Shape Up

Powering up in pairs

Couples who train together stay together. In the first of a two-part series, our HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz trainers share why couple workouts are a great way to keep those fitness aspirations roaring in the Year of the Tiger.



The Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day festivities have come and gone. For many of us, it means resuming our exercise programme after a relatively lengthy break. Fortunately, hitting the gym or fitness corner to burn off those calories needn’t be a chore. Here’s how a good workout buddy can not only help pull you to into a consistent workout routine, but also push you to greater fitness heights.


Fitness Workz Fitness Trainer Azmirah Azman says that working out with your partner provides a good motivational boost.

According to Fitness Workz Fitness Trainer, Azmirah Azman, couple workouts are a great way to boost comfort levels and motivation as you embark on your fitness regime. “It’s a common case where an individual may feel lost and not know what to do in the gym,” she explains. “Your partner can be there for guidance and to brainstorm more exercises that both of you can do together.”

Never underestimate the power of two people aligned towards a common goal. Studies have shown that couple workouts can have a positive impact in the long term. According to research, married pairs working out together were twice as likely to experience weight loss. Two years on, it was observed that seven in 10 married pairs continued to work out weekly, compared to only 25% of individuals doing the same.

According to our expert, the reasons for this are manifold — whether it’s due to having someone to schedule workouts with, a consistent partner to spot you at the gym, or simply the fun of doing something with someone you love. “A partner acts as support system when one is in doubt,” Ms Azmirah shares. “Having similar goals to be achieved together will lead to a stronger bond and increased confidence levels for both parties.”


Fitness Trainer Aidid Haidil, who is also a big advocate of couple workouts, notes that couples don’t necessarily need to head to the gym to get their blood pumping. “You can head to the park, fitness corners, stadiums or even your own void deck to do bodyweight exercises and other fitness programmes,” he suggests.

He adds that working out as a pair unlocks a slew of new and varied exercises that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do solo. This spans a large range of workouts that cover both calisthenics and exercises incorporating fitness equipment. For example, with an exercise buddy, you can add greater depth to conventional exercises like push-ups. Partners can attempt new variants such as partner push-ups with shoulder taps and elevated push-ups.

Mr Aidid personally recommends exercises like leg raises, resistance band jumps and sit-up medicine ball passes, depending on each person’s level of fitness. He also reminds couples keep things fresh in order to stay motivated. Outside of workouts, they can also explore ‘fitness date’ activities like spin classes, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.


Fitness Workz Fitness Trainer Aidid Haidil says that couples can also add ‘fitness date’ activities like spin classes, hiking and rock climbing to their fitness routine.

As with every training regimen, it’s important to understand both your and your partner’s level of fitness and adapt your routine accordingly. For beginners, Ms Azmirah recommends starting off your couple workouts slow and steady. Set short-term, achievable goals in order to keep each other going. “Start off with a 5-minute dynamic warm-up. This is to mobilise and increase blood flow to prepare their body for a workout and to avoid injuries,” she advises.

Instead of opting for heavy weights, beginners could start off with stack weight machines and plate loaded machines before changing to free weights. “Help each other perform the exercises with better form before increasing the weights,” she advises. “Of course, don’t be shy to approach fitness professionals or fitness enthusiasts to ask for assistance and advice.”

For more advanced exercise aficionados, Mr Aidid recommends some friendly competition and benchmarking in order to push each other to greater heights. “Veteran fitness buffs — who already have the knowledge — could set challenges for each other, be it carrying the max weight or hitting their personal records,” he suggests.

He further notes that as couples become more advanced in both physical fitness and workout knowledge, they should make imbalances and differences in strength work to their advantage. “Pick your own sprint- and rest-speeds. Teach each other and keep things interesting!” he says.


Just like any good relationship, recognise that your fitness journey as a couple is a marathon, not a sprint. Understanding your partner’s strengths and weaknesses are just as important as recognising what their goals are and how comfortable they are embarking on certain types of exercises.

Whatever the case, it’s most important to keep things consistent. Our Fitness Workz trainers recommend getting into a routine schedule and sticking to it. “If you both work office hours, an hour of working out together should be fine, excluding cardio. Doing so 3 times a week would be a good start,” shares Azmirah. “30 minutes of cardio a day for 5 days in a week is recommended for each individual. If both of you could brisk walk or run together after their workout, that would be even better!” Mr Aidid adds.

