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Shape Up

Let’s get physical with REAL® Run

Whether you’re new to the REAL® Run or want to beat your personal best, the hallmark of a good race is prepping well and following through. Here’s how.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

With virtual races having been the status quo until very recently though, are we really prepared for the differences between physical and virtual runs? Now that you’ve signed up for REAL® Run 2022, here are some tips from our Fitness Workz trainer on how you can better prepare for the race physically and mentally.

MOTIVATION AND CONSCIENTIOUSNESS COUNTS

Between the day you register and the day itself, only one thing truly matters: Preparation.

Training for a virtual run came with many unique challenges. Being unable to train with friends physically can dampen the sense of camaraderie and hamper the desire to get up for those early-morning training sessions without a buddy.

The benefits of a physical setting, however, don’t stop at just the sense of solidarity we build when training in person with fellow runners – the excitement of physical competition can be a powerful motivating factor.

Even so, it’s important not to get too overzealous while training for a race. Fitness Workz trainer Danish’aizat shares that over-training and lax post-training habits, for instance, are notable hazards.

“To minimise risk of sustaining injury, runners should moderate their training frequencies and intensity. Heat and stretching before all the exercises and icing the muscle area after the exercise itself are also essential for proper recovery,” he elaborated.

THE RACE-DAY EFFECT

Studies show that many runners perceived virtual races to be harder, also showing than on average, runners were slower during stand-alone time trial efforts versus when racing head-to-head against in-person competition.

Part of this boils down to how our brains perceive when and how much effort we invest into an activity. In a physical race however, we have constantly targets in front of us to pace against, chase down and overtake.

The atmosphere of a physical race is not to be understated – competition in close quarters and crowds cheering you on may well give you that extra push you need to smash your personal best time.

Mr Danish’aizat has fond memories of the festive atmosphere at a REAL® Run race. This extends back to well before he became a Fitness Workz trainer. He volunteered with the rest of his class for REAL® Run 2018 when he was a Higher Nitec Sport Management student.

“I was able to volunteer with my peers and make new friends and connection at the event. We were all busy working and communicating as a team and it went super smoothly. When one of us needed help, someone would lend a hand. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and the atmosphere was great.”

While the atmosphere at a physical event can make a big difference, Mr Danish’aizat cautions against being too caught up in the moment and ignoring any potential injury.

“Serious injuries can occur during any run. When it comes to injuries like a twisted ankle, some runners will continue to run if it is bearable – but doing so will only worsen the injury,” he clarified.

“As another example, if experiencing lower back pain, stop the run, stretch it out and continue the run if it feels relief, but if it does not, seek medical help,” he advised.

A LESS FORGIVING RUN

Another major difference between virtual and physical runs is the race route. With virtual runs tracked using apps or fitness wearables, it’s far easier to plan an ideal route.

With a physical race, the route and timing are often fixed.

Sometimes, runners may “hit the wall” during a race despite ample preparation, which can be particularly crushing during a physical race. Mr Danish’aizat notes that the most important thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter how fast you go, as long as you do not stop.

“You have already spent months preparing for it, why give up now? Always stay positive and remember that there will always be a next race in the future,” he said.

PREPARING FOR PHYSICAL VS. VIRTUAL

Training for physical runs require runners to anticipate conditions for their competition route.

For example, treadmills can help with training for hilly terrain. By training on simulated inclines, one can not only mentally prepare for steep climbs and long ascents, but also develop leg strength and improve your form in the process.

Also, if one expects bumpy roads or uneven trails during a physical run, it’s worth making preparations like purchasing the right footwear and deliberately running on rough terrain to develop balance and agility while reducing risk of injury.

Finally, make sure you’re mentally prepared ahead of the race itself. The key here is to keep a clear mind focused on your goals. Remember to breathe, trust in your training and push yourself to meet or even exceed your goals as you keep your eyes on the prize: that glorious moment when you cross that long-awaited finishing line.

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Club Buzz

HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir: Embarking on a new chapter in the East

The new HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir clubhouse will offer members a bigger space, with upsized fun and even more family-friendly facilities and activities to enjoy.

TEXT NUR ADLINA BINTE ADAM

PHOTOS HOMETEAMNS

After six years, HomeTeamNS Tampines officially closed its doors on July 17, 2022. The much-loved clubhouse is moving to a bigger and better home – HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir – in December 2022, with expanded facilities and attractions.

With close to one-third of HomeTeamNS members residing in the East, the reservoir-fronting clubhouse will be the new hotspot for them to play and bond with their loved ones. From a splashing good time at the Indoor Water Adventure Centre to retreating into nature at the East Villas, there’s plenty to get excited about and look forward to!

