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Work that Dad bod off

Your Dad bod won’t melt away overnight, but it’s not an unattainable dream. We speak to a Fitness Workz trainer for some fitness advice.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

With community restrictions lifting, borders re-opening and vacation season upon us, it’s high time to start working on getting fit to look good in all those travel photos we’ll be snapping. After all, who doesn’t want a summer bod while on that beach holiday?

Alas, achieving a trim tummy is easier said than done.

Ask any fitness instructor and they’ll tell you that losing the gut is one of the hardest goals in exercise. Not only do you need the right kind of workouts – special attention needs to be paid to your diet.

Fret not, as we have you covered. Here are some tips and tricks from a HomeTeamNS trainer to start you on your journey to six-pack abs.

BELLY FAT MYTHS

Before you begin your journey to stripping away that Dad bod, it’s important to understand some of the common misconceptions around belly fat and what it takes to lose or maintain it.

As Fitness Workz trainer Deyna Sabryna shares, a bulging belly is a common area of concern for most people – which means that when people come across a diet or fitness trend that promises quick results, most people jump on it (often to varying degrees of effectiveness).

“A common misunderstanding is that belly fat is just the same as body fat. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is accumulated deep under the skin around the organs,” she shared.

Notably, visceral fat can often lead to health issues like insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. This means that choosing the right approach to belly fat loss, backed by health science, is essential to preserving one’s health (as opposed to simply riding on the latest TikTok quick workout trend).

Ms Sabryna shares another misconception that one should “avoid fatty food” in order to avoid a Dad bod. Rather, belly fat occurs due to a variety of factors, which include having an unhealthy diet, inactivity, sleeping patterns and other lifestyle habits.

“Only by making changes in every area and practising healthy lifestyle habits will you be able to shave some inches from your waistline,” she advised.

THE ROAD TO A TRIM TUMMY

One of the first things to recognise when planning a fitness regimen to start shaving belly fat is that one cannot target weight loss at one’s gut.

 “Spot targeting fat is not effective in general. If you are trying to lose body fat, a mix of strength and resistance training, high intensity aerobic exercises and a healthy diet are key,” said Ms Sabryna.

Some of the recommended exercises for those seeking to trim down a Dad bod include strength training aimed at working on your chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs and so on, as well as cardio training like running, brisk walking or cycling.

Ms Sabryna personally recommends joining a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class, which combines the best of both worlds of strength and cardio training for best results.

For beginners, she adds that it’s also important to start by doing some mobility and flexibility work. This is to help build up one’s range of motion and to ascertain strengths and weaknesses, and can be of particular benefit when working with a fitness trainer.

 “Based on this initial assessment, I will know which part of the muscle that we can start working on. For those in their 40s and 50s, we’ll know that you will need more time to slowly work with as they can be prone to getting injured easily. That’s why we make sure our clients understand the process in order to achieve a goal that will take time and dedication,” she elaborated.

Besides exercising, it’s important to also factor in the holistic lifestyle changes you should adopt.

These include eating regular, balanced meals (don’t skip breakfast!), incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables and high-fibre food into your diet, drinking lots of water and also maintaining a consistently active lifestyle.

CONSISTENCY IS KING

According to Ms Sabryna, by ensuring you maintain your habits in both exercise and diet, noticeable weight loss and muscle changes can come in as few as six weeks.

“Notably, eating a calorie deficit is not important – you will actually need to be eating enough carbs and protein to help repair muscles. People who train and do not address nutrition will have a harder time achieving and sustaining results,” she explained.

Another note of importance is that there isn’t such a thing as a six-pack shortcut.

Ms Sabryna shares that six-pack abs are the result of a very low body fat percentage. It’s when the subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin) gets very depleted that you will most likely be able to see your abdominal muscles. This can only be achieved with proper habits and nutrition over an extended period.

As a general rule of thumb, one shouldn’t expect to ditch their Dad bod immediately after starting their new routine. As with many things, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to trimming the tummy.

“There is no shortcut to losing weight. It takes time and dedication in order to achieve your goal. But if you are not quite sure about what exercises help or lack motivation, you can engage in one-to-one personal training, ask a friend to be your buddy workout, or even join group classes,” she said.

