! I get to go to the gym today”. Can you say that it became part of your life? If I didn’t go to the gym, I would feel unfulfilled for the rest of the day, not even joking! I feed off happy endorphins — the endorphins you get from working out is something that makes you feel good, so if you’re sitting at a desk all day, you don’t get that. A workout is like your burst, your
+Life inspired injection of energy for the day and then after that you feel like you can do whatever at night. It seems you’ve been doing this non-stop since you first started. Pretty much. If I were to stop, it would be for 2 months for a rest interval. So, say if I hurt myself for whatever reason, I would obviously need that rest but I would still be doing stuff on the side. It’s never 100% rest. For example, if I was weightlifting and say I hurt my shoulder, I’d be like “alright,, cardio” and do something else. Do you have a “Eat, sleep, train, repeat” philosophy? No. Although I have a routine, it’s more of a fun kind of routine. I don’t think “Eat, sleep, train”, I wouldn’t go as far as knowing or having a schedule for what time I’m going be training like the kind of people who are like “4pm — I’m going to the gym.” My lifestyle is more when I have time or when I have a class; it’s not like a scheduled thing. I’m not going to think about it until I’m going to do it. I wouldn’t associate myself with those kinds of people, hats off to them, but it’s just not for me. When you think “Eat, sleep, train” you think really big buff guys and I’m not like that. How do you keep fit with your busy schedule? With work, family and friends, and everything in between. I like to think of it as a stream. If I’ve got work, that’s where the stream takes me and I have to make sure I finish everything before I can go to the gym so it’s work hard, play hard. What keeps you motivated? Different things. It’s been different things for the past 5 years — it started off wanting to look the part of a fitness person so it was anything associated with losing weight and being skinny as at the time that was what my perception was and then it grew to wanting to be muscular because I wasn’t happy being skinny. When I first started, I’d go spinning to lose weight because it’s full blown cardio but I also lost everything else with it so I started lifting more weights and I got obsessed with that. It’s more to look good, to feel good
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and for my health. It’s really the feel good factor, I’m doing it for myself but when you’re in that field, people start to look at you and start telling you what you should look like. There are people who will comment on my photos on Instagram and tell me I’d look better if I fit a certain look but you’re you, so at the end of the day you could be running and doing all those things, it’s just how your body reacts to the exercise. How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date? I read a lot and I have a lot of friends in the fitness industry so if they have articles or seminars that they’ve seen on the Internet, they share them with me. I also have a really good friend who used to work in the gyms, so we share knowledge and if there’s a question on anything, I’ll ask them and if they don’t know, I’ll do my own research. It’s not hard to find answers if you really want to learn and educate yourself. Just make sure you use the right source or back it up with another to make sure the
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information is accurate because there’s just so much information. When it comes to coaching and stuff, if it works, I’ll do it, if it doesn’t work then maybe that just wasn’t it. Do you have a specific diet? 80-20. Eat proper and eat whatever you want. It’s a misconception that you have to eat completely everything green. Moderation is important. You could literally die tomorrow, so just go for it! Treat yourself as long as you’re still working out. You’re not going to fall off the bandwagon if you have a slice of cake. Your fitness journey is literally a ball of energy, if you feed it negative energy, you’ll feel like crap. Feed it with positivity and you’ll fly high. If you’re beating yourself up over a small candy bar, feeding it negativity and telling yourself that you’re fat, your brain is going to react and you will put on weight — you are what you think. What advice would you give anyone out there who wants to get into fitness?
Just do it, Nike hit the nail on the head with that one. Anyone can say tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. You can say that everything else is more important but health is literally your wealth. If you don’t have your health, you can’t go to work, you can’t play with your kids, all that money that you have will go to all those medical bills. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you don’t want be one of those people attached to a dialysis machine. These things can be avoided and you can take yourself away from things with negative side effects. Go out there and exercise and change up your diet — you don’t have to give up everything, just have them as treats on the side. There are no shortcuts. FEATURE: Shy Nokman INTERVIEW BY: Iman Murni PHOTOGRAPHY: Azree
TEMBURONG: BRUNEI’S MOST UNEXPECTED TREASURE AN EXPERIENCE STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART OF THE GREEN JEWEL
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2016 has been quite a hectic and eventful year for most of us, in our own different ways. Perhaps it is time to give our mind, body and soul some rest from keeping up with the fast moving world. Well, guess what? You don’t have to wrack your brain for a short getaway destination; Temburong is the place to be. Leave all your preconceived notions about Temburong at the Kianggeh jetty and embark on a breathtaking journey with an open heart and mind. Plus+ had the privilege to experience Temburong in a three day, two night holiday package — The Sumbiling Ulu Special, to be specific. This holiday package is tailored for those looking to immerse themselves in a new culture and to go on an exciting adventure. It is the right mix of fun, learning and relaxation. Upon arrival at Sumbiling Eco village, you will get the chance to spend time with the local Ibans. They will be your guides through the village while sharing their vast knowledge on traditional herbal medicine and then preparing special dishes to be shared together. Lunch and dinner will consist of their specialties, which are bamboo chicken and a banana leaf spread — and the best part is that you get to prepare it yourself! Sumbiling Eco Village offers a unique camping experience best known as “glamping”. It is said to be the glamorous way to camp outdoors.
