Shape Up

Taking the less intense road to fitness

The idea of restarting your fitness journey to get back in shape now feels that much more appealing, yet intimidating all the same. A trainer from HomeTeamNS’ Fitness Workz shares how even less-intense activities, spanning lifestyle changes to leisure sports, can help.



COVID-19 has disrupted our daily lives and diminished the feasibility of traditional routes to maintaining health and wellness – such as regular gym sessions. Even with Singapore now opening up, this means getting back into the swing of your old fitness routine may not be so easy after all. Of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way. After all, nobody wants to be the butt of another “pandemic physique” joke.

Unsure of what to do, now that access to that bench-press and rowing machine is limited? Our expert breaks down the types of lower-intensity exercises readily available in and about the neighbourhood to help you ease back into old habits.


The prevalence of remote working arrangements has inevitably resulted in many of us being holed up at home in front of our desktops all day – and sometimes all night (cue related excuses for lack of exercise).

That being said, activities for keeping fit need not be confined to full-on sessions at the gym. As a starting point, Fitness Workz trainer Aidid Haidil Bin Mohamed Said puts forth stair-climbing as a solution that can be tailored for a range of fitness levels and goals.

Instead of taking the lift up to your home, one could use the stairs to improve cardiovascular strength and endurance. The descent, on the other hand, can build core muscles and improve balance.

If that sounds a little too daunting, Mr Aidid notes that the intensity of a stair-climbing routine can be easily adjusted. “For example, the way to make it less intense is to climb up the stairs but use the lift to go back down instead and continue the same drill again!” he says.

Mr Aidid adds that a whole range of exercises can also be completed in the comfort of one’s home, even without ‘proper’ equipment. For instance, a single towel is a flexible tool that can be used for bend-over rows, shoulder presses and the like.

“Apart from that, you could use a moveable chair to do your chest presses, a bag filled with books for some weights when you do your squats, or even as simple as a wall for you to use to do your wall push-ups.” he shares.


Social butterflies might consider setting their sights on casual sports to keep both their minds and bodies in shape. Take, for instance, leisure football – a group activity that is engaging on all fronts; keeping players up on their feet while also in constant interaction with their teammates. The various HomeTeamNS Clubhouses and Fitness Workz gyms also offer a range of group sports and exercise courses available that are a good opportunity for members to keep fit.

While prevailing social-distancing rules make for smaller group sizes, a good game with your football buddies still offers much of the same benefit. A football enthusiast himself, Mr Aidid recounts hardly ever feeling like he’s exercising while playing – having fun with friends is the proverbial goal, after all. “Your cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular system will get better as well!” he adds.

Group sports aren’t the only way to get fit while staying social. Partnering with a workout buddy is often mutually beneficial, as each of you constantly pushes the other to greater fitness heights.

For a change in pace and to ease stress levels, why not try activities such as yoga offered by Fitness Workz with a friend? As a low-intensity activity, yoga aims to improve one’s flexibility, balance, and coordination in order to alleviate posture issues and lower back pain.

Alternatively, those interested in strengthening their core and muscle balance can opt for pilates – an exercise regime that focuses on low-impact flexibility while building muscular strength and movement endurance — instead.


For individuals taking their first steps towards a less sedentary lifestyle, Aidid suggests that they first play some sports to gain momentum, before moving on to home workouts.

Beginners can ease into a routine by incorporating half-hour activity sessions twice a week; the length and frequency of these sessions can be increased following improvements in fitness, endurance and strength. Aside from eating well and having sufficient sleep, beginners should also draw up a workout schedule to support a work-life-exercise balance. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” warns Mr Aidid.

Consistency is critical in order to get the most out of one’s fitness routine. Getting fit carries a multitude of benefits, including reducing the risk of heart attacks, improving weight management, strengthening the muscular system, as well as boosting mental wellness and alertness. This is not to mention looking great once you get in shape!

At the end of the day, remember to just keep going at your own pace. As Confucius once said: It does not matter how fast you go, so long as you do not stop.


A Mid-Autumn to remember

The Mid-Autumn festival is upon us. From DIY lanterns and decorations, to delicious mooncakes and activities at HomeTeamNS, here are some fun ways to make this year’s festivities memorable.



The Mid-Autumn festival is upon us. From DIY lanterns and decorations, to delicious mooncakes and activities at HomeTeamNS, here are some fun ways to make this year’s festivities memorable.

As a marker to the second half of the year, the Mid-Autumn festival is easily one of the most understated celebrations in Singapore. One can think of it as the quiet sibling of Chinese New Year, with traditional celebrations focused on intimate gatherings while appreciating the bright celestial entity with some pastry and beverage.

While some of the original festivities included activities are not so relevant today (like lantern riddles), others have remained popular and even been updated with novel interpretations for the urbanite to enjoy. Here’s how you can create some charming memories for this romantic event, for friends and family alike!


What’s Mid-Autumn without mooncakes? So much so that the festival is even called the Mooncake Festival at times. The traditional pastry is a baked round filled with lotus or red bean paste and includes an optional salted egg yolk to represent the moon and harmony.

As the festival also typically represents unions and gatherings, what better way to enjoy the event than a bonding session making mooncakes? HomeTeamNS-JOM is holding classes with help from baking school Genius R Us.

