Monday, September 28, 2020

Improvising Your Home Workouts With Common Household Objects

With the COVID-19 pandemic still wrecking havoc throughout the world, and with most commercial gyms and fitness facilities operating with severe capacity limitations and restrictions, more and more people are now turning to in-home workouts to meet their fitness needs.

In fact, home workouts have become so popular in recent times that many stores carrying home-based fitness equipment have reported soaring sales, with even some having sold-out many of their most popular home fitness items! 

For those of us who could not get our hands on any commercial home fitness equipment - either due to the current insane demand, or because of one's own budgetary constraints - fret not. 

In this post, we're going to look at various common household objects found right within our homes that could easily be used to substitute traditional fitness tools, or even used as standalone fitness props by themselves.

Without further ado, the following are some great alternatives and substitutes that you may consider using for your home training needs without spending a cent:

A. Dining Chair


Image of a dining chair used for exercise

A dining-room chair is a fantastic piece of furniture that can easily serve as a workout bench for key bodyweight exercises such as bench dips, incline push-ups, knee tucks, supported squats, chair planks etc. Just make sure that you choose one that is solid and sturdy enough to support your body weight.

B. Laundry Baskets

Image of a laundry basket used for exercise
Your humble laundry basket - when fully-filled with dirty clothes or other improvised items to weigh it down - make a great fitness tool too! You can perform traditional strength-and-conditioning exercises such as: sumo deadlifts, bent-over rows, loaded carries or even improvised sled pushes and prowler drags with it!

C. Bath Towel

Image of a bath towel used for exercising

Practically everyone has a bath towel at home. When folded and placed on a smooth flooring, you can easily use it as an exercise glider for movements such as: plank slides, hamstring curls, reverse lunges etc. On top of it, you can also roll it up length-wise, anchor it around a solid piece of furniture or home structure and use it for towel rows, arm curls, chest flyes and other bodyweight suspension exercises.

D. Soup Cans / Mineral Water Bottles

Image of mineral water bottles used in exercise

Even if you don't have a single dumbbell at home, you can always count on using common household items such as: water bottles, canned goods, cylindrical food containers etc. as dumbbell replacements for your strength and resistance training needs. When used as improvised dumbbells, these items allow you to basically do any and every exercise that a dumbbell can do - from overhead presses to upright rows, from bicep curls to lateral raises.

E. Backpacks

Image of a backpack used in exercises

An empty backpack may not weigh much, but when filled with heavy items such as a pile of books or soup cans, can be easily transformed into a formidable workout tool! Just like a weighted vest, a filled backpack can be used as an external resistance to exercises such as: squats, traveling lunges, step-ups, chin-ups and even bear crawls.

F. Steps / Stairs

Image of a home stairway that can be used for workouts

Any flight of steps or stairs right within your home compound can be used for your cardio workouts as well as for a variety of conditioning work. From stair climbs to stair lunges, from stair hops to stair crawls, stair exercises provide plenty of options and variety to one's workout routine even if you can no longer venture outdoors for your long runs or bike rides due to the ongoing pandemic or simply because of bad weather.

G. Detergent Bottles / Milk Jugs

Image of a milk jug used for exercising

Single-handle containers such as detergent bottles and milk jugs are excellent for replicating the moves of a commercial-grade kettlebell. With them, you can virtually perform all types of kettlebell exercises and moves such as: swings, cleans, snatches, presses and rows - all within the confines of your home!

H. Walls

Image of a blank wall that can be used for home workouts.

Who says walls have no practical use in an exercise program? Being one of the most accessible items at home, any unobstructed wall in the home can be used for tried-and-tested movements such as: wall push-ups, wall-sits, wall bridges, wall hand-stands and even wall reverse crawls. Game for a wall workout, anyone?

I. Couch


Image of a home couch used for exercising.

Rather than laze on the couch, binge endlessly on Netflix and see your waistline grow, learn to use the couch constructively as an exercise tool to burn calories and to tone-up your entire body. Once you clear your couch of the soft cushions, pillows and other unnecessary fluff, you'll have a solid training platform to perform a whole array of exercises ranging from dips to side planks, from decline push-ups to Bulgarian split squats and more!

J. Broomstick

Image of a broomstick used for exercise workouts.

That broomstick resting in the corner of your storeroom is another inexpensive and versatile tool that can be easily adapted for exercise use. Remove the head of the broom, and you'll have a wooden pole that can be used for specialized core training (replete with all the necessary rotation, twisting and bending moves) as well as a variety of other conditioning and mobility drills.