When it comes to the latter, Fitness Workz offers a range of programmes that help beginners and veterans alike level-up their fitness game. For example, NS FIT is a holistic fitness programme that offers Home Team NSmen more opportunities to stay active and exercise regularly beyond IPPT-specific training.

Depending on your needs and existing workout preferences, one can either clock NS FIT sessions at physical Fitness Workz Gyms, or sign up for Virtual Fitness Training (VFT) sessions – that sort of flexibility is key to ensuring one can maintain that long-term fitness journey, after all!

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Fighting fit for National Service

Enlisting for National Service soon? We talk to a Fitness Workz trainer to find out how you can improve your conditioning to be in the best possible shape for NS!

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: FITNESS WORKZ

If you’re about to enlist for National Service (NS), it’s understandable to feel some trepidation over what lies in wait over the next two years. After all, NSmen are trained rigorously to ready themselves to defend our country – an important duty which calls for the requisite level of physical fitness.

Even so, with the right mindset and plan in place, you can place yourself on the right track to emerging from NS stronger in both body and mind, while having had the best experience possible – and we’re here to guide you through that!

EXPECTING WHAT TO EXPECT

Some of the challenges NSmen can typically expect to undergo include adjusting to new living environments and routines, hours of demanding physical training sessions, and a range of intensive physical activities which call for a high level of fitness.

According to Mr Muhammad Danish’aizat Bin Kamsani, a fitness trainer at Fitness Workz, setting realistic fitness goals is one way to stay on track and motivated before enlistment and throughout the NS journey.

“This gives you a framework through which you can achieve milestones. Achieving your fitness goal can be rewarding and being fit ahead of enlistment can reduce the risk of injury during basic training,” he shared.

So, how does one structure that fitness plan?

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TIME

As a rule of thumb, it is ideal to allow yourself around a year to prepare for NS – this allows plenty of time for you to train at a measured pace and condition your body before enlisting.

Mr Danish’aizat recommends hitting the gym three days a week for the first few months, then ramping up the frequency to five weekly sessions as you progress.

“Always aim for improvement every week and try out new training styles. Having a few gym kakis can also help you stay motivated and focused on your fitness goals,” he advised.

Of course, not everyone may have the luxury of time to spend a full year of training. For instance, if one only has a month to prep before enlisting, Mr Danish’aizat recommends focusing on improving cardiovascular health and muscular endurance for the best short-term gains possible.

“This can help you to be mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming training sessions,” he explained.

THE ROAD TO GETTING FIGHTING FIT

When it comes to the exercises, our fitness trainer notes that focusing on strengthening your pectoralis and abdominal muscles before enlisting will translate into the greatest benefits for your NS journey. Again, tie these back to goals you wish to achieve.

For example, training yourself to run the 2.4km under 13 minutes will improve your cardiovascular fitness – which can not only help with the 2.4km run itself, but also a wide range of physical activities you can expect during NS.

Fun fact: Incorporating additional exercises to develop your shoulders, arms, back and legs can also improve your overall cardiovascular health! Doing so will also enhance your holistic strength, allowing you to tackle the physical challenges that come with NS more easily.

FITNESS FOR LIFE

Apart from fitness training, Mr Danish’aizat recommends maintaining a balanced, healthy diet to complement your training while also mentally preparing yourself for lifestyle changes during NS.

“Simply replace vegetable oil with olive oil, choose baking or air-frying over deep-frying. Try to prepare your own meals as much as possible or pick healthier options when you eat out. Getting used to eating healthy will also make it easier to acclimatise to a new healthy lifestyle upon enlistment,” he explained.

Through it all, the fitness habits picked up during NS will be helpful long after your stint is complete.

“Fitness does not stop as there is no limit to it. Continuing to live an active and healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of illness and improve your mental health! Each new day is a new opportunity to improve yourself – take it and make the most out of it,” Mr Danish’aizat advised.

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Getting fit with your phone

Screen time on your phone isn’t all about Netflix and social media – your phone can also help you become better, stronger and fitter. Here’s how.

TEXT: NICHOLAS TAN

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

Our smartphones allow us to do just about anything and everything – from keeping in touch with loved ones to accessing any manner of content or information our minds can imagine.