 If you’re keen to pursue a more extensive class, Itsi Baking Studio has a 10-hour class covering up to five varieties (teochew, snowskin and even agar agar). Or if you’re looking at something for the kids, Plaza Singapura has a workshop that includes a 1-month unlimited pass to ‘live’ storytelling on the story behind Mid-Autumn Festival.

Prefer a cosier and more relaxed experience? Head over to Bakestarters to buy their no-bake snowskin mooncake kits to have the experience at home. Kiddos will love the ones from Gobblin, which come in adorable rabbit designs and have a surprise colour element! For an extra touch of lux, Hotel Intercontinental is roping in award-winning restaurant Man Fu Yuan’s Executive Chinese Chef Aaron Tan for a virtual mooncake-making session.

And for Muslim friends, classes are available at cooking school Heiraz. But if you just want to savour the treats, halal mooncakes are available at The Fullerton Hotel, Prima Deli and Polar.

HomeTeamNS is also offering mooncake festival promotions that are valid till Sept 21. Download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App for the promo code to apply when making your orders on a specific merchant’s website. Swatow City is also offering HomeTeamNS members a 25-per-cent discount on its freshly baked mooncakes till Sept 21, at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok Facebook Page.

For a truly personal touch, why not create your own cartoon snowskin mooncakes at Genius R Us at the HomeTeamNS-JOM Clubhouse? Sign up your child for a session at only $35, or tag along with them at only $50!

Several sessions are available:

  • Sept 18 from 2.30pm to 4pm
  • Sept 19 from 11.30am to 1pm
  • Sept 25 from 9am to 10.30am
  • Sept 26 from 2.30pm to 4pm


Like a mirror to the glowing moon above, lanterns have become synonymous with the Mid-Autumn festival as well. And while carrying one around for walks is quite the experience, creating one can be just as fun and satisfying.

One doesn’t have to go super traditional with cellophane lanterns, but a lantern-crafting session can be kept simple for your kids, or effectively fun by focusing on creative details.

Create an easy but dramatic version with this video tutorial, and add some origami rabbits for the kids to play with. The popular accordion-fold versions can also be made at home, so gather up some watercolour paint and friends, and explore that inner artist. For the ambitious folks out there, there’s even an impressive reed alternative to attempt.

Head out afterwards to show off your creations, but for a safer and hassle-free experience, use LED lights instead of open-flame candles.

If you prefer some personal guidance, HomeTeamNS Khatib Clubhouse is organising a Make & Share a Lantern event as well on Sept 18, from 10am to 4pm. The pop-up booths will be located on level 1 of the clubhouse and materials will be provided for visitors to unleash their lantern-making skills.

T-Play at HomeTeamNS Khatib and Bukit Batok Clubhouses will also organise a lantern-painting sessions and competition. Held on Sept 18-19, 25-26 and Oct 2-3 at the T-Play Craft Room, seats will be capped at 10 people and will be allotted on a first-come-first-serve basis per session.

To enter the artwork competition on Facebook, submit a photo of your child with the final artwork and tag T-Play. The top 3 winners will each receive an exclusive Art Pack.

If lantern painting doesn’t appeal to your child’s inner Picasso, they can still show off their artistic chops in the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok colouring contest. Head to the lobby from Sept 13-21 and colour Mid-Autumn related images such as mooncakes. Post their artwork on Facebook and the participant with the highest number of votes will win a prize. The winner will be announced on Sept 21 at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok Facebook Page, so stay tuned!


A sip of Chinese tea pairs perfectly with the sweet mooncake, so why not acquaint yourself with the brew more deeply?

Tea Chapter at Tanjong Pagar offers a more classic experience – they’ve been open since 1989 after all, being one of the stalwarts locally. Discover the differences between an Oolong and a Pu-er, and be transfixed by the tea ceremony and its many intricacies. Over at Orchard, Tea Bone Zen Mind offers a more modern take, and takes you through the same experience in a curated and elegant setting.

If you’re up for novel interpretations, try the wine-inspired teas from A.muse Projects. Local purveyor Angela Phua creates her own blends that brings to mind the notes of wines like Cabernet and Merlot, and it’s a meeting of two worlds that surprisingly works. If not, task them to customise your own blend, and give them out as thoughtful gifts for the festival.


Let’s not forget the gorgeous ‘star’ of the show – the full moon. With all the stress this past year, many of us have found respite in nature, and having a little gathering outside under its glow is a treat some of us have forgotten – weather permitting.

Pack your picnic and bask under the celestial satellite at spacious and scenic spots such as the Botanic Gardens, Marina Barrage or Gardens by the Bay, or just pack some chow at City Hall and head up Fort Canning Park or the nearby War Memorial Park to enjoy a more urban viewing.

Otherwise, a romp through the pretty annual light-up at Chinatown is just as charming.

Fancy learning more about the moon? The Science Centre has astronomy exhibits that will enlighten the children. And for a mesmerising outing for the whole family, the Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom exhibition has been extended until October and has plenty of glass sculptures that look out of this world. Visit after sunset and try to hunt the piece appropriately entitled ‘Moon’.