K. Paper Plates

Image of paper plates used for exercising.
Who ever thought that the disposable paper plates leftover from your previous BBQ or birthday party could be used as sliders and gliders on your home flooring? In fact, for sliding and gliding exercises such as sliding lunges, sliding walk-outs, sliding burpees etc. few items, if any, work better than the lowly paper plates!

L. Crate / Stool 

Image of a low stool used for exercise

A sturdy low stool or a discarded wooden crate in your backyard can also be easily converted into a useful exercise tool for movements such as: step-ups, step-downs, seated knee tucks, bench dips, supported pistol squats etc. Again, please make sure that the stool or crate can support your body weight before attempting any of the above moves!

M. Socks

Image of a pair of old socks used for exercising.

Most people have more socks than they ever need at home. Often tucked away somewhere in the drawers or carelessly strewn around on the floor, socks are omnipresent in almost every home. Rather than discard your unwanted socks into the bin, use them for a variety of sliding and gliding exercises like curtsy lunges, plank jacks, mountain climbers and more!

N. Travel Suitcase / Luggage

Image of a travel suitcase suitable for exercise use.
With the current pandemic, overseas travel and vacations abroad are practically off limits for most people. As such, it makes sense to dust off the cobwebs from your travel suitcase and put it to good use! For an effective and functional workout, load your suitcase with books, magazines and other weighted objects and use it for exercises like: elevated hip thrusts, hop-overs, thrusters, and its very own name-sake - the suitcase carry!

Well, there you have it. A whole list of household objects that could function as alternative fitness gear or exercise tools without costing you a single dime.

In fact, with further imagination, creativity and resourcefulness , the above list could be expanded almost indefinitely.

However, rather than just limit yourself to working-out at home with these improvised household implements, do also feel free to explore other training options and modalities, including: training with just your own body weight, or even venturing outdoors to public parks, beaches, playgrounds etc. to get some outdoor training done!

Some words of caution though. 

Whichever option you choose, make sure that you listen to your body, know your limits, and always exercise in good form and with the correct technique.

When in doubt, do seek the advice of a medical doctor, a trained physiotherapist or a certified personal trainer

Last, but not least, don't forget to ENJOY yourself and have FUN!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Non-Running Cardio Drills For Older Adults And Seniors

Running has been around for a long time and is a popular cardiovascular exercise for many.

However, for some mid-life, older adults and seniors in our midst, running may NOT actually be a suitable exercise nor a viable option for them.

Common reasons cited by those who could not incorporate running into their exercise routines include: "running hurts my knees", "it's too vigorous", "it's so jarring on all my joints" to "it's too boring and monotonous" or perhaps even "my doctor says I should NEVER run at all because of my XYZ medical conditions" etc ...

As valid as many of these reasons are, it does not remove the fact that such individuals are at risk of missing out on an important component of fitness - cardiovascular training - if they shy away from jogging/running and lack any substitute form of cardiovascular exercise for their bodies.

As such, as a senior/older adult exercise specialist, I would usually recommend some alternative form of low-impact cardio exercises that will still give our heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels a good workout - sans the jarring - to replace conventional running/jogging.

The following are some examples of bodyweight cardio/aerobic drills that do not involve any running at all. 

Best of all, they're all low-impact in nature, do not require any special equipment, are super-effective and could be easily carried out at home.

(*Disclaimer: The following examples are for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.)


1) Heel Digs With Chest Press

   
   

Instructions:
  1. Stand tall, with palms by the side of your chest.
  2. Drive your right heel forwards into the ground while simultaneously pressing your palms forward.
  3. Without pausing, draw both your right heel and arms back to the start position.
  4. Repeat the action with your left heel and arms again.
  5. Keep alternating the movement non-stop between your right and left side.

2) Side Taps With Arm Swings

      

Instructions:
  1. Stand tall, with palms crossed at the front of your body.
  2. Extend your right leg out to your side while raising both your arms simultaneously.
  3. Without pausing, draw both your right leg and arms back to the start position.
  4. Repeat the action with your left side.
  5. Keep alternating the movement non-stop, between your right and left sides.

3) Upward Swings


   

Instructions:
  1. Start in a hinge position, with your arms by your side, knees bent, core tight and back flat.
  2. In one smooth action, swing your arms up and rise up on your toes.
  3. Without pausing, lower yourself back to the start position.
  4. Repeat the movement non-stop, moving up and down continuously.

4) Side Squats With Arm Raise

   

   

Instructions:
  1. Stand tall with soft knees, tight core.
  2. In one smooth action, squat to your right while raising your arms to the front.
  3. From the bottom, thrust yourself back up to the start position.
  4. Repeat the movement by squatting to your left next.
  5. Keep moving right-to-left, left-to-right continuously.

