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Get crafty with the kids

Spice up the school holidays by learning to make these easy and creative crafts and treats as a family!

TEXT ADLINA ADAM
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

With an active imagination and some guidance, junior HomeTeamNS members unleashed their creative and culinary talents during Children’s Day on 8 October 2021. Missed out on all the fun? Fret not! Get up to speed with our online tutorials and have fun creating these treats with your children during their school holidays.

BIGSY AND BUNNY’S CRAFT SERIES WITH T-PLAY

Bigsy’s Popcorn Craft

Popcorn is not only a delicious treat, but it also makes a great prop for crafting! Have a popping good time with T-Play host, Bigsy, in creating a popcorn craft from scratch. To prepare for your session, you’ll need glue, paint, scissors, paintbrush, cotton wools, ruler and coloured papers. 

Watch the tutorial for Bigsy’s step-by-step guide:

Bunny’s Paper Puppet Clown

Spice things up and brighten your day by creating your own sprightly and interactive clown! Join T-Play’s host, Bunny, as she shows you how to make a Paper Puppet Clown. Before you get started, ensure that you have these materials ready: scissors, coloured papers, coloured markers, rectangular cut-out paper and a cut-out paper of a clown head.

Watch Bunny’s step-by-step tutorial:

DANCING PAPER PINWHEEL MAKING WITH HOMETEAMNS-JOM BALESTIER

Not sure what to do with that pile of used paper lying around the house or the paper bags from your lunch delivery?

Turn it into a Dancing Paper Pinwheel and watch it move with the wind! With just a pair of scissors, pen or pencil, another wooden pencil (with an eraser tip), ruler and a map pin, transform an ordinary item into a toy for your child. When it’s done, go outdoors and watch your homemade pinwheel spin.

Watch the step-by-step tutorial by our friends at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier and make a Dancing Paper Pinwheel:

ICE-CREAM MAKING WITH HOMETEAMNS BUKIT BATOK

Ice cream – it’s a comfort food for all ages and the perfect treat to savour with your family! Members tuned in with HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok and Professor Messy of Mr Bottle’s Kids Party to learn how to make ice-cream from scratch.

“I’m surprised that it tasted like store-bought ones. Time to make my own ice cream from now on,” shared Cheng Chee Wee, a participant of the live Ice Cream Making session.

Watch Professor Messy’s baking skills in action:

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp of sugar
  • ½ tsp of vanilla
  • ½ a cup (about 120ml) of cream
  • ½ a cup (about 120ml) of full cream milk
  • Sandwich-sized Ziplock bags (if they come in smaller sizes, you can split mixture into different bags)
  • Big container/sturdy bags
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 120-150gm of salt (no salt required if you have dry ice)
  • 4 tsp of cacao powder (optional)
  • Gloves (optional)

Directions

  1. Pour 120ml of milk into a measuring cup.
  2. Add two tablespoons of sugar and mix well.
  3. Add 120ml of full cream milk and mix well.
  4. Add two to three teaspoons of vanilla essence and mix well.
  5. Add 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder and mix well (Milo powder can also be used as an alternative, but do keep in mind that the powder already contains sugar. Hence, the amount of sugar in Step 2 can be reduced).
  6. Pour the contents in a sturdy ziplock bag, however you may wish to add another layer for added protection. Ensure that some air are kept in the bag.
  7. Pour some ice cubes into an empty container, followed by the ziplock bag. Pour more ice cubes and let them rest on the ziplock bag.
  8. Add 120-150gm of salt into the container to lower the temperature of the ice, and tighten the lid of the container.
  9. Shake the container for 15 minutes to evenly distribute the temperature and to cool down the ice cubes. Feel free to use a glove or wrap the container with cloth if it gets too cold.
  10. Enjoy your homemade sweet treat with your family!

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Categories
Lifestyle

Stay indoors as monsoon season begins – 3 indoor activities for families to have a great time

As the rainfall forecast looms heavier towards the year-end, here are three fun indoor activities your family can bond over.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG
IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

The great outdoors is, well, great. But living on the equatorial belt also means we in Singapore need to manage our expectations when heading out towards the end of the year, when the monsoon season is upon us. Weather forecasts are not foolproof, so sometimes it’s just better to plan for activities at home.

It comes with perks too – no large bags to pack and no “are-we-there-yet” questions on the road. Sprinkle in a few of these indoor ideas in your year-end itinerary and find the fun indoors. 

