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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Shape Up

Why fitness still comes first

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Going the distance, digitally

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Keeping competitive flames burning strong in the new normal

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Keeping safe while exercising

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How Singapore firefighters train

TEXT: GILBERT WONG
PHOTOS: AIK CHEN

From intense fires to life-threatening medical emergencies, we explore how firefighters of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) train to be in peak physical condition to handle any crisis.