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

Through the years, HomeTeamNS Tampines hosted numerous cohesion activities for Home Team NSmen to forge a sense of camaraderie.

HomeTeamNS Tampines clubhouse was home to signature facilities such as Clip ‘n Climb, an action-packed theme park, and Laser Quest, an exhilarating infrared laser shooting arena. Since 2017, the clubhouse has been the go-to place for HomeTeamNS members to forge bonds and create wonderful memories with their loved ones in the East, be it a weekend outing or a birthday party.

The clubhouse hosted over 960 cohesion programmes for Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) agencies and HomeTeamNS. Other key events such as SkillFest — where junior HomeTeamNS members worked on expanding their skill sets including athletics, social and emotional learning, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) — were also conducted at the clubhouse.

Goodbye does not always mark the end of a chapter but also paves the way for a new beginning. HomeTeamNS members in the East can look forward to more amenities and attractions at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, which are designed to enhance the fun and quality time you have with loved ones.

EASTIES, SUIT UP!

An Indoor Water Adventure Centre will feature wet and dry activities that are fun for children and adults.

If you thought the facilities at Tampines clubhouse were great, then the ones at the highly anticipated waterfront-themed clubhouse will keep you awestruck.

Easties, get ready for Singapore’s first and largest Indoor Water Adventure Centre, Aqua Adventure. Perfect for the young and young at heart, the two-storey aquatic escape brings ‘chills or thrills’ to life with both wet and dry activities. From a multi-challenges aqua course and a lagoon pool to Urban Climbing Walls, you’ll experience the best of both worlds in this all-weather facility.

With various programmes and packages at this facility, members can celebrate their special occasions such as birthdays and graduations with thematic pool parties! On top of that, Home Team NSmen can also form friendships through team-bonding activities and cohesion programmes.

NATURE-BOUND STAYCATION

Rest and rejuvenate at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir’s East Villas.

Need an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? In the thick of fresh foliage and greenery, sits the East Villas. Set on a hill slope, these cosy huts will leave you recharged and rejuvenated during your stay

Ranging from Premier and Deluxe Waterfront Villas to Deluxe Forest View Villas, members will be spoiled for choice amid their lush surroundings. Spice things up as you set your eyes on the breathtaking views of Bedok Reservoir from the roof balconies — and capture dream-worthy Insta-moments — while you cook up a delectable barbecue dinner.

The villas will also be stocked with coffee and tea sachets to perk up your morning and get you ready for another day of fun. If you want to stay indoors, use the kitchenette to whip up home-cooked meals that will warm the bellies and hearts of your family. Other amenities such as fresh towels and bathroom essentials will also be made available.

To maximise family time and make full use of all the facilities at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, we highly recommend that you book a stay at the East Villas!

More information on the facilities and amenities will be unveiled soon! Visit our website and Facebook page for the latest updates.

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In The Force

NS55: Different eras, same undertaking

In celebration of NS55, a father-in-law and son-in-law duo share their National Service experiences.

TEXT: MHA

PHOTO: JEREMY LIM

Full-time National Service (NS) is an essential part of our nationhood and a rite of passage for every Singaporean son. While the NS landscape may have evolved over the decades, the experience each enlistee goes through is unforgettable and one that is shared from generation to generation.

Father-in-law and son duo, Neo Thiam Loon, 67, and Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) officer, Sgt 3 (V) Lim Jun Wei Jeremy, 34, can attest to this. Both have served their NS with unwavering dedication, pride and strength to keep Singapore safe and peaceful. And both have stories to tell.

KEEPING OUR STREETS SAFE

Mr Lim served with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) as a frontline Ground Response Force (GRF) officer. As he was deployed to Choa Chu Kang Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC), his duties include patrolling the neighbourhood and responding to incidents and disputes.

“Serving NS with the SPF was an eye-opening experience and, I dare say, one of the most defining moments of my life,” says the VSC officer. “I remember a mother who called the Police for assistance when her son went missing. We were activated to search for the boy and within a few hours, we found him and returned him home. It was really heartening to see the family reunited,” he adds.

EVOLVING WITH THE TIMES

From the days of tougher training regimes and stricter commanders to lengthy queues at the payphone to make calls home, NS has evolved with advancements in technology, better welfare and a changing threat environment.

On the technological front, Mr Lim points out that his law-enforcing duties have been made easier with devices such as body-worn cameras and neighbourhood police cameras that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of policing. On the other hand, frontline officers face greater public scrutiny when carrying out their roles, as social media is now a significant part of our daily lives.