GAME NIGHTS

Board games are no longer stuffy, as makers evolve with the needs of today’s children. While Monopoly and checkers don’t have the same appeal as before, there are plenty of offerings that can hold your children’s interest. Newer games are more interactive and dynamic, with many sets coming with striking play pieces, such as Tang Garden with its 3D environment or Shadows in The Forest with an actual lamp as a play element.

Don’t know where to begin? Trusty Toys R Us has a good selection for all ages, and one can even test drive some games at the PlayPen at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok. The space offers game consoles and board games. Other places to try games include The Mind Cafe or Settlers Cafe.

Once you’ve found a set that has captured the attention of your kids with good replayability, purchase them online or visit local shops like Toy Tag, Battle Bunker, Games@Pi or Team Board Game to check on availability. Puzzles are great for indoor play too, even though they are technically not board games!

MAKING IT WORK OUT

For the Energizer bunnies out there, it’s possible to expend that seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy with the right trick – workout videos. While this comes across more like a chore instead of play, a lot of today’s options have been spiced up with plenty of creative spins, stirring up the imaginations of your children as they exercise.  

Some great examples include this list on yoga for kids, where a variety of videos tap into your child’s attention span with different approaches. Some feature animation while others have pretty palettes or peppy instructors who understand how to motivate young ones.

Otherwise, get the whole family in on the act. Kids love doing things with their parents, and like this video by PopSugar, it cleverly sets up some friendly competition.

Giving kids ownership of their equipment can help engage them. Simple items like a skipping rope can encourage them to improve their skills, especially when they have online materials to inspire them. If your children love to play pretend, these imaginative workouts will have them train to become their favourite superheroes or princesses, and if you’re feeling indulgent, a costume always helps.

It may help to couch them more as activities and emphasise “movement” over “exercising”. Every kid responds naturally to music, so adding the right beats and tunes will liven things up for them as well.

THE RIGHT KIND OF SCREEN TIME

It’s understandable to want to reduce your child’s screen time during the holidays but it shouldn’t be a blanket restriction – there really is plenty of content worth following, like fun instructional videos that have an innate learning function.

From making cute Snoopy sandwiches to drawing a festive gingerbread house, there are many craft and activity videos online. It’s easy to customise for different age groups too. For example, younger children can create cute bentos, while older ones can make pizzas, popiah or even help bake pastries. Group the videos according to theme and base them on a holiday like Christmas or a topic like farming. After that, you just have to supply the materials.  

There are even hybrid events, like HomeTeam JOM’s Can or Cannot Sports Math Quiz, where members can either look for puzzle boards on-site and solve the mathematical challenges, or find them on their Facebook page to win weekly prizes.

If your children prefer interactive activities, guided virtual workshops like those run by PartyMojo are worth exploring. Have some spare Lego around the house? Then sign up for some workshops courtesy of Children’s Worklab, which offers weekly workshops.

Parent and child bonding is always precious, so don’t forget to squeeze in some play with your child. Look online for nifty ideas using simple materials, like creating play slime or sock puppets. The best thing about these activities is that your children learn to make the toys they play with. Another form of engaging screentime comes from a family movie marathon. Have everyone prepare the snacks, dress up the screening area (maybe pitch a blanket fort or tent even!) and enjoy the escape.

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Categories
Food Spy

Travel to eat with HomeTeamNS

Take a global culinary journey without worrying about Vaccinated Travel Lanes or long queues to clear customs.

TEXT AND IMAGES: HOMETEAMNS

What’s one of the best parts about an overseas holiday? Eating abroad like a local and treating yourself to authentic foreign food – without wondering if the recipe has been “localised” to suit Singaporean tastebuds.

The good news is, the recent Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) announcements mean that travel opportunities are gradually increasing. If your favourite holiday destination isn’t on the VTL list, you can still sample global cuisine right here in Singapore! And if you’re a HomeTeamNS member, you could enjoy a good deal in the process, so bon appetit!

INDULGE TEPPANYAKI & GRILL HOUSE

This eatery, located at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier clubhouse, is known for serving Western cuisine with a delightful fusion of Asian flavours. As far as fusion cuisine goes, the restaurant makes it possible to well, indulge in popular treats. Burgers? Check. Pasta and rice dishes? Check. Grilled meats and fish? That’s just the tip of the culinary iceberg!

Location
HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier
31 Ah Hood Rd
#01-04
Singapore 329979

JOM MAKAN SEAFOOD

If you’re craving for crustaceans or longing for lobsters, this Muslim-owned restaurant is the place for you. It’s known for a variety of dishes including staples like Sambal Sotong, Sambal Stingray, the Shovel Seafood Platter, and barbecued dishes. For a truly local take on a seafood dish, nothing screams “SG” like their Maggi Goreng Lobster.