For those in the know, our smartphones not only help us stay connected and catch up with the news; they’re also a great means to kickstart your fitness journey. Whether you’re an exercise newbie or fitspo veteran, mobile technology can give your workout plan a serious boost.  

BUILDING YOUR FITNESS PLAN

If you’ve been telling your family and friends about how you’re “thinking about hiring a personal trainer”, you may consider starting off with your smartphone.

With access to a limitless database of fitness information online, understanding how to get started on (or enhance) your fitness regime has never been easier.

For one, your phone is a great way to research different exercises and workout programmes that suit your fitness profile – particularly useful to make the most of your time during lull periods in one’s day, like your daily commute. Apps can also be used to set fitness targets and construct plans to achieve them, while providing workout recommendations and health tips along the way.

Mr Afiq Syahmi, our Fitness Trainer at Fitness Workz, is partial to the Nike Training Club app as his fitness companion of choice.

“If you’re into fitness, then the Nike Training Club app is for you! The app has a user-friendly interface, and personalised workouts that make it suitable for anyone new to fitness or looking for something fun and new,” he explained.

The app grants access to more than 200 free workouts ranging from strength, endurance, yoga and mobility exercises that target your upper body, lower body and core muscles. Afiq notes that each workout can vary from five to 50 minutes, depending on your needs and lifestyle.

KEEPING YOU ON TRACK

While wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit or Garmin watches are all the rage, you don’t necessarily need to buy one, especially if you’re just starting out. Modern smartphones can easily act as a fitness tracker, given the right combination of apps.

These range from apps like Apple’s Health app which tracks general activity level, including metrics like steps and calories burnt, to specialised apps tailored to cyclists (Cyclemeter) and ones incorporating social networking elements (Nike Running).

Afiq adds that some apps can incentivise your workouts to give you that little extra push.

“Fitness apps like LumiHealth reward users with app credits and vouchers by participating in their in-app fitness challenges. These game-like challenges encourage the users to form healthy habits and stay motivated on their fitness journey,” he elaborated.

Such apps not only add a little more fun into your fitness experience, but also promote bonding through exercising with friends and family – all in order to push one another to greater heights.

BALANCING YOUR OVERALL WELLNESS

One important rule to live by: Exercise isn’t the be-all, end-all for those who are on a path towards living a balanced lifestyle.

Nutrition and sleep are two essential components to living an overall healthier life – both of which can be enhanced if you use your phone to track your progress.

There are a wide variety of phone apps that can be used to research, build and stick to diets, as well as track sleep quality and deliver recommendations to improve sleep for health benefits.

For instance, MyFitnessPal boasts comprehensive nutrition logging with an easy-to-use database offering nutritional information for millions of different foods. SleepCycle tracks your quality of sleep and sleep patterns, and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase every morning – ensuring you always start your days well-rested and ready to get moving!

USING TECH THE RIGHT WAY

While there may be a lot your phone can do for you when it comes to levelling up your health, technology will only get you so far.

“While many fitness apps grant a quick fix for the public, few can curate workout programmes that cater to their individual fitness levels and needs. It’s also possible for users to overly rely on fitness apps’ default fitness programmes, neglecting their capabilities and safety in the gym,” advised Afiq.

He goes on to suggest that personal trainers are a great way to bridge these gaps, since they can provide real-time feedback and make quick adjustments to ensure that safety is not compromised.

Of course, he believes that it shouldn’t be a choice between one or the other – personal trainers and technology can go hand-in-hand to keep you on track with your fitness journey.

“Managing multiple members at once can be challenging because the sessions are back-to-back most of the time. Personal trainers must review members’ progress within a limited timeframe before a new session begins. As a personal trainer, I can efficiently track a member’s progress and plan the upcoming personal training session with the fitness app,” he explained.

“Our members can review their progress through the fitness app and inquire via the in-app messager. Fitness apps help streamline the process, and I can focus on curating more personalised programmes,” he added.

At the end of the day, whichever method you adopt, the most important principle in fitness is to stay focused and be consistent. Drawing up a plan, establishing clear goals, and maintaining diligence are the key ingredients to achieving better fitness overtime. Apps and personal trainers will guide you along the path to success, but you must ultimately walk that path with your own two feet.