Mr Neo, who served his NS in 1978, was free from such concerns but his cohort faced a different set of challenges. “Basic Military Training (BMT) was very different from what we see on television today. It was ‘tough love’ as some may call it, but conditions have changed. And a different generation of crimes and offenses warrants a different kind of training,” says the NS pioneer, who served as a Lance Corporal Regimental Police with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

Mr Neo also recalls queueing up for the orange payphone to make calls to his family during his recruit days. “You cannot drop in another 10 cents to extend your call as there are many others waiting in line behind you,” he says.

Compared to the ’70s, Mr Neo agrees that servicemen now enjoy better accommodation, food and monthly allowance, as well as have caring commanders who spend time getting to know the recruits under their charge. But when it comes to sacrifice, resilience, pride and first-time experiences, there is little difference across generations. “The most memorable part of NS would be the experience of firing a rifle at the live firing range. Not forgetting all those days in the jungle for field training and surviving them without showering for numerous days,” says Mr Neo.

CARRY ON SERVING

As an Operationally Ready NSman, Mr Lim serves as a Police Contact Tactics (PCT) Adjunct Trainer with the Jurong Police Division, as well as volunteering with the VSC under the Traffic Police. He believes his NS stint has taught him important values that have shaped him and encouraged him to continue serving the nation through volunteering.

“NS taught me three main values – responsibility (having a great sense of pride and duty to serve the nation), resilience (staying optimistic through hard times) and reinstatement (restoring peace to the public so that everyone can live in a better environment),” says Mr Lim.

In response to his son-in-law’s role as a Home Team volunteer, Mr Neo says: “I am very proud and supportive of Jeremy’s decision to be part of the Home Team Volunteer Network (HTVN). As a Home Team volunteer, he demonstrates his servant leadership by going above and beyond the call of duty.”

Mr Lim encourages everyone to do likewise – to make a difference and contribute back to society.

Find out more how you can make a difference in your community. Volunteer with the Home Team Volunteer Network today!

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Club Buzz

Great NS55 deals and activities with HomeTeamNS

Celebrate NS55 at HomeTeamNS with lucky draws and the 55 Jalan HomeTeamNS Trail.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

If you’re looking for fresh, fun activities for the family, why not try some HomeTeamNS-inspired events?

Whether it’s an afternoon of fun with the kids at your nearest HomeTeamNS clubhouse or venturing on an NS55 trivia-filled trail with your buddies, there’s something for everyone to look forward to.

SIGN UP FOR MEMBERSHIP – AND THE SALUTE55 LUCKY DRAW

If you aren’t a HomeTeamNS member, now is a good time to sign up. And you may just receive a “sur-prize” as well, thanks to the Salute55 Lucky Draw.

Until December 2022, all eligible HomeTeamNS members can enjoy an 86-per-cent discount on their membership with the NS55 promotion. Here’s your chance to ride on the sweet deal of extending your membership for an additional three-year membership at just S$10.

On top of that, take advantage of the 50% savings when you sign up your family members, and enjoy all the similar benefits as your HomeTeamNS membership. At only $10 for two years of membership for your parents, your spouse or child, and subsequent family members can be added absolutely free! Moreover, options for 5-year and 10-year Family Membership are also available. 

Additionally, all sign-ups for the NS55 membership promotion are eligible for one entry to the Salute55 Lucky Draw, which offers exciting prizes every month. Those who sign up for the 50-per-cent discounted Family Membership receive an additional entry, and each additional child in the family membership package adds one more entry to your overall total.

Even if you don’t win, your entries are accumulated and will be entered in subsequent draws. While the winner of August’s draw walked away with a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G smart phone, and September’s winner won a Series 7 Apple Watch with GPS, October’s winner will stand a chance to win an Apple Airpods (3rd Generation)! Watch this space to see what’s in store for you in the upcoming months.

GO ON A TRAIL, ENRICHED BY TRIVIA

Our National Servicemen (NSmen) play an important role in keeping Singapore safe and secure every day – a role that’s celebrated in the 55 Jalan HomeTeamNS Trail, which features interesting fun facts about National Service hidden across HomeTeamNS clubhouses.

Participants will look for a trail marker in the form of a standee at each clubhouse they visit. Once they find the trail marker, they can scan the QR code on it for instructions on how to answer a question and upload a linked photo on Google Forms.

Once they’re done, participants can show the uploaded form to the front counter of the clubhouse along with their HomeTeamNS membership card to receive a participation token.