+Travel Most of it is untouched by man and is ready to be discovered. It is truly one of Brunei’s unexpected treasures. Temburong’s rivers will evoke a child-like wonder in you to swim around all day, with no care for the world. Cast your mind to photographs of nature taken by National Geographic. That is the kind of beauty you will witness in Ulu Ulu, only amplified by it being a reality. Ulu Ulu Resort is very convenient as it is located in the heart of the national park. Ulu Ulu is designed for your comfort and relaxation. The activities offered by Ulu Ulu are almost similar to Sumbiling’s, with an exception of a 950m high climb up to the Canopy Towers at sunrise. This resort will be Expect entertainment after dinner — an interactive session of “ngajat”, the traditional Iban dance and a shot at “menyumpit” (blowpipe). The night is reserved for a night walk where you will encounter a number of nocturnal animals. The rest of the night will be calm and silent, and this is where you get to wind down and bond with whoever it is in your company. Leslie Chiang, the Borneo Guide and founder of Sumbiling Eco Village, will take you on a sunrise hike the next morning, up to Bukit Birup where you can witness the first rays of the morning. The rest of the day will be packed with activities such as a “Rainforest Discovery” trek, water tubing and kayaking before leaving for Ulu Ulu Resort. Temburong is surrounded by stunning and impeccable rainforest. serving local and western dishes for all three meals. Ulu Ulu is also equipped with a game room and cinema for you to enjoy. But if you just feel like kicking back and relaxing, the river running through the resort will surely bring peace to your heart and mind. So, what are you waiting for? Book a holiday package through Brunei Tourism now, forget Malaysia or Thailand! There is a world class experience waiting for you just two hours away. All the stories, photos and videos really don’t do justice to Brunei’s Green Jewel. You have to go out there and be one with nature. It’s time to #GoTemburong. ARTICLE BY: Iman Murni
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A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO
BACKPACKING PLUS 45
ARTICLE BY: Manisha Dhalani
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hether you’re on a mission to “find yourself ” by going on a solo backpacking trip, or just tagging along with your friend or significant other for a trek, whether it be short distance or a month-long travel plan — women are now all on board the backpacking trend. And why should women fall behind? Technology has allowed us to stay connected and as long as you take safety precautions throughout your trip, all you need to do is to have fun and enjoy the experience. Plus, on top of allowing you to achieve personal goals such as living out new experiences, simply sight-seeing, overcoming fears, possibly learning new languages, or just making new memories for a fresh start in life, backpacking can provide a lot of benefits in terms of improving your fitness. © © LESS CHANCE OF WEIGHT ISSUES As you explore the new sights that you are visiting by foot, you burn more calories. This will help you control your weight so long as you manage your food intake while you’re on your adventure of a lifetime. © © REDUCES RISK FACTORS Backpacking adventures such as camping and trekking are great exercises to help pump your blood. This results in a stronger heart, allowing your body to mitigate the risk of getting a heart attack. It also improves cardio-respiratory fitness as breathing in fresh air may just give your lungs a new lease on life. © © REDUCES MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES New experiences will promote the release of endorphins and stimulate your mind — reducing the risks of any mental health issues. Backpacking on trips will see you walking more and treks will see you climbing and stretching more — all of which are exercise methods that are naturally anti-depressants. Plus, when we’re happy collecting good memories of our trips, our memory improves and so does the general functionality of our brain. If you’re considering to jump on the backpacking bandwagon, then we recommend that you take into consideration the following get-started tips, amongst many others:
© © GET A GOOD QUALITY BACKPACK Consider getting the size you need for the trip you plan to take. Longer journeys will require a bigger backpack. Consider functionality and ease-of-access. For example, Paxis® backpacks help you access your items with a lower pack that can swing to the front without needing to remove your bag from your shoulders. © © PACK GOOD APPAREL You will be expected to walk a lot as your main mode of transportation so prepare good quality and long-lasting shoes. Pack your clothes according to the weather of the place you’re visiting, too. If you’re visiting a tropical destination, throw in a raincoat or umbrella for the rainy days just in case. © © CHARGE ALL YOUR DEVICES While travelling, you may not have the luxury of getting access to plug-points to charge your phone, power bank or laptop. So get them all charged up prior to your trip. If one dies on you, at least you know you have a back up. © © CARRY SOME SNACKS WITH YOU Depending on the nature of your trip — you may be faced with delays or situations where you’re stuck at a location. While flights don’t allow you to carry liquid on board, try stocking up on some tidbits that will ensure you don’t go hungry during transit situations or long commutes with fixed stopovers. © © PLAN WITH AN OPEN MIND As the saying goes, things don’t always go according to plan. While your backpacking trip seems fullproof with your research done, routes planned out and maps handy, remember to go with the flow according to trip. Just remember to stay on your guard and be safe at all times. Keep emergency numbers accessible just in case. If this is your first time backpacking, start slowly. Test the waters with destinations closer to home, or if you’re hiking, start with lower grounds and work your way up. Backpacking can be a lot to handle for the newbie traveler so do a little research to know what you should expect but be open to exploring new sights, sounds and tastes. On top of that, backpacking is a rather economical option for keeping and staying fit for the adventure seekers out there. Stay hydrated, stay fit and have fun!
M I S TA K E S A R E P R O O F
THAT YOU ARE TRYING
V I C T O RYAT H L E T E S C L O SINCE 2014