New to the scene? Try kickstarting your fitness journey with a trusty partner or a friend to push each other to greater fitness heights.

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Couple workouts for every level of fitness

Couples who train together stay together! In Part 2 of our couple workouts series, we explore four exercises that can get you moving with your partner whether you are both beginners or workout veterans.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: MEDIACORP STUDIO 3

Last month, Fitness Workz trainers Azmirah Azman and Aidid Haidil shared how couple workouts can help keep you aligned towards a common goal and facilitate your common fitness goals over the long term, regardless of your level of fitness.

Whether it’s in the gym or at the fitness corner, exercising as a couple carries a multitude of benefits, from improving the consistency of your overall fitness journey to reinforcing the bonds and confidence levels shared by both individuals.

As you each become fitter and more knowledgeable, these couple workouts get increasingly productive as you discover ways to play to each other’s strengths and improve on weaknesses.

In this story, we explore how you and your companion can add greater depth to conventional exercises, activating key muscle groups in novel ways, and keeping your training plan fresh and exciting through a series of four partner exercises.

PLACING A TWIST ON THE HUMBLE SIT-UP

Muscle groups targeted and benefits: Rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques.

Sit-ups are a staple in any athlete’s repertoire of exercises. Done correctly, it helps stimulate your core abdominal muscles to build strength and develop that highly sought-after muscle tone (don’t forget to pair with a fat burning diet so that 6-pack can really shine!).

In addition to building core strength, sit-ups are a great way to build athletic performance, improve posture, and enhance balance and stability.

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  1. Basic: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet anchored. Tuck your chin into your chest to lengthen the back of your neck. Cup your ears or cross your arms with your hands on opposite shoulders.
  2. Exhale as you lift your upper body up toward your thighs. Inhale as you slowly lower yourself back down to the floor.
  3. Intermediate: Try back-to-back sit-ups, introducing a twist as you lift your upper body, clapping your partner’s hand on alternating sides with every rep.
  4. Advanced: To crank up the intensity, pass a medicine ball between yourselves. This can add some serious additional resistance so you really feel the burn!

MIXING IT UP WITH CRUNCHES

Muscle groups targeted and benefits:  Forearm muscles, wrist flexors, lats, upper back (Monkey bar Crunches), and Abdominal muscles, obliques, hip flexors (Crunches).

Monkey bar crunches are a core muscle exercise with a greater range of movement than sit-ups. They help build forearm and upper body strength for that quintessential athlete’s V-shaped physique. This exercise helps to build greater core strength while improving balance and flexibility.

Working with a partner is key to gradually ramping up the intensity. A partner can assist you by gently holding your legs to support the movements as your arms and abdominal muscles acclimatise to your body weight and the range of movement.

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  1. Start monkey bar crunches by hanging on a pull-up bar. As you inhale, engage your core muscles.
  2. Lift knees across your body to your left until thighs are perpendicular to chest. Lower your legs, then repeat the movement on the right.
  3. You and your partner can also perform crunches in tandem. Sit on the floor facing to one side and lean back at 45 degrees. Raise and hold both feet slightly above the ground.
  4. Raise your knees towards your chest and lower on the opposite side. Level up by slowing your crunches or trying to gradually weave your legs higher and higher over your partner’s. Or, have a friendly competition to see who can perform more reps.

SIDESTEPPING FOR AGILITY USING LATERAL SHUFFLE THROWS

Muscle groups targeted and benefits: Glutes, quads, inner and outer thigh, shoulder muscles, triceps and latissimus dorsi.

Lateral movements are key to building agility. They improve your ability to make swift movements in a controlled manner, maintaining balance in every movement.

The lateral shuffle throw activates smaller muscle groups outside the usual dominant muscle groups. It helps engage muscles holistically, evening out muscular imbalances and stabilising your hips. This is also a really fun way of keeping workouts fresh and stimulating.

Remember to engage your core throughout the exercise and keep your chest lifted. This will help you maintain proper form. Focus on making the full range of movement while ensuring the correct muscle groups are engaged at every stage of the exercise.