That’s not all: Participants will also stand a chance to win attractive prizes including a PRISM+ X340 PRO 165Hz (a 34-inch ultrawide curved gaming monitor), a two-day, one-night staycation at the HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir Villas, and vouchers. The NS55 Trail runs between 14 September to 31 October 2022.

With these fun events to look forward to, the year looks set to be an exciting one at HomeTeamNS!

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Lifestyle

HomeTeamNS-inspired walking trails in Singapore

Explore the great outdoors – and learn more about Singapore’s rich heritage, with these walking trails that bring you to Home Team landmarks of the past and present.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SPF & SCDF

From HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok to the upcoming clubhouse at Bedok Reservoir, the HomeTeamNS clubhouses are full of exciting attractions, shops, eateries and facilities. But if you’re itching to experience the great outdoors – and the same old parks and cycling routes are getting a little stale – why not try a walking trail with a HomeTeamNS-inspired twist?

Completed in 1909, the Central Fire Station, also known as the Hill Street Fire Station, is Singapore’s oldest surviving fire station.

As you explore Singapore on foot, you’ll get to enjoy scenic nature and the bustling urban landscape, plus learn more about Home Team history as you pass landmarks like the former Hill Street Fire Station and the Old Police Academy at Mount Pleasant.

Best of all, you’ll start at HomeTeamNS clubhouses – the perfect places to fuel up before embarking on a trail. (Don’t forget to bring your umbrella and a water bottle!) These trails range from easy 2km walks to more challenging routes of up to 11.7km, so you can choose to bring along the kids, gather your buddies or simply go solo on your own HomeTeamNS walking adventure in Singapore.

THE CENTRAL ROUTE: HOMETEAMNS BALESTIER-JOM

HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier clubhouse
Old Police Academy
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Easy version: 2km (30 minutes)

Medium challenge: 6km (1.5 hours)

Your walking trail starts here at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier (31 Ah Hood Road), where you’ll make your way down the same road and stroll through the pleasant green patch of Zhongshan Park to enter the busy stretch of Balestier Road.

Turn right and head west past Balestier’s famous array of eateries and shops until you reach the junction. Cross over to the other side of Thomson Road or continue walking north until you see a traffic crossing (the area is currently affected by construction for the North-South Corridor, so crossings may be rerouted).

Head north on Thomson Road before turning left onto Mount Pleasant Road, where you’ll pass by the grounds of the Old Police Academy. Dating back to 1931, the Senior Police Officers’ Mess (153 Mount Pleasant Road) is still in operation as a social club, so be sure to keep an eye out for the imposing building constructed in the Tudor Revival style. At this point, you’ll have walked an easy distance of about 2km (around 30 minutes).

For a longer, more challenging 6km loop (1.5 hours), continue down Mount Pleasant Road – while admiring the serene greenery dotted with black and white bungalows once home to senior colonial police officers – before turning right onto Gymkhana Avenue and then right again onto Jalan Mashhor. Following the road will take you back onto Thomson Road, from which you can retrace your steps to the HomeTeamNS Balestier-JOM clubhouse (and indulge in a well-deserved cold drink).

THE WESTERN ROUTE: HOMETEAMNS BUKIT BATOK

HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok clubhouse
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Easy version: 1.4km (20 minutes)

Easy-medium challenge: 4.3km (one hour)

For a child-friendly route that stretches through a 1.4km-long trail (20 minutes) from HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok (2 Bukit Batok West Avenue 7), cross Brickland Road towards the HDB blocks of Bukit Batok West. Follow the pedestrian path leading into Bukit Gombak Park, which will take you into the landed enclave of Pavilion Park.

Continue left and westward along the outermost road of Pavilion Circle, exiting on Bukit Batok Road. Turn right and walk on until you reach the Bukit Batok Fire Station (80 Bukit Batok Road), which is also the headquarters for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s 4th Division. Bukit Batok Fire Station, which replaces the former Bukit Timah Fire Station, has been in operation since 1956.

If your walking companions are up for a longer trek of 4.3km (around an hour), turn north all the way up Brickland Road, passing underneath the Kranji Expressway. Turn left onto the Old Choa Chu Kang Road and walk past the farms and nurseries in the area.

Once past the Chinese Cemetery, you’ll see Home Team Academy (501 Old Choa Chu Kang Road) on your left. The Academy is also where you’ll find the Home Team Gallery, where you can learn more about the Home Team’s role in major events such as the Nicoll Highway and Hotel New World disasters and Operation Ferret, a successful large-scale joint operation that severely reduced the supply of heroin in Singapore in 1977, marking a turning point in Singapore’s fight against drugs.

