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How I convinced my dad to start strength training

A lot of people associate strength training for young men.

The truth is strength training is also really critical for women and senior citizens.

I used to be someone who used a lot of cardio i.e. Swimming and cycling. I only did strength training once a week.

However, after undergoing a health test with Mito Health last year, I realized my muscle mass was at the bottom 5% of the population.

I started to strength train for the past 6 months.

There were several benefits. I lost belly fat; improved metabolic rate and started to look better given that muscle is much denser than fat.

I learned that strength training did not just benefit young people but is especially important for senior citizens also.

For the elderly, it also significantly decreases your risk of injury and falls. They need it even more than younger people given that after the age of 30, muscle mass decreases by approximately 3-8% every decade. This rate of decline becomes even faster after the age of 60.

Greater muscle mass can help improve blood sugar management. Skeletal muscle helps increase insulin sensitivity. It also reduces blood sugar levels by removing glucose from the blood and sending it to muscle cells.

Strength training is not only good for the body but also the brain. Those who engage in it have a better cognitive function (e.g., processing speed, memory, and executive function).

Having experienced the benefits of strength training, I wanted my father to enjoy it as well.

I hope that he could increase his healthspan so that he can have a high quality of life even in old age.

I tried to convince him to do it for several months.

Initially, I was not successful because I would use negative reinforcement such as getting upset.

I confided in Heng Xuan about this. He pointed out that what I was doing was simply 拔苗助长.

This is a Chinese proverb used to describe the act of “pulling the grass to force it to grow”.

What I was doing does not help the situation and could worsen it.

I changed my approach and am sharing it here so that everyone can benefit too.

💪🏻 Lead by example. It is not enough for me to talk about strength training. I had to do it regularly also and show it to him. We now gym together every Sunday.

💪🏻 Hack the social media algorithm. I would send videos of people training to my dad and videos by fitness thought leaders. I also help him follow fitness accounts including Jeremy Ethier who uses science based approach to training. That way, Instagram will keep showing such content to my dad also, reinforcing good habits.

💪🏻 Praise. I would tell others about what my dad was doing; show that I was proud of him.

Hope that my dad can keep up these good habits.

If you are hoping to improve your parents’ health and encourage them to be active, I hope that this post would be helpful to you too.

It is hard to influence them but definitely worth not giving up on.

You are saving them from diseases; unrecoverable falls; healthcare costs and many horrible years of having a poor quality of life.

Recommendation: Creatine

Creatine is one most researched supplements on the planet.

It is produced naturally in the body.

I I take it to help me build muscle; perform better and boost cognitive function. It also helps with better skin.

Dr. Andrew Hubermann explains the other benefits in this video. So does Dr. Layne Norton.

Not only is Creatine completely flavourless but it's also easy to mix with any drink including coffee, tea, juice and even water!

I take one teaspoon per day with water in the morning.

I buy my creatine here (This is not a referral link).

Try it for a month and let me know what difference you see!

If you’re interested in evidence based health advice, I learned a lot from Dan Go newsletter. Do subscribe to his free newsletter here.

PS: There is also no evidence that creatine harms the liver and kidneys in healthy people who take standard doses. That said, people with preexisting liver or kidney concerns should consult a doctor before supplementing.

I was recently featured on my company video. Grateful to my boss for nominating me for this 🙂 

I really enjoy working at AlphaSense. Hope you’d sense that from this video as well.

I am a Singaporean tech worker and content creator. Every week, I share ideas on how we can become our best selves in our career; finance; health and relationships.

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