Looking for workout inspiration? In Part 2 of this series, our Fitness Workz trainers recommend some exercises for couples to try out, whatever your skill level! Stay tuned for more.

Close Up

Becoming a family man

CPT (NS) Muhd Saufi bin Abdul Rashid on marriage and starting a family of his own helped him view life from a fresh perspective.




For many, the year-end season is a period to slow down and spend time with family and friends. However, CPT (NS) Muhd Saufi bin Abdul Rashid’s work in the medical technologies sector brought him to Switzerland in December 2021 for a month, away from his wife and their three-year-old son. “I missed my family! What’s worse, my son kept asking my wife ‘Where is daddy?’ and why I wasn’t home yet,” shares the 32-year-old.

For those who know CPT (NS) Saufi from his national service days, this might sound like an out-of-character statement, because he never expected to be a family man.

After all, he describes himself as being the “joker” of the Special Rescue Unit, where he was a platoon commander during his fulltime NS stint. Despite his rank, he was always ready to cheer up those around him with a joke — if the time and situation allowed for it, of course. “I didn’t think this would change,” he reflects.


CPT (NS) Saufi says that his parents' lifelong encouragement helped him keep faith in his abilities.

But change he did, after meeting his wife of five years and having their first child three years ago. “They completely transformed my perspective on life. I realised I had to get serious about things, such as getting a house, doing well in my career and being the best version of me. I wasn’t living for myself anymore; I had a family to care for and who depend on me.”

Fortunately, it was an effortless transition. That’s because CPT (NS) Saufi had “lived singlehood to the fullest”. Any sport you name, he is likely to have played it, be it badminton or archery tag. “I also took part in various cultural activities, like dikir barat (a style of Malay choral singing) and even lion dance,” he says.

With so many endeavours under his belt, it’s no wonder CPT (NS) Saufi is happy to give as much time as he has to his family. He tells Frontline that he hopes his brood will grow in the coming year. “Ideally, I’ll want two more children to complete the set,” he quips.


CPT (NS) Saufi (left) was a platoon commander in the SCDF's Special Rescue Unit during his fulltime NS stint (This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic).

CPT (NS) Saufi’s commitment to his family’s wellbeing is clear as he discusses his return to Singapore from Switzerland in early January. To protect his young one from COVID-19, he opted to stay at his parents’ house for seven days upon his return, even though he had tested negative for the virus. “My son is too young to be vaccinated so I wanted to make sure he doesn’t suffer needlessly, in case the virus manifested after I came back,” he explains.

“I did not video call him often when I was away because of the seven-hour time difference between Singapore and Switzerland. So it was quite a big sacrifice to have to be away from him for another week,” says CPT (NS) Saufi. Still, he was determined to do “what’s right for (his) family”.

As someone who had received great support from his parents throughout his life, CPT (NS) Saufi understands the strength of family bonds. Crucially, they encouraged him to forge his own path, motivating him to complete his Normal (Technical) education, enter the Institute of Technical Education and later, a polytechnic.

CPT (NS) Saufi went on to become an officer in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). “Their encouragement reminded me that it’s not about how far others say you can go; what’s more important is how far you want to go. I owe so much to them,” he says with gratitude.

CPT (NS) Saufi’s striving for excellence continues to this day, both at work and in his role as an Officer Commanding (OC) of the 31 Rescue Battalion. For his strong and inspirational leadership, he was presented with the NSman of the Year Award in 2021. He cherishes this honour, but true to form, credits those around him for his success. “I am who I am because of them.”


Like many young parents, CPT (NS) Saufi knows what it feels like to balance commitments to family, work and National Service. He currently works in the medical technologies industry, where he pulls 12-hour shifts.

“After a long day, I look forward to going home and spending time playing with my son and chatting with my wife,” he says. CPT (NS) Saufi works a four-day week, giving him just enough time to also visit his parents, in-laws and, crucially, himself as well. “Sundays are my ‘do-nothing’ days, where my wife and I just watch Netflix or relax.”