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  1. Basic: Stand with your feet a hip’s width apart. Sink into a deep knee bend. Bring both hands in front of the chest in a guard position holding the ball.
  2. Move your right foot to the right and follow through with your left foot. Shuffle four times to the right. Throw the ball to your partner then move left. Repeat the same moves, moving to the left this time.
  3. Intermediate: Turn this into a game by speeding up or adding unpredictability into the exercise. This helps you to train both mind and body while having heaps of fun.
  4. Advanced: Try performing the entire exercise with squats ranging from mid-to-low height. Challenge your partner to see just how low you both can go!

BUILD THOSE PECS WITH PARTNER PLANKS

Muscle group target and benefits: Pectoral muscles (chest), deltoids (shoulders), triceps, abdominals, serratus anterior (wings).

Planks are a mainstay in many home workouts. The plank pose is an exercise in mindfulness – engaging many of the major muscle groups of the body in a single pose and challenging your mind to endure the burn of the fixed position for as long as you can possibly go. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line, keeping your abdominal muscles tight throughout the exercise.

Planking with a partner encourages you to push harder. You can also check that each is maintaining proper form to get the most out of the exercise. Who better to push you to greater heights than a highly-competitive workout buddy?

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  1. Basic: Begin in a kneeling position. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and pitch forward so your hands, forearms and elbows are on the floor. Extend your legs behind you with toes tucked under to press into the plank.
  2. Intermediate: Start in a standard plank position. Fully extend one arm at a time so you are in a push-up plank position.
  3. Tap your partner’s hand while in a push up position. Revert to a standard plank position and repeat.
  4. Advanced: For a true challenge, try performing an overlap plank with your partner –one person planks directly on top of their partner who’s already in a plank position. Then, perform a push up at the same time.

Get your engines moving with your workout partner! Try out these workouts together over at our Fitness Workz gyms and spice it up with the equipment available. Book your preferred gym outlet and timing all in one place with our new and improved HomeTeamNS Mobile App now!

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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.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

PHOTOS: FITNESS WORKZ

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.

GETTING YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME

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.”

A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF EXERCISE

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.

OPTIMISED WORKOUTS FOR EVERY LEVEL OF FITNESS

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.

IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN

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.

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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.

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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.

Categories
Shape Up

HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse: A Sports Hub for all

Body or mind, young or younger, HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse offers sports courses for a variety of interests. From aikido to pilates, here are some of the classes you can enjoy on your fitness journey.

TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

The HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse offers numerous options for members looking to get their game on. Centrally located, the clubhouse is accessible to many.

Enjoy basking in the sun and breaking a sweat? You might want to sign up for the swimming or tennis classes.  If you don’t fancy working on your tan, try the beginner-friendly yoga or pilates classes. Apart from boosting your physical fitness, these activities also help you achieve a positive, healthy mindset.

ACTIVITIES FOR ALL

Aside from the extensive range of activities, courses are usually available at different times, offering members and guests greater flexibility. Whether you are coming from work on a weeknight or dropping by for some family time on the weekends, HomeTeamNS-JOM has got you covered. Here are eight activities that are perfect for the family:

1. Tennis

The court game offers you a chance to tone your body, work on those motor skills and throw in a good cardio workout in one swoop. Smash your way through the week as classes are available every evening. Beginner members pay S$120 (Public rate of S$160) for four sessions, and intermediate players get the same at S$160 (Public rate of S$200).

Sign up for tennis classes here.

2. Aikido

With the meaning “way of harmonising energy”, Aikido is a form of martial arts that focuses on turning your opponents’ own attacks and momentum against them. This gentle approach makes it perfect for kids to adopt. Choose from afternoon and evening classes throughout the week! Members can enjoy the rate of S$240 (Public rate of S$330) for 10 sessions.

Sign up for Aikido classes here.

3. Swimming

Singapore’s sweltering weather makes a trip to the pool the best escape, so pick up some basic skills with the beginners’ class and tone those muscles while you’re at it. There are plenty of slots for your kids, with weekend options from 9am to 6pm. What’s more, members enjoy 12 swimming sessions at only S$224.70 (Public rate of S$278.20)!

Drop an email to enquiries_balestier@hometeamns.sg, to sign up for swimming classes.