*Jom Makan Seafood is Halal Certified.

Location
HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier
31 Ah Hood Rd
#01-07
Singapore 329979

SELECT GOURMET KITCHEN

Miss Hong Kong cuisine but don’t fancy jumping through the extra hoops needed for a VTL flight there? Select Gourmet Kitchen offers a taste of the foodie delights you’re after. They serve an array of Hong Kong favourites like their Signature HK Wanton Noodle that is made with premium Kurobuta pork and fresh prawn wantons. HomeTeamNS members enjoy a 15-per-cent discount off their food bill (not applicable with ongoing promotions, discounts or vouchers).

Location
HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok
Singapore 659003
2 Bukit Batok West Ave 7
#01-09B

SWATOW CITY

What happens when Teochew cuisine meets Hong Kong Dim Sum? You get the delectable menu at Swatow City. Whoever said that revenge is a dish best served cold didn’t try Swatow City’s Teochew Cold Crab, which uses yellow roe crabs whose natural sweetness has been magically preserved by the restaurants skilled chefs.

It’s also known for other dishes like Black Truffle BBQ Duck, Siew Mai with Fish Roe and Steamed Prawn Dumplings.

Location
HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok
Singapore 659003
2 Bukit Batok West Ave 7
#02-05

SUKI-SUKI THAI HOTPOT

Say “sawadee ka” to this homely Thai-inspired restaurant that features an all-you-can-eat Halal buffet menu. With a variety of soup bases to choose from, dig in with quality ingredients including thinly sliced beef and chicken, home-made fish paste and unlimited fresh vegetables. Continue the post-buffet festivities with crowd favourite desserts like Mango Sticky Rice and Thai Pudding.

Members enjoy 10-per-cent off their total bill. The All-Day Buffet Set for 2 promotion is available for S$35 nett from Mondays to Thursdays and S$41 nett from Fridays to Sundays. This deal includes the Regular Buffet and a free flow of drinks for two diners.

*Suki-Suki Thai Hotpot is Halal-certified.

Location
HomeTeamNS Khatib
2 Yishun Walk
#01-01
Singapore, 267944

SIAM KITCHEN

If one Thai restaurant is good, two is even better. Siam Kitchen serves authentic Thai fare, prepared by a culinary team that includes chefs from Thailand. Tuck into familiar Thai street food favourites like Green Curry with Chicken, Phad Thai and Thai Olive Fried Rice. The All Day Set for 2 is available from S$42++.

*Siam Kitchen is Halal Certified.

Location
HomeTeamNS Khatib
2 Yishun Walk
#01-01
Singapore, 267944

FUJI IZAKAYA BAR

If indulging in Japanese food is your cup of tea, this recently-opened Japanese restaurant could be just right for you. Step right in and you’ll instantly feel like you’re transported to Japan! It serves a large variety of Izakaya food, dons and ramen. Drinks include exclusive Yukari-flavoured cocktails and award-winning Izumofuji Daiginjo sake. HomeTeamNS members enjoy a 10-per-cent discount off their total bill.

Location
HomeTeamNS Khatib
2 Yishun Walk
#05-01
Singapore, 267944

What are you waiting for? Make your way around the world right here with HomeTeamNS! Find out more about HomeTeamNS members’ deals and treats.

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Close Up

Being there for them

DAC (NS) Mohammad Nurizham Shah Bin Abdullah isn’t just a father figure to his own children — he’s also one to ex-offenders integrating back into society.

TEXT Keenan Pereira

Throughout his 22 years of National Service, DAC (NS) Mohammad Nurizham Shah Bin Abdullah has helped to put a number of offenders behind bars. The 48-year-old started his service in Jurong Police Division before being transferred to the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom), where he is now NS Commander. “Our men have arrested people for various offences, from drug-related crimes to outrage of modesty,” he says.

But DAC (NS) Shah’s interactions with those who run afoul of the law do not stop there. Since 2020, the father of four has been an active volunteer at the Singapore Prison Service (SPS), where he is paired with inmates six months before their release. Support at this point of the prison sentence is crucial, as it can make all the difference to the inmate’s success in rebuilding his/her life upon release.

UNLOCKING THE SECOND ‘PRISON’

Support comes in many forms. Sometimes, it could be as simple as teaching inmates how to use a smartphone. “Some have been in prison for so long that they aren’t aware of the tech advances we’ve had in the past two decades,” says DAC (NS) Shah, who works in telecommunications. “Then there are ex-inmates who call me because they don’t know how to deal with conflict at the workplace, and I guide them through the situation. With appropriate life skills, they would be able to hold a job and leave their old ways.”

