Planning to exercise and eat healthier is the easy first step to achieving your health and fitness goals in 2022. The hard part is actually getting started! Here, top fitness experts from Singapore gyms, yoga and pilates studios, share advice on how to get fit with a realistic fitness routine – and sticking with it.
#1 Set specific, clear and achievable goals
Many people make the mistake of setting vague New Year’s resolutions for themselves instead of clear, achievable goals, explains JOE HALSTEAD, founder of Options Pilates. The studio offers a variety of private and group Pilates classes, including pre- and postnatal classes, post rehab-focused sessions and dedicated classes for older adults.
“For instance, ‘I want to be healthy’ should become ‘I want to learn what it takes to eat healthier in a way that fits my lifestyle.’ ‘I want to look better’ should start out as ‘I want to make sure I exercise at least three times a week every week.’ That way, you won’t feel like you’ve failed just because you slip up once in a while, and you can get back on track instead of giving up.”
Joe even suggests breaking your New Year’s resolutions into a series of realistic, smaller goals. For instance, if you want to be healthy for life (big goal!), maybe you can start by strengthening your posture so that your neck pain goes away and you can be more active (smaller goal!) to get fit.
Options Pilates, he says, can guide you safely and effectively towards your goal – whether it’s short-term or long-term.
“A short-term goal many of our clients have is building a stronger core in order to live pain-free. For the long-term, some of our decade-long clients want to ensure that their muscles and bones are in top shape as they get older. Either way, we keep clients on track and make sure they keep exercising their way to a healthy lifestyle.”
#2 Expect results to be fast, but not instant
“People put too much pressure on themselves to see immediate results without putting measures in place to accurately gauge the outcome of the interventions,” explains PETE FISHER, director at ATP Personal Training. The Singapore gym is laser focused on helping clients get real, lasting results. “To do this, we work with each client to engineer a strategy that is realistic, but ambitious,” he says.
Of course, it takes time and determination to build healthier habits that support proper nutrition and exercise. It’s an investment that’s well worth it in the end, but one that won’t show a return overnight.
“We make sure that our clients experience fast results, as this refreshes motivation levels and secures buy-in. But long-term sustainable change takes time,” says Pete.
At ATP Personal Training, it all starts with an audit of each client’s current lifestyle – from work, sleep and downtime patterns to overall activity, dietary habits and any pre-existing health conditions. This enables ATP’s professional coaches to identify – and help remove – any potentially limiting factors that stand in the way of achieving positive, sustainable change.
#3 Don’t take the weekend “off”!
Don’t think of your weekends as “cheat days”! This is a common mistake that can seriously set you back when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals, explains PHIL SNOWDEN, personal trainer at UFIT.
“Many people tend to slip up on the weekends. They think they’ve burnt off enough calories and have reduced their calorie intake enough during the week without realising how many excess calories they’re consuming Friday through Sunday. Drinking and eating loads counteracts the deficit they created in the previous week!”
Working with a professional instructor and having a bespoke plan in place is a good solution for keeping you on track – even on the weekends.
“We take out the ‘thinking’ for you. At UFIT, you can turn up without worrying about not knowing what to do. We’ll help you find ways to create better lifestyle habits outside of the gym,” says Phil. “Plus, our training environment is top-notch and we have an awesome community!”
UFIT Health & Fitness
Club Street, One-North, Orchard and Fairmont Hotel, Raffles City
#4 Find your tribe
“For many people, working out with a friend or a group can be the perfect incentive to start an exercise programme. But, honestly, trying to sync your busy schedules could mean that you keep cancelling on each other. This could result in you cancelling your own workout!” explains ALY KHAIRUDDIN. All is a certified personal trainer, Pilates instructor and owner of FitNut Loft – a boutique fitness studio in Bukit Timah. Finding a community of people just like you can help lift your spirits and keep you going to those classes.
“Imagine joining a studio where the other participants are similar to you – in age group, interests and ability. You don’t have to rely on your friends making it to class because you know your tribe will already be there,” she says. “You may not be friends outside the studio, but in the studio, you’re workout buds. Together, you can commiserate when the exercises get too hard, cheer each other on and ‘hate on the coach’ for making you do yet another round of hard-core exercises.”
At FitNut Loft, the tribe of FitNutters is mostly women in their 40s and above who need motivation, accountability and a fun group to workout with, says Aly.
“Of course, our FitNutters all join in on ‘hating on the coach’ when we do our Glute Burn workouts!”
#5 Stay consistent
“Anything that disrupts your routine is bound to make you slip up from achieving your goal,” explains VIVIAN TWISS, founder of The VIVA Group – Pilates & Wellness. The Reformer Pilates studio offers group, private and duet classes across two locations.
To create consistency and maintain your routine to maximise your goals, VIVA offers packages of five or 10 classes. These packages offer highly discounted prices, which is a major bonus!
Also key to creating a regular and sustainable exercise routine is finding a workout that you actually love. “If you find something you enjoy doing, then it isn’t a task,” says Vivian. “Once you find an exercise you love, commit to a weekly routine – three times each week, for instance, to reap the best results.”
