Ask Teh Tarik Memoirs: How Do You Improve Your Stamina? When Is the Best Time to Eat Chicken?

This is quite an exciting post, as this is the first time I am replying to a question posted by a reader. As you may know, I have  segment where people can post a fitness related question to me and I will do my level best to give a comprehensive answer for the question.

For the first one comes from reader Syed Shahar that ask: "How does one improve your running stamina?" and his second question "When is the best time to have chicken meals when dieting?"

How Do You Improve Your Running Stamina

[Running my first run!]

Back when I was first starting out my running hobby, my biggest obstacle was the fear that I may not have enough stamina to finish the entire 10km run and true enough, it was a grueling task for me to actually finish. Partly because I was not fit enough back then and of course, not enough practice.

So to get my stamina up in shape there are a few aspects that I would suggest people focus to when training.

Practice makes Perfect
With the risk of sounding cliche, this mantra is seriously important for to improve your stamina especially for runs.


 [Hitting the Happy Run, one kilometer at a time]

I keep telling people there is no fast way for one to improve one's stamina than to clock in the hours practicing your run on a regular basis. One of the biggest problem that people have is to have the motivation to keep going when practicing. I have to admit I do experience this barrier as well.

To combat this, bear in mind of these aspects:

1. Go in a group, as you are more likely to complete your practice runs on a regular basis when doing it with someone

2. Should you have to do it alone, always keep track of your practice. I'll explain more on this later.

3. Have a target each week on how much distance you want to target to complete by the end of the week. Increase the distance every two weeks to keep your progress regulated.

4. HAVE FUN RUNNING! If you have a look in my pictures, I actually do enjoy hitting the mile. The reason I say this is that at the point when you are tired, your mind will play tricks on you to tell you that its ok to stop or "you don't have to do this" mode. Keep yourself happy. Look around for those running with you. Blast the best music you got in your headphones when running. Anything that you need to do to keep it fun!

Tracking Your Progress
Nothing motivates a person more than bragging rights. That I believe is true.

One of the best method to improve your running stamina is to keep detailed track of your progress each week. That way, you can see yourself on how far you have gone and from there on, keep improving every time you hit the asphalt.

I've written a very detailed post here on using Endomondo, which is a free tracking app on your phone, as one example of keeping track on how you are doing. Also, you get to post your results on Facebook. Use that to brag people!

Use Interval Training Method
As I mentioned earlier, keep your training method realistic.

Start of by taking short runs around the block to get your body familiarized with what you are doing. Most cramps or injuries happen because of lack of preparation before running. Start with covering at least 1km run. Record your time.

So what you want to do is to see if you can improve that by going further each week, adding another kilometer in your run every two weeks. Keep doing this and try to go faster than the week before. You should be clocking in at least 3 running sessions per week.

Drop Your Weight
This is the part which hurts the ego a bit. To get your stamina back up, you need to shed some weight which honestly, makes a world of difference.

[Wrong side of 90kgs]

Before I was running, I was at about 89 - 90kgs of weight which was bearing me down a little bit and I have to be honest, my training regime dropped me down to about 79kgs which made a world of a difference with my stamina.The good news is that if you are hitting the mile with cardio training and in the same time watching what you eat, this would be the result of it, for sure.

When is The Best Time to Have Chicken?
When you feel like chicken tonight... haha lame-o joke...

But seriously, a lot of people do prefer chicken as a popular means of natural protein in our diet, considering that it is easy to get, its has been a part of our everyday diet and is relatively cheaper in comparison to other alternatives such as tuna or turkey.

So the question is, when is it the best time to have chicken as part of your meal?

[Your everyday Nasi Ayam. Is it good for your diet?]

The answer to that is depends. The reason why I say this is because we in Malaysia are blessed with many different ways of cooking chicken but the downside of that most of the time, it comes together with fatty oil and other things it is cooked with, which will kinda ruin your diet.

Consider the following variation.

Food Type with ChickenCalories (kcal)Protein (grams)Fat (grams)Carbs (grams)
Chicken Rice (single portion)
Nasi Lemak389.59.713.158.2
Fried Chicken (breast meat)23222129
Nandos Quarter Chicken (without sides)360.95216.90.2
KFC Original Recipe (per chicken)396292416
KFC Hot and Spicy (per chicken)505382923
Tandoori Chicken26131135
Homemade Grill Chicken280.43515.64
Soto Ayam (with Nasi Himpit)401.515.43.183
McDonalds Ayam Goreng319.118.911.91
McDonalds Chicken McNugget328.91721.716.4
McDonalds Spicy Chicken McDeluxe619.122.827.171
Subway Chicken and Bacon Ranch578363047   

[Chart Breakdown of the most Popular Chicken Dish in our Region]

Assuming that you are in the middle of your workout regime, which means that you are burning down your calorie intake, the best time for me to go with a chicken meal is to go during lunch. Rationale behind this is because your body will have enough time to burn down the extra fat and calories during the day and of course during your workout session.

Another option is to go for a chicken meal after workouts, during dinner. However, this is where you need to be slightly careful. Reason behind this is as mentioned, most of the Asian styled cooking does have other things included in it which messes up the calorie count.

Go lean and clean with chicken portion for dinner, and try to make dinner earlier, for example 7.30pm. This is because that you do not want your meals to be too close to your bedtime, as that is when your body burns the least. My suggestion is to go with a grill chicken portion and skip your rice for the night. Do check out other diet ideas on my Daily Diet Ideas segment!

So I really do hope that answers your question. Looking forward to more input from the readers in the near future!


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