Volunteers like DAC (NS) Shah also act as father figures to some of these inmates, whose own families have often lost faith in them. “When they don’t have family support and love, they may fall back into bad company and the prison cycle repeats itself,” he explains.

To break such a vicious cycle, DAC (NS) Shah works closely with SPS to engage the inmates and forge lasting friendships with them. “You have to gain their trust before you can step in to advise and guide them,” he says. To date, DAC (NS) Shah has mentored seven ex-inmates and he is proud to share that none have gone back to their old ways.

The learning isn’t just one-way — DAC (NS) Shah has also gained a lot from the stories and struggles of the inmates. “As you hear about what they have gone through, you realise the importance of family and feel grateful for your blessings. Many times, these folks are just lost and need guidance. And as they turn over a new leaf, their greatest motivation is really to regain the trust that their families once had in them.”

It’s a lesson DAC (NS) Shah brings home to his children, aged 18, 16, 15 and eight. “I want them to grow up with the right values. So, I remind them that it’s not just about academic success, but also the difference you make in people’s lives. I am very encouraged that my oldest girl is now volunteering by tutoring underprivileged children. It goes to show how we can influence our children to be better.”

KEEPING AN ACTIVE MIND AND BODY

Besides the importance of giving back, DAC (NS) Shah encourages his children to be active and healthy. In this regard too, he leads by example. “One of our favourite hobbies is cycling. My older kids and I will cycle from Woodlands to Changi Village, where we will meet my wife, my youngest child and our domestic helper for a good meal.”

These moments of levity are especially precious these days, as DAC (NS) Shah does not have to travel for work. Before the pandemic, he would fly around the continent to oversee his company’s overseas telecom operations. “It is a blessing in disguise. I am very grateful to be able to spend so much time with my family these days.”

“There are some who come out of prison and have nowhere and no one to turn to. I want to be there to help them so that the journey out doesn’t feel so lonely.”

Categories
Club Buzz

4 reasons you should join the HomeTeamNS family

In recognition of our SPF and SCDF heroes, HomeTeamNS offers a home-away-from-home experience at its clubhouses, and countless member benefits around Singapore.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

Having just celebrated its 15th anniversary last year, HomeTeamNS remains true to its original mission. That vision was a simple one: To recognise the invaluable contributions that Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) NSmen have made towards the nation’s safety and security. More than just an assortment of recreational spaces, each HomeTeamNS clubhouse is dedicated to offering these homegrown heroes and their loved ones a platform to live, play and build connections across a growing community of close to 200,000 members.

Here’s what new members can expect when they join the family.

PREMIUM CLUBHOUSE ACTIVITIES

The HomeTeamNS Khatib Clubhouse features TactSim, Singapore’s first and only Airsoft Arena.

Islandwide accessibility is the name of the game at HomeTeamNS. Its clubhouses are located at key locations around Singapore: Balestier, Bukit Batok, Chinatown, Khatib and Tampines, with an upcoming one at Bedok.

Excellently-furnished members’ lounges and a host of exclusive F&B outlets that serve cuisines from around the world offer an oasis from the bustle of city life. Meanwhile, amenities like swimming pools and Fitness Workz gyms cater to those seeking to stay trim and look fab.

Each of the clubhouses offer unique facilities as well. For example, the HomeTeamNS Khatib Clubhouse features Singapore’s first and only Airsoft Arena at TactSim. It’s also home to Adventure HQ, Singapore’s largest multi-installation indoor adventure centre. The Bedok clubhouse, set to launch in 2022, has been designed as a waterfront haven nestled in Bedok Reservoir Park. This new location will host an indoor water adventure and concept villas for a luxurious family getaway.

EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES GALORE

A host of activities are organised for members, including Skillfest, an activities-based programme for children between the ages of five and 12.

“Boredom” isn’t a word you’ll find in the HomeTeamNS family dictionary. Dozens of sports courses are available. These encompass a wide range of activities including aikido, badminton, hoop fitness, karate, pilates and yoga. Members also get first pick across a broad spectrum of regularly-scheduled events like SkillFest, an activities-based programme that seeks to boost the holistic development of children between the ages of five and 12.

Other events include mobile gaming tournaments, annual golf championships, and the annual REAL® Run. Home-grown interest groups even offer an opportunity for like-minded hobbyists to come together, including Auto Adventure for avid drivers who loves to travel on a trip together and Golflinks for golf enthusiasts.