If you’re looking to try something that’ll work for you in a low-impact way, Pilates might be a good fit.
“Pilates tones and sculpts your muscles without creating bulk, lengthens and re-aligns your spine, corrects muscle imbalances, creates a mind-body connection and helps prevent injuries. The result is a balanced body that looks fit, feels revitalised and moves with ease,” says Vivian.
#6 Set yourself up for success
“We are surrounded by an abundance of fat-loss and muscle-building information in the media, and in well-meaning advice from friends. So, why do so many people still fail to achieve the physique they want?” asks RAYMOND KIANG, manager at Singapore gym, Ultimate Performance (U.P.). As one of the top Singapore gyms, U.P. is known for it’s no-nonsense approach. “And, even if they do manage to shed some weight, they struggle – and start putting the pounds back on after a couple of months. Such a cycle only further deters someone from ‘getting started again.’”
To set yourself up for success, he recommends mapping out a clear plan to help you get fit. And, a good personal trainer can help!
“We rarely see a new client who isn’t familiar with the gym. But, we almost never see a new client who knows how to exercise and eat properly for their specific goals and physical and biochemical makeup,” says Raymond. “Our dedicated and professional trainers offer tailored support and accountability based on your individual goals and the timeframe you’re working toward. We focus on education and developing positive habits that are sustainable. This, in turn, can empower you to lead a healthier lifestyle with confidence.”
#7 Look at your health holistically
Factoring in more than just exercise alone is how sustainable change can be achieved, explains VANAN of EzFit, a personal training company that brings the Singapore gym experience and more to clients’ doorsteps. Combining personalised fitness training, customised nutrition plans, education and a whole lot of accountability, the EzFit team’s all-encompassing approach focuses on bettering every aspect of the client’s life, not just their waistline.
“Look at your health from a holistic perspective rather than the ‘I just want to lose weight’ outlook,” advises Vanan. “We advocate a type of health coaching that looks into working out, eating better, maintaining a healthy gut, sleeping better and managing stress levels more efficiently, along with selfcare techniques that should be practiced on a daily basis.”
Now, more than ever, he says positive lifestyle changes are a must. Working with a professional can be a good solution to the “more sitting, less moving” situation we’ve experienced while working from home in the last two years.
“The human body was designed to move! Start working with someone who can help you get fit, create healthier habits, keep you motivated and celebrate the small milestones with you along the way.”
#8 Make time – and get creative if you have to!
“Getting started with a fitness routine and getting motivated all centres around making time, knowing what to do and getting creative in a pinch,” says JEREMY MARCOTT, yoga teacher at PURE Yoga Singapore. As a single parent, he knows how difficult it can be to take some time for himself to practice yoga. “But, if there’s a will, there’s a way! You can always find a little time to do something for yourself,” he says.
If childcare is what’s keeping you from making time to get fit, there are plenty of ways to problem solve – so, no excuses! Jeremy suggests trading kids with other parents or booking play dates to get in that much-needed workout time.
“It takes a village to raise a child. When my daughter’s friends come over for a play date, I’ll ask them to take my little one for a couple hours so I can sneak in a yoga session. Meanwhile, my little one gets to spend time with other people,” he says. “This can help alleviate any guilt you might feel by leaving your kid for an hour or so.”
The iPad too, can be a real lifesaver for squeezing in that “you time”. Jeremy suggests setting up an educational app for your child, then logging on to PURECAST, PURE Yoga’s live-streamed classes. Even if you can’t watch live, the videos can be played back for five days.
“Practicing online with teachers you know is a great help, as you will likely remember many of their sequences from the in-studio classes.”
Get started with a PURE Power Pack, including a one-month membership bundle, plus great offers on fitness, food and apparel! (Original version, $295; Pro version, with four personal training sessions and extra benefits, $625.)
PURE Yoga Singapore
Locations at Orchard (Ngee Ann City), Marina Bay (Asia Square Tower 2), Suntec City and Raffles Place (Republic Plaza)
#9 Make it personal
Everyone is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all exercise programme. That’s why enlisting the guidance of a professional personal trainer can be so beneficial, says the team at FITLUC Gym in the CBD. In fact, the Singapore gym is exclusively focused on personal training, with two levels of indoor training facilities and a rooftop terrace-training zone with panoramic city views. Training plans are customised according to each client’s specific needs and lifestyles, taking into account any pain and previous injuries.
From celebrities to CEOs to stay-at-home mums, clients of all ages and stages have benefited from working with the Singapore gym’s professional trainers to help them achieve their goals – whether it’s fat loss, weight loss, post-natal recovery or regaining mobility.
“Working with a professional personal trainer will allow you to exercise safely, and with constant motivation to prevent procrastination,” says LUCAS LIM, founder and director of FITLUC. “It also means you never have to worry about what exercises to do in the gym or risk injury with improper form.”
EL readers looking to get fit can use the code “EXPATLIVING10” to get 10 percent off a personal training trial.
21A Keong Saik Road, Level 2
This article first appeared in the January 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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