THE NORTHERN ROUTE: HOMETEAMNS KHATIB

HomeTeamNS Khatib clubhouse
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(Very) easy route: 600m

Medium challenge: 6km (1.5 hours)

With HomeTeamNS Khatib’s (2 Yishun Walk) idyllic location amidst the greenery of Yishun Park, you won’t be hard pressed to find a pleasant walking route around the ORTO hub just next door, or across both Yishun Avenue 2 and 1 to reach the lush environs of Lower Seletar Reservoir Park about 600m away.

But to see a piece of Home Team history, you’ll have to go further – 6km (1.5 hours), to be precise. From HomeTeamNS Khatib, turn left and go up north Yishun Avenue 2, turning left again onto Yishun Ring Road. At the junction, turn left onto Yishun Avenue 3. At the next junction, you’ll turn right onto Sembawang Road – towards the famous Chong Pang Nasi Lemak – and continue up north, past Sembawang Shopping Centre. Continue straight when you reach another junction, this time onto Canberra Road.

At the final junction of Canberra Road and Admiralty Road West, cross straight over to North Road, where you’ll find the former Sembawang Fire Station (68 Scharff Road) which dates back to the 1930s. Located now in Sembawang Shipyard, the art-deco style Fire Station was once part of the colonial-era Sembawang Naval Base, survived the Japanese Occupation and was awarded conservation status in 2007.

THE EASTERN ROUTE: HOMETEAMNS BEDOK RESERVOIR

HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir clubhouse
Paya Lebar Fire Station
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Medium challenge: 4.2km (one hour)

Tough challenge: 11.7km (three hours)

When HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir opens later this year at 900 Bedok North Road, be sure to check out its waterfront view of Bedok Reservoir, complete with waterfront villas for a memorable family staycation. But if you prefer walking to watersports, try this trail which will bring you past not one, but two Home Team landmarks.

From HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, turn south onto Bedok North Road and then right at the junction onto Bedok Reservoir Road. Continue straight onto Kaki Bukit Avenue 1. At the junction, cross towards Ubi Avenue 2 but continue north-west on Eunos Link. Turn left onto Ubi Avenue 3, then turn right onto Ubi Road 2. Finally, turn left into Ubi Avenue 4 and you’ll see the SCDF HQ and Paya Lebar Fire Station (91 Ubi Avenue 4). Built in 2002, the modern HQ was a personally-overseen project of retired SCDF Commissioner James Tan, who realised that a replacement for the original headquarters at Bendemeer Camp was urgently needed (after all, Bendemeer had been in operation since 1951).

Continue down Ubi Avenue 4 and turn left onto Ubi Road 1, then right onto Ubi Avenue 3. The medium-difficulty hour-long 4.2km-long trail ends here, at the Traffic Police HQ (10 Ubi Avenue 3) where in 1999 the Traffic Police moved their headquarters from the neo-classical building at 28 Maxwell Road, which is today’s Maxwell Chambers Suites.

To enjoy the contrast between old and new, seasoned trekkers can take up the challenge of walking an additional 7.5km (slightly less than two hours) to reach Central Fire Station and the old Hill Street Police Station at 62 and 140 Hill Street respectively. (Of course, you can reach both landmarks more easily from HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier, but where’s the fun in that?)

From the Traffic Police HQ, exit onto Paya Lebar Road and continue south, turning left onto Circuit Link and left again onto Circuit Road. Cut through the HDB estate and follow the canal south, using the Pelton Canal park connector, before turning left onto Aljunied Road. Turn right onto Sims Avenue, cross the Kallang River over to Kallang Road and cross over to Victoria Street.

At the traffic light, cross to Hill Street. You’ve made it! Be sure to take a selfie with the iconic red-brick façade of Central Fire Station, as well as the rainbow array of window frames at the old Hill Street Police Station (now the Ministry of Communications and Information). After all, having walked 11.7km (three hours) from HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir, you’ve come a very long way – just like the Home Team itself.

55 JALAN HOMETEAMNS

As part of NS55, HomeTeamNS is celebrating all generations of our National Servicemen (NSmen) by learning more about them and their National Service (NS) journey all these years through the 55 Jalan HomeTeamNS Trail!

Between 14 September to 31 October 2022, venture across four of our clubhouses at Balestier, Bedok Reservoir, Bukit Batok and Khatiband learn facts about NS through interactive trail markers. On top of that, stand to win any of our five grand prizes worth a total of more than $2200! From a two-day, one-night staycation at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir Villas to a Prism+ X340 Pro 165HZ (34-inch Monitor), don’t miss out on these stunning prizes! The trail is open to both HomeTeamNS members and public.