THE ART OF THE DEAL

Singaporeans love a good deal – and if it’s one thing we’re proud of here at HomeTeamNS, it’s that we can certainly call ourselves lobang kings. Just signing up for membership gives one access to curated treats from a diverse range of merchants islandwide. Privileges span the food and beverage, lifestyle and entertainment, staycations, and beauty and wellness sectors.

Some popular benefits include all-day, everyday 1-for-1 movie treats at Cathay Cineplexes, as well as discounts at Sinopec petrol stations. Oh, and did we mention the birthday goodies that are available for every member? There are few better ways to celebrate like getting pampered silly (at a discount!) at G.Spa – a nature-inspired retreat and one-stop spa destination rolled into one.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out some of these amazing treats and birthday goodies for yourself.

THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER

HomeTeamNS Family members enjoy special play rates at T-Play at the HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok and Khatib clubhouses.

Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind – and this is true even of HomeTeamNS memberships.

We invite your families to be a part of ours, and we make it easy by allowing members to sign their whole family up under the HomeTeamNS Family Scheme for as low as S$20. Under this initiative, you just need to pay membership fee for the 1st family member, and membership fee for the second and all your subsequent family members below the age of 21 within each family is free (subject to a $10 admin fee)!

Sign your little ones up for HomeTeamNS Family Membership to enjoy free T-Play membership for the duration of your membership. This grants excess to exclusive perks including special play rates at both T-Play Bukit Batok and Khatib and a host of discounts and freebies on your child’s birthday month.

Thinking of signing up? As part of a special promotion to mark the launch of the Family Scheme, the one-time administrative fee of S$10 for each new Family Member application will be waived until March 31, 2022.

Learn more about the HomeTeamNS Family Scheme and be a part of the family today.

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Club Buzz

Taking the holistic path to a balanced and healthy life

HomeTeamNS’ Body to Soul event showcases safe, practical ways to stay physically and mentally fit

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

How can one lead a balanced lifestyle? Here’s a hint – it involves so much more than just physical wellbeing. HomeTeamNS’ upcoming Body to Soul event at the HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse will focus on physical and mental health. With workout routines thrown into disarray, the organisation wants to help members regain their fitness mojo once again in an enjoyable, balanced way.

Happening on November 27 and 28, the Body to Soul event includes talks on mental health to bolster one’s resilience, as well as a variety of classes from yoga to workout routines that use hydraulic machines for more effective results.

HOW TO WORK OUT SAFELY

Any kind of exercise is good for the body, but if you’re just restarting your fitness journey, low-impact exercises tend to be more enjoyable. It’s easier – and safer – to adopt a repetitive routine and focus on your movements. Four versions of such exercises will be introduced at Body to Soul, so members can get a taste of works best for them.

The Low Impact Aerobics Class is ideal for anyone looking for a light – and light-hearted – cardio-focused workout led by Fitness Workz instructors.

If you think Yoga is only for the super-flexible, a trial session may change your mind. While being supple helps, yoga helps improve your balance, tone your body and improve posture through slow movements and deep breathing. It’s a gentle form of strengthening and a relaxing, refreshing activity.

If you prefer using machines in your workout, the Hydraulic Machine class and its specialised equipment ensures a controlled workout that is effective and safe. Exclusive to Fitness Workz Premium, these machines are engineered to help engage target muscles but remove the impact through its smooth, cushioned delivery.

Finally, the Guardian Bridge circuit class is led by the gym’s Fitness Ironmen Committee. Don’t be intimidated by their name – the friendly trainers will teach a series of low-impact circuit exercises that allow participants to train by themselves anywhere to improve on their overall health and conditioning.

WELL-BEING BEYOND THE BODY

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that mental well-being is just as important as the physical and needs to be maintained through healthy habits. Discover how you can improve your mental health with the Mental Wellness Talk by The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and Montfort GoodLife! @ Yishun. Learn about conditions like depression and dementia as well as understand how active ageing and self-care plays an important role in managing your overall well-being.

Other event partners will be offering wares and services at the foyer in support of the theme holistic wellness.

Starbalm, for instance, will be showcasing their sports therapy products, targeted to soothe problem areas through balms, lotions and patches. Nature One Dairy offers dry sampling of their adult nutrition formula which can help with bone and muscle health. You may get their nutritional formula at a huge discount and every purchase offers a chance to participate in a sure-win lucky draw.

Made some new friends? Revamp your mobile services with TPG Mobile to stay in touch at plans suited for your lifestyle. After trying out all the physical activities, the Fitness Workz team will introduce its many facilities and offerings.