4. Karate

If parents and children want to share their experiences and exchange tips during the same session, then the Karate classes are a good option. Lessons happen every Saturday with the kids’ classes going first. Then they can sit back and watch mum or dad have a go. For eight sessions, members only pay S$140 (Public rate of S$170) for Junior classes and S$160 (Public rate of S$180) for the adults.

Sign up for Karate classes here.

5. Pilates

Stretch out and strengthen – that’s what Pilates offers participants. The low-impact activity makes it relatively low-risk for those with creaky joints! Come during Mondays and early Saturdays if you’re new to this gentle sport, and work your way to intermediate classes on Thursdays. Prefer a little more power to your routine? Opt for the HIIT variation, also available on Saturdays. Members pay S$90 (Public rate of S$100) flat for eight sessions.

Sign up for Pilates classes here.

6. Basketball

Scoring baskets isn’t as easy as it looks, and kids who find themselves hitting “nothing but net” will feel incredibly rewarded when they do. Have them practise twice a week with member rates of S$450 (Public rate of S$500) for 10 sessions, and watch them smile when they land those drops.

Drop an email to enquiries_balestier@hometeamns.sg, to sign up for basketball classes.

7. Badminton

It’s one of the games many of us played when we were young. But if you find yourself struggling with your backhand or shuttle control, pick up some beginner-friendly lessons at just S$260 (Public rate of S$320) for eight sessions.

Sign up for badminton classes here.

8. Gymnastics

This sport is gaining in popularity as people have begun to realise how powerful it is at strengthening core muscles. Becoming nimble is an added advantage! There’s no better time to embark on your discovery on the mat (or maybe pommel horse one day?). Members get a hefty 50 per cent off the one-time membership fees for the course.

For more information or to book a slot for gymnastics classes, call 6256 8191 (Balestier).

HomeTeamNS-JOM has more in store for you! Explore other exciting classes and courses to join with your friends and family here.

HAVE FUN, STAY SAFE

You’re here to keep healthy, and we’re here to keep you safe. While soaking in the fun, HomeTeamNS has Safe Management Measures  in place to keep you and your loved ones protected.

Venues and classes have strictly-enforced capacity limits and every participant is screened for their vaccination status. Cleaning and disinfection measures have been stepped up at high-contact points, and hand sanitisers are available around the clubhouse. Navigate your way easily to class with markings and signs that highlight the latest measures. And when it comes to the spaces themselves, every effort is made to maintain hygiene, and facilities like swimming pools are cleaned regularly to keep COVID-19 at bay.

POST-WORKOUT REWARD

You’ve pushed yourself to the max, now it’s time to treat yourself at the eateries in HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse. As they also offer member discounts, you’ll get to spend less but indulge more! Have a hearty finish at Indulge Teppanyaki and Grill House, where you’ll find Western favourites served with a fusion twist.

The classics are all here: Generous 200g Australian Striploin Steak, Grilled Cajun Chicken Breast, and for the undecided, a Mixed Grill. If you wish to go for new spins, try the Grilled Salmon Mentaiko or Black Pepper Smoked Duck. If you have a relatively small post-workout appetite, Indulge Teppanyaki and Grill House offers reasonably-sized salad and soba bowls that make for healthy options too.

Seafood lovers will enjoy Jom Makan Seafood — the restaurant serves up fresh barbecued varieties.

The setting is kept casual because the focus is on the food, and whether you’re craving crustaceans or fish, you’re in for a satisfying meal at this Muslim-owned business.

Whichever your choice, you know you won’t have to worry about that bill. Members enjoy 15 per cent off their final total, so chow down with glee.

Find out how you and your loved ones can kickstart your fitness journey and spend quality time together at the HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier Clubhouse

Categories
Shape Up

Home workouts worth breaking a sweat for

From Tiktok to YouTube, here’s how to formulate a plan to get ripped without leaving the house — that you can ramp up over time, too.

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK, HOMETEAMNS

COVID-19 cases are on the rise. You’re being socially responsible and staying home. With naught else to do, work, snacks and Netflix occupy the day. Life isn’t so bad. But as your belly grows, so will, in all likelihood, the frequency of your significant other’s nagging and the “food baby” jabs from friends. We’ve all been there, and eventually most of us make that decision to get off our butts and get back into shape (or at least a shape that isn’t just round).