Please visit our website to find out how to participate in our 55 Jalan HomeTeamNS Trail.

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Featured Food Spy Shape Up

Why a Mediterranean diet could benefit you

Adapting to the Mediterranean diet could offer a wealth of benefits, like improved heart health and lower cholesterol. Here’s your sign to switch up your palate and indulge in healthier food options at HomeTeamNS Clubhouses.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, ELA & SIAM KITCHEN

While the Mediterranean diet – featuring more seafood, more vegetables and less carbohydrates – was discovered in the 1950s by American scientist Ancel Keys, it has remained popular for being easy to adopt as well as relevant; with more studies substantiating its promise of multiple benefits.

HOW DOES IT HELP WITH HEALTH?

The grilled salmon mentaiko rice bowl served at Indulge Teppanyaki & Grill House in HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier.

Taking inspiration from the typical menus of those living in the region, such as Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco, the Mediterranean diet boosts vegetable intake while cutting back on red meats and refined carbs.

Its most pronounced effect is that on the cardiovascular system – reducing risk of heart diseases, alleviating high blood pressure, and even helping with overall mortality. In a 2018 study of nearly 26,000 women, 25 per cent of those who followed the Mediterranean diet had less risk of developing cardiovascular disease over 12 years. The main drivers for this were attributed to changes in inflammation, blood sugar, and body mass index.

There are also increasing reports that support its role in supporting slow ageing and cognitive health as well, especially for men.

The Mediterranean diet fundamentally does this in two ways, by upping nutrient intake through generous servings of vegetables and fruit, and by relying on the use of monounsaturated fats. One of the biggest changes is using olive oil, which is a healthier fat that lowers total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol levels. For proteins, the diet prefers fish like sardines, mackerel, tuna and salmon. These meats are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which fight inflammation within the body, and the polyunsaturated fats also reduce blood clotting, lower the risk of stroke and heart failure. They also help the body with building brain cell membranes.

Ms Jessica Bayes, the lead researcher for the UTS study found that the increased intake of fibre from the diet of nuts, fruit and vegetables contribute to healthy microbial growth in the gut, and that in turn stimulated more production of serotonin – the chemical which makes us happy.

Add to that the nutrient-rich properties of staple ingredients like tomatoes (antioxidant lycopene, vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K) or chickpeas (vitamin B9, copper, manganese and iron), your diet will protect and energise with its natural goodness.

SO WHAT DOES THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET CONSIST OF?

Ela at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok also offers traditional Greek soups like Fasolada.

One advantage of the Mediterranean diet is that it involves shifting your dietary preference than cancelling intake altogether.

Replace refined grains with whole grains and benefit from the added nutrients and fibre while enjoying your carbs. Swap out fried sides like fries and chips and opt for hummus, beans or salads instead. Feeling peckish? Try snacking on nuts and seeds instead of processed treats.

The meat department also needs some rotation. Try to reduce their intake to twice a week as you will be getting plenty of good protein from legumes. Also, move away from red meats and choose fish and other seafood instead.

While following the menus of this region may have you thinking that it’s pizza, pasta and ice-cream all the way, know that while those items do feature in the cuisine, the locals take them in moderation, and tend to eat them in smaller portions with plenty of sides of legumes, vegetables and fruits. This is because items like pizza can contain too much processed red meats and use refined flour, while ice cream contains added refined sugar.

AND IT’S EASY TO START

The Steamed Seabass in Chili and Lime dressing served at Siam Kitchen in HomeTeamNS Khatib.

Luckily for us, Singapore has excellent access to affordable imported ingredients, which means kickstarting a Mediterranean diet is within reach! Many of the ingredients that grow on the sunny Mediterranean belt can be found in local farms as well, like tomatoes and greens.

To start, try swapping out one of your sides, or have a meal lean into the principles of more vegetables and white meat. Make small decisions; like replacing desserts full of refined sugar with fruits, or using the rich regional spices or cheese like feta and goat to flavour your food.

Singapore’s vibrant food scene also makes it easy for one to adhere to the diet. Whether it’s chowing down at Singapore Food Festival or one of the eateries at HomeTeamNS clubhouses, you can always easily find meals that line up with the diet.

For example, the Steamed Seabass at HomeTeamNS Khatib’s Siam Kitchen is one item with the fish healthily simmering in a chili and lime dressing. At Indulge Teppanyaki & Grill House in HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier, the Pan-seared Scallop Rice Bowl and Grilled Salmon Mentaiko Rice Bowl fulfil the white meat quota with sides of edamame beans and cherry tomatoes. And if you’re looking for the full experience, Ela at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok offers a delicious Greek menu with pita bread, cucumber yogurt dips, traditional salads and soups like the Fasolada, and marinated servings of chicken and octopus to complete your meal.