BUILD BRAWN AND BALANCE

Brought to you by the Health Promotion Board, learn how to build muscle strength as well as balance and flexibility in the Rolling Good Times showcase. You can also learn about minimising fall risk. Members will get an opportunity to register their interest should they like to progress onto the whole programme.

Sign-up for the Body to Soul event to access these programs, as well as a free goodie bag worth S$50.

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Categories
Shape Up

8 creative ways to create a mini Fitness Workz at home

What do you do if your favourite gym has to limit its capacity due to safe-distancing regulations? Improvise and adapt! 

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB
IMAGE: FITNESS WORKZ

With entry into gyms and other enclosed fitness areas remaining limited in response to the continued rise in cases, maintaining workout routines can be difficult for those used to hitting their nearest gym on a regular basis. Rather than resign yourself to “gym withdrawal”, why not look for innovative ways to continue towards your fitness goals? 

While you may not be able to go to the gym as often as you’d like to, you can still supplement your fitness regime at home by pressing some common household items into service. 

Here are eight creative ideas recommended by Fitness Workz trainer Mr Aidid Haidil Bin Mohamed Said to supplement your gym sessions and help you stay on track with your fitness programme.

1. BACK TO BASICS WITH BUCKETS OF WATER

A cleaning staple in all households, pails filled with water or other dense objects such as bags of rice are a good substitute for traditional weights.

Unsure how heavy you should make them? Simply place them on a weighing scale to get an accurate reading. These makeshift dumbbells can now be used for bicep curls and lateral shoulder raises to keep your upper body strong – now you can train like those ancient martial artists did all those years ago too!

2. MAKESHIFT BARBELL WITH BROOMS AND PAILS

On that note, the humble bucket is incredibly versatile; Mr Aidid shares that a home-made barbell can be created by tying two filled pails of your desired weight on either side of a broomstick. “Barbell curls, front shoulder raises and squats can now be conducted from the comfort of your home,” he quips.

3. BOX SQUATS OFF THE SOFA

Missing a bench to work on those squats?  Look no further than your living room for the solution. A chair or sofa is a great alternative to a gym bench. Now, go forth and start incorporating those sit and box squats into your routine!

4. SQUEAKY CLEAN KETTLEBELLS

Laundry detergent is quintessential to our everyday lives. That being said, their usefulness need not just be confined to the washing machine. These bottles have proven to be solid substitutes for kettlebells – just remember to secure the cap before starting your kettlebell swings. 

5. FINDING YOUR INNER ZEN ON A BATH TOWEL

For many, working at a desk for hours on end is a recipe for stiff joints, tight muscles and high stress levels. Concerned about maintaining your flexibility (and sanity) while waiting for the next spot at your usual yoga studio to open up?

Don’t sweat it, Mr Aidid notes that a large, thick towel works just as well as a yoga or exercise mat for stretching and meditation to decompress after a long day.

6. GETTING CREATIVE WITH NECK TIES

To kick up your yoga session up a notch, using neck or robe ties as resistance bands for yoga will do the trick. They can even be used to complement strength training. All you need to do is tie the ends together, and you’ve got yourself a handy replacement for the resistance bands you’ll typically find at any Fitness Workz gym branch!

7. GOING BEAST MODE WITH BOOKS

Those looking for a calisthenics challenge can consider loading up a backpack with water bottles to create a makeshift weighted vest. The possibilities are endless – from intensifying your upper body workouts with weighted push ups to training your stamina to walking up the stairs with added weight.

8. WORK OUT EVEN IN BED

Too lazy to get out of bed? Turn your weakness into a strength by using your bed as a balance ball to improve your stability.

Simply get up and practice standing on one leg to practice your balance by activating core muscles. For an added kick, you can try performing single-leg deadlifts!

KEEPING YOUR CREATIVE WORKOUTS EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE

In order to maximise the efficacy of each workout, Aidid recommends that beginners start with a 30-minute session each day with a buddy to keep motivation levels high. “Add different variations of exercises to avoid getting bored. Online workout classes via Zoom are a fun alternative too!” he adds.

An upside to working out in the privacy of your home is the minimised exposure to the pandemic – all while building your fitness and immunity levels.

“Just be sure you have ample space to ensure a safe workout session!” Mr Aidid says.

At the end of the day, with the right mindset, gym restrictions are just a minor roadbump in one’s lifelong fitness journey. With these creative workarounds, one can MacGyver their way to excellent home workouts all year round, rain or shine.

Did you know all Fitness Workz gyms are now open to all fully vaccinated individuals? Learn more about what our gyms have to offer and book a slot for your next workout today.

Categories
Food Spy

Food for the soul

Fruits and vegetables are good for the body, but what can be considered good fodder for our souls?