Fortunately, the transition from Disney+ to a home workout routine might not be so far off – one just needs to channel that desire for streamed content into more productive avenues, bit by bit.

A RABBIT HOLE OF INSPIRATION TO GET YOUR BODY MOVING

First things first, you aren’t getting anywhere without a little bit of motivation – so why not add some #fitspo into your daily content browsing experience? TikTok may seem counterintuitive as a platform for fitness inspiration, but there are multitudes of creators on it who find ways to share muscle-building secrets, motivational tips and healthy lifestyle information into the short video format.

With a vast variety of content and creator styles, ranging from exercise coach Antonie Lokhorst to health and wellness guru Kayla Iutzwig, this endless stream has it all. Along the way, you’re likely to pick up a few ideas for a diet or high-intensity internal training (HIIT) routine, and even some knowledge about how best to go about restoring the six-pack you had ten years ago.

On that note, as you take the first step down this road, you’ll want to start off slow and steady – ensuring consistency is key. To develop a habit for exercise, try incorporating short, easy, repeatable and fun elements into your daily regime. A great example is the viral 15-minute TikTok Dance Party workout – a full body, no-equipment cardio workout paired with a hi-energy soundtrack that’ll have your body moving to the rhythm and craving for more.

STRUCTURE YOUR TRAINING PLAN BY LEARNING FROM THE PROS

The next step would be to put together a fitness regimen and stick to it. Now, you could hire a personal trainer or nutritionist, or pay for an online course — but why do all that when you have easy access to a nigh-limitless library of fitness information and instructionals that guide you to the T, all for free?

In recent years, YouTube has been become a veritable repository of high-quality fitness content, made by people from different backgrounds, with varying body types, and who have embarked on different journeys to glory.

Use the site to find information about the kinds of exercises you should do, how you can do them, and everything in between to optimise your sessions. When you’re up for a bit of a challenge, give this 30-minute HIIT workout a try.

This is yet another equipment-free calorie-burner you can do solo or over a Zoom call with friends that’s guaranteed to get your heart pumping with high-knees, fast feet, and star jumps, while strengthening your core and lower body with jumping lunges and planks.

To achieve all your body transformation goals, you’ll also find that meal prep guides, diet plans, and in-depth advice are all readily available on the platform to get you started regardless of your level of knowledge and the physical shape you are currently in.

TRAINING VIRTUALLY WITH THE LADS TO CRUSH YOUR NEXT IPPT

Each of us train for different reasons. For many NSmen, one of those reasons is to prepare for their next Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). Sadly, with it being harder to meet up with the gang at the gym every week, this journey can be a lonely one.

Fortunately, Home Team NSmen can now choose to train and clock in their NS FIT programmes virtually through the Virtual Fitness Training (VFT) programme! Hosted by HomeTeamNS Fitness Workz, VFT sessions are a convenient alternative to help NSmen improve their overall well-being and train for their IPPT.

There are two virtual class slots every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and you can sign up with your bros for one of four programmes which ranges from building up core strength to improving overall muscular power and endurance through total body conditioning. With a new kid on the block, Home Team NSmen can now sign up for the all new Friday session, where they can experience toning exercises (Sculpting60) and boxing movements (Box60).

These VFTs are a great way to punctuate your existing home-based routine with a spot of group exercise, to keep things fresh and your motivation going strong. They’re a great way to get through your 10-session NS FIT training programme and, who knows, you might very well find yourself aceing that next IPPT while hardly breaking a sweat! Not bad for an ex-couch potato, yes?

Prep for your IPPT, or simply improve your overall fitness level, by signing up for VFT. Alternatively, head over to the VFT website for more information on curriculum and class schedules.

Categories
Shape Up

Taking the less intense road to fitness

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

TEXT: NICHOLAS JACOB

IMAGES: FITNESS WORKZ

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

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

WORK FROM HOME, WORKOUT AT HOME

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN TOGETHER

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

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

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

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

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

A STRONG START IS HALF THE BATTLE WON

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

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

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

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