If you’re a HomeTeamNS member, kickstart your Mediterranean diet and enjoy 10 to 15 per cent off the total bill at the HomeTeamNS eateries above. Just flash your digital membership card in your HomeTeamNS Mobile App upon checkout.

Categories
Featured Shape Up

Fitness Workz trainer by day, Mr World Singapore finalist by night

Mr World Singapore finalist Aidid Haidil has come a long way since his life was changed by a road accident in 2017. This fitness trainer at HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz hopes to inspire others with his story.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: FITNESS WORKZ

A model, an avid football player, and a lifelong fitness enthusiast, Mr Aidid Haidil awoke from surgery in 2017 to see his right arm and leg completely encased in casts. In addition, his upper lip had been torn apart and stitched back together.

He was lucky to be alive, having survived a major road accident in which his motorcycle collided with a lorry at the cross junction next to Marsiling MRT station. Mr Aidid had been flung off his bike into the lorry’s windshield, before landing on the road.

“I thought it was just a dream as it felt like I had just woken up from a nap,” he recalled.

The sudden awakening was soon followed by a bleak period of depression, as he slowly recovered from his injuries but continued to struggle mentally.

“Knowing that I had 20 metal implants surgically placed in me, I was demotivated and started wasting my life away. I was depressed and honestly speaking, I gave up on fitness and sports as I knew for sure that everything would not be the same anymore due to the physical challenges I have permanently.”

A TURNING POINT, VIA FITNESS

Mr Aidid tried to keep a cheerful face on for the sake of his supportive family and friends, but he hit his lowest ebb when he was unable to secure his dream job as a flight attendant, having failed the skin check portion of the interview due to his physical scarring.

“I sat down by the roadside just outside the building where the interview was and I broke down badly,” he said. “I sat there for a good two hours as I could not accept the fate I had been given. But something popped out in my head, telling me to give my lecturer from ITE College West a call.”

It was the turning point for Mr Aidid. His lecturer suggested that he apply for the Work Study Diploma in Fitness Management, as Mr Aidid already had a Higher NITEC in Sports Management and his lecturer was confident that he had the capability to succeed.

Recalling how proud his parents had been when he graduated from ITE, he took a leap of faith and applied for the programme. Today, Mr Aidid is a Fitness Workz trainer at HomeTeamNS Khatib. He received the Personal Trainer Certification from the American Council of Exercise last year and has made it to the finals of the Mr World Singapore 2022 competition.

If he was able to go back to the aftermath of the accident in 2017, he says he would tell himself that everything happens for a reason, and always for the better: “It happened to make me realise that not everything will go as planned. Don’t ever give up – don’t make the same mistakes and waste the upcoming years being so hard on yourself. Get back up on both feet and achieve the success you were meant to achieve.”

HELPING HIMSELF BY HELPING OTHERS

Five years after the accident, Mr Aidid still suffers from bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder. But he tries to keep himself occupied and focuses on his mental health.

One thing that gives him a deep sense of fulfilment is helping his clients, especially NSmen like himself at Fitness Workz. While none of them have been through a similar accident, he has assisted clients who suffer from various conditions, such as slipped discs, asthma and polycystic ovary syndrome.

He is able to understand their difficulties and meet them on another level. Over time, Mr Aidid has worked to rebuild his own fitness despite his own physical challenges, such as being unable to flex or extend his wrist fully, which means that he cannot do a proper push-up or bench press.

“I told myself that I have to find ways to strengthen and condition my body again, and not let all of this pull me down,” he said. “I fought through it. The sweat, pain and literal tears were worth it – today, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

Having surpassed his former fitness levels, Mr Aidid is eager to help others do the same.

“I don’t just help the clients who have paid for their personal training sessions with me,” he said. “I attend to any gym members in need, or those who seem lost and demotivated in the gym. I approach them and guide them throughout their gym session.”

FACING THE WORLD AND SHARING HIS STORY

Mr Aidid first heard about the Mr World Singapore 2022 competition from gym members, who recommended that he enter. He took up the challenge, feeling that the event would serve as the perfect platform for him to share his story and inspire others in a similar situation.

“I took a chance,” he said. “The experiences I’ve gone through so far are amazing! From going to events, parties, getting sponsored by multiple companies and meeting new people from different backgrounds – it makes my life more interesting and I love it.”