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG
PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

For some it’s soup. Others, something deep fried and crunchy. Food cravings can happen when it’s chilly or if we’re a little fatigued or under the weather, but only certain types can give us that something extra to brighten our moods.

Like how the rodent in Ratatouille won over the heart of the difficult critic with his childhood dish, most soul food conjures feelings of warmth and comfort through their links with fond memories. In Singapore, thanks to our racial diversity, we often have more than one favourite dish that will send us to gastronomic heaven and instantly warm the cockles of your heart.

SATISFYING MAINS

No other dish says “Singapore” quite like it. Whichever brand you favour, from Maxwell’s Tian Tian to the premium Chatterbox variety, Hainanese chicken rice dominates most lists as the food that best says “home”. It checks all the right boxes when it comes to a nourishing meal –dancing with savoury and spicy notes (when you add that tangy chilli), and combining tender slices of chicken mixed with flavoured grains. Then that little bowl of clear soup comes in just right, to help you wash it all down.

Then there’s the Ramly burger. What started as an unassuming item at pasar malams (night markets) quickly became a staple, found sometimes even at Muslim hawker stalls because it’s just that good. The famous burger is unpretentious, messy and delicious. It usually couples a thin fried egg skilfully wrapped around the patty, then drowned in black pepper sauce, mayo and buttery magic. One chomp, and you’ll be sold.

While chicken soup is often said to be good for the soul, we’d prefer to have a serving of Indian soup kambing. It takes the place of a main because it’s incredibly rich, featuring intense flavours heady with spice. The signature yellow soup comes from turmeric – which is said to offer anti-inflammatory properties. Mutton is a rich source of high-quality protein and many vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Hearty and flavourful – we like!

NOODLY GOOD

Noodles are enjoyed all around the world, but for locals, a rich and creamy bowl of laksa hits the spot every time. Recipes differ slightly, but the robust bowl can always be counted upon to include belacan (shrimp paste) and chilli paste, shallots, blue ginger (galangal), and turmeric in its signature coconut milk broth. The tedious process of making this soup base makes this a dish of love, and the glassy thick white noodles are the perfect match to the intense flavours.

At the other end of the spectrum, ban mian comes in a clear soup but it’s no less flavourful. This is Asia’s version of chicken soup, with the savoury broth made punchy by fried anchovies and minced pork. The dish usually comes with an egg and fresh vegetables, making this truly a balanced bowl. And one of the ban mian’s best feature is how you can pick and choose the type of noodles that go in. From flat squares and thin noodles to transparent vermicelli, the options allow you to find the texture you want for this classic.

And how can one go wrong with mee rebus? Although there is a clear variety in Terengganu, the ones we know in Singapore are of a thicker consistency, made delicious with sweet potatoes. This deep, earthy base is mixed with beef or chicken stock for an amazing combination and comes with yellow noodles to give it that oh-so-homely taste that satisfies. If you have two servings, we won’t judge – the dish is often smaller in portion so go ahead!

SOULFUL SEAFOOD

No local food list would be complete without seafood dishes. Many of us will have fond pre-pandemic memories of tucking into mouthwatering chilli crab and barbeque stingray dishes with family members and friends. Whether to celebrate a special occasion or “just because”, these communal meals played a part in forging the ties that bind for many of us.

Opening at HomeTeamNS-JOM in late-2021, Jom Makan Seafood is a Muslim-owned eatery that serves a variety of signature dishes, like their Shovel Seafood Platter and Maggi Goreng Lobster. And what seafood meal would be complete without dishes like Sambal Stingray and Sambal Sotong.

Orchid Live Seafood, located at HomeTeamNS Khatib is offering a 1-for-1 deal on its popular Boston Lobster dish as well as 10-per-cent discounts off all orders, while stocks last.

SWEET SPOTS

Sometimes, a little goes a long way. Soulful food is often uncluttered by complicated cooking, and nothing speaks of such simplicity more than a traditional pairing of youtiao (fried fritters) and a soya bean drink.

It’s just two strips of flour fried in oil – with a shockingly symbolic past referencing a traitorous advisor and his wife in ancient China. But  somehow, every munch of this doughy pastry fulfils, especially when washed down or soaked in the milky soya bean drink.

Dip in. Bite down. Be happy in its simplicity.

The ubiquitous kaya toast combines the sweet coconut egg jam with a touch of salty butter (choose frozen for that old-school kicker) – the perfect filling to make this an ideal snack any time of the day.

Local food empires were built upon its flaky toasted crust, and when paired with a local cup of Nanyang coffee or tea, instantly conjures scenes of a raucous kopitiam.

Being the global city that we are, it’s only natural that some Western items have become included in this soulful list. Jewel Cafe, located at the HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse is offering a buy-2-get-1-free promotion on its gelato.

There are, as it turns out, many ways to lift one’s spirits and fuel the soul, and these gastronomic delights are just the tip of the iceberg. Bon appetit!

Categories
Shape Up

Health is wealth: How to keep focused on staying in shape during a pandemic

COVID-19 may have limited our options for outings, but it has also inspired many to keep fit. We talk to a Fitness Workz expert from HomeTeamNS to find out how they encourage their clients to stay motivated in the light of ever-evolving safe management measures.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Last year’s circuit breaker period saw many people rush to stockpile everything from eggs to exercise mats. As normal activities – from dining out to going to the gym – ground to a halt, Singaporeans and companies pivoted to virtual activities and services.

These included gyms, which began offering virtual exercise classes. Working out at home became one of the most popular means of passing the time, until the option of heading to gyms and engaging personal trainers gradually became available during Phase 2.

The current increase in COVID-19 cases mean that safe management measures are now in a state of flux. There’s a certain air of uncertainty around what to expect and whether we might need to adjust our workout routines every few weeks. While frequent change can be distracting or even demoralising, we spoke to a professional trainer to gain some insights on why that needn’t affect your broader fitness journey.

CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT

Following the easing of restrictions as Singapore entered Phase 2 last June, Mr Noel Lee, a Business Development and Marketing Executive at Fitness Workz, observed an initial surge in patrons at the gym.

Apart from trying to re-establish disrupted routines (while adhering to safe management measures at the gym at the same time), working out provided attendees with an avenue to hang out with their friends.

That said, the subsequent further relaxation of safe management measures and reopening of public spaces diverted some people from their fitness routine, as they struck a new balance between their other interests and commitments.

Mr Lee aptly summarises this as a zero-sum game – “the recurring problem we have as a society is the search for the fine balance between work and health”.

KEEPING THE FLAME BURNING BRIGHT

Taking small steps, like using the stairs instead of the lift, can encourage healthy habits and make exercise a part of your daily routine, without you even realising it.

Admittedly, repeating the same exercise routines can be a turn-off for many. But this does not have to be the case. Instead, why not use your progress as an impetus to work out regularly?

For some, seeing tangible improvement — such as their fat percentage decreasing over the weeks — provides them a constant impetus to continue their efforts,” shares Mr Lee.

To keep pushing forward, it can help to break things down and focus on bite-sized goals.

For instance, with the increase in work and home demands, keeping exercise regimes short but effective ensures your routine is sustainable. You should also start celebrating the small wins – every bit of fat lost, or muscle gained is a great victory in itself.

The most important takeaway here is to keep the momentum going. Even if progress feels slow, don’t forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture: These small steps add up on your lifelong adventure to better health.

GETTING BACK ON TRACK

If you’ve taken a detour on your fitness journey and are feeling lost, the good news is fitness trainers can help you get back on track. Receiving professional guidance is particularly effective for beginners, as trainers are able to put together a wide range of the latest regimes that have yet to be adopted by the masses.

Working out with an expert will also help to make exercise a part of your routine and serve as a constant reminder to keep fit. Mr Lee suggests speaking with your trainer first to identify your goals, motivations and barriers, to come up with sustainable solutions.

The pros at Fitness Workz are also ever-mindful of being over-zealous and drawing up routines that are too intense for their clients. “This can in turn decrease motivation and turn clients off exercising,” Mr Lee points out. To help those who need more time, trainers often encourage clients to start off small – such as using the stairs instead of the lift. Such activities encourage the formation of healthy habits, and can help encourage individuals.

THE GREATEST WEALTH IS HEALTH

There are plenty of nice things that come with getting physically fit (like the compliments from friends), but did you know numerous studies have also established a positive correlation between physical health and mental wellness? Examples include reduced stress levels, better sleep patterns and increased self-confidence – all of which have become even more important in light of the current pandemic and its negative impacts on mental health.

Recent research supports these findings, with reports concluding that even performing light physical activity regularly can have a positive stress-reducing effect on individuals needing to self-isolate due to prevailing safe distancing measures.

Remember: At the end of the day, a healthy body makes for healthy mind. Fitness is more about muscle mass and weight loss – it’s also about adopting a mindset of general wellness to help lead a more fulfilling life. By having set a strong foundation on this front, there’s nothing holding us back from being able to go forth and live our best lives, no matter the circumstances.

Find out how you can kickstart your journey to a healthier you at Fitness Workz.