He added: “I have a habit of not expecting great things, but with all the effort and sincerity I’ve put in, I’ve managed to progress on and become a finalist in Mr World Singapore. I believe that with my consistent effort and willingness, I will get to reach out to people and raise them back up on their feet to achieve success, just like me.”

Besides modelling and acting, Mr Aidid still enjoys his first love – football – and of course, working out at the gym. Despite his pageant success, he plans to remain in the fitness industry.

“I want to be better, gain more knowledge and further progress in this line of work,” he says of his career as a trainer. “My goals are not just for me, but also for society. I want to be the reason why people are inspired and get out of their hiding spots to achieve greatness as well.”

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How to put your best foot forward for the REAL® Run

Here’s how you can conquer the REAL® Run, whether you’re crossing that finish line for the first time or aiming to beat your personal best.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

It’s finally back: The REAL® Run.

HomeTeamNS’ annual signature event is back on the streets for the first time since the pandemic. Flagging off on October 8, the 26th REAL® Run makes a true return to form as a long-awaited physical run offering 5km and 10km categories, at Gardens by the Bay, The Meadow.

This year’s event looks to bring together runners itching for that race-day atmosphere that was missing during the virtual events staged during the pandemic. The question stands: are you ready to make the most of it?

As the saying goes, success occurs when opportunity meets preparation – let’s go over the full run-down of how best to gear yourself for the big day, from start to finish.

READY, GET SET …

First up, physical training.

REAL® Run offers two categories: the 5km and 10km run. While this isn’t quite a marathon, it’s worth bearing in mind that these are still far longer distances than the 2.4km many of us are familiar with.

Consistency is key – ensuring you can avoid both burnout and injury are key to a successful training plan. This is particularly true for beginners; it’s important to start out slow and ramp the intensity over time.

As a general rule of thumb, training between 3-4 times a week with rest days in between is ideal. A solid baseline training program generally takes place over 8 weeks, with more weeks being beneficial if you need that extra bit of prep.

For beginners, start your runs at around half of your target race distance, and gradually ramp up weekly until you can run 90%-100% of the full mileage.

For intermediate and advanced runners, throw in some interval training and tempo runs in between to improve speed and pace alongside the long runs you’ll already be used to for building endurance.

Regardless of your level of fitness or experience, remember to take the appropriate injury prevention measures. Take rest or active rest days, ice and compress joints, do plenty of stretching and, of course, eat a healthy and balanced diet.

THE FINAL STRETCH

Following weeks of training, one certainly won’t want to falter as they approach the literal and figurative finishing line.

After all, you’ve trained so hard and geared yourself mentally for so long – no reason to not finish strong by ensuring you’re well-prepared for the race day itself.

Veteran runners will know that race day prep actually begins the week before.

Continue to condition your body, but start paying extra attention to not overdoing it in order to avoid injury. Mix in several long, slow runs with a couple days of interval training at your target 5km or 10km race pace broken up with light jogging in between.

The little things matter: Clipping your toenails (don’t do this too close to the race day!), visualising the actual race and thinking of your post-run celebration plans are all small strategies that the pros incorporate before their runs.

A little bit of prep at this point also goes a long way. Lay out your race day outfit, fitness accessories and running shoes. The less you scramble on the day itself, the better your chance of being in peak condition mentally and physically during the run.

Two days ahead of time, you’ll want to ensure you get in good, carb-heavy meals to maximise both your body (nutrition) and mind (motivation) as you await the day to come. At the same time, hydrate well throughout the day.

As with all important days, you’ll also want to make sure your body gets plenty of rest a couple days before; two good night’s sleep of about 8-9 hours should do the trick.

THE BIG DAY

On the day itself, try to get a solid meal in about 2-3 hours before the race – an energy bar about an hour before the starting horn is also a good idea for that extra boost.

Remember to pace yourself by starting at a measured pace and ramping up as you get into the swing of things. If you’ve got a fitness watch, use that to keep time and check yourself against the pace you’ve become most accustomed to during training.

If all goes according to plan, the light at the end of the tunnel will come into view sooner than you’ll probably expect. Keep at it, and you’ll cross that glorious finishing line in no time – all according to plan!

But perhaps the most important tip of all: remember to enjoy yourself. Relish in the run, soak in the vibes, and don’t forget to smile when you cross the finish line!

Now that you’re equipped with the race tips, take the next stride and register for the REAL® Run now. Registration is now extended to 21 September 2022, and is open to HomeTeamNS members, SAFRA and Passion Card holders, and the public. For more details on the race entitlements and fees, please visit our website.