5) Alternating Front Jabs

      

Instructions:
  1. Stand tall with soft knees, tight core.
  2. Raise your arms to face level, elbows-bent, in a defensive boxing pose.
  3. In one smooth action, punch out with your right arm while rotating your torso, and driving your right foot forward.
  4. Once your foot contact the ground, rotate back to the start position.
  5. Repeat the movement with your left side now.
  6. Keep alternating jabs continuously.

To get the most out of this low impact cardio routine, do try to perform the moves in circuit training fashion - where you move from one station to another with minimal rest.

Depending on your fitness level, you may wish to start with 30-seconds for each movement, before increasing the time to 45- or even 60-seconds per move as you get fitter.

As for the number of rounds/circuits to be done, once again, it depends on your current fitness. You may start with 1-2 circuits each session, building up to 3-4 circuits or even more as you progress along.

So there we have it, 5 simple, full-body moves that you can use anytime, anywhere you want to get the same aerobic benefits - if not more - as running.

Enjoy and remember to keep moving!

P.S. The above exercise routines are available in the following low-impact aerobic exercise video. Enjoy!

P.S.S. Do feel free to give me your feedback once you have tried the above routine. You can always get in touch with me at either Rick Wong Fitness or Body-By-RickLooking forward to hearing from all of you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Essential Fitness Movement Patterns For Older Adults And Seniors

As we age, most of us would like to continue staying healthy, active and useful for as long as we live.

In order to do so, and to get the most benefits from our respective exercise programs - regardless whether we're in our 50s, 60s, 70s or even more - it is essential that we include the various foundational movement patterns in our exercise regimes.

These movement patterns are not only essential for our daily physical functions and for healthy living, they are also imperative to our quality of life, and possibly having a major impact on our eventual longevity as well.

The following are the basic movement patterns that the Human Body is capable of doing and which we - regardless of age - should all be actively training for:

1) Squat

Image of a squat movement at start positionimage of a squat movement at finish position.

This is the move that we use every time we transit from a sit to a stand position, and back from a stand to a sit position. It is one of the most basic and common movements that we do every day, from getting in and out of a chair to lifting groceries off the ground. To train for this movement pattern, include squats and their variations into your workouts, utilizing resistance tools such as light dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls or simply leveraging on just your own body weight.

2) Lunge

Image of a lunge leading with the right leg.Image of a lunge leading with the left leg
 
This is another functional move that we use daily whenever we walk, climb up and down stairs, and when stretching to pick things up from the floor. To train the muscles used in this move, include a variety of lunging movements in multiple planes throughout your fitness program, adding on appropriate resistance as and when needed or required.

3) Hinge

Image of a standing hinge being performed.Image of a hinge movement at completion.
 
Whenever we do a bend-over action in our daily lives, we are essentially doing a hinge movement. This movement involves our strong posterior chain muscles, which include the back, glutes and hamstrings. For seniors and older adults, this is one of the most important moves to master as it can dramatically reduce one's risk of low back pain and lower back injuries. Exercises such as deadlifts, kettlebell swings and glute bridges all work the muscles involved in the hinge.

4) Push

Image of a vertical push movement at the start positionImage of a vertical push action at the finish position.

Pushing movements are also found commonly in our daily physical activities. They can be divided into 2 main groups: horizontal pushing (eg. pushing a heavy sofa against a wall) and vertical pushing (placing an object onto a high shelf). Resistance exercises such as push-ups and shoulder presses (as seen above) are examples of horizontal and vertical pushing moves respectively.

5) Pull

Image of a horizontal pulling movement at the start position.Image of a horizontal pulling movement at the finish position.

Pulling movements are the exact counter-opposite of pushing movements. They are seen in day-to-day activities like: shutting a door from the inside a car, lifting a suitcase off the ground, or when lifting an object off a high shelf. To work the 'pulling muscles' in this movement pattern, use moves such as bent-over rows, upright rows, pull-ups and pull-downs in your strength-training workouts.

6) Rotate

Image of a rotational move to the rightImage of a rotational move to the left.

Rotation is another common function of the human body. Whenever we reach across our bodies, swing a golf club, wield a tennis racket, or simply twist to a side, we are using the rotational muscles of our core. To work this highly functional move, include some twisting and rotational exercises into your exercise routine.

7) Carry

Image of a carry movement at the start.Image of a carry movement at the finish

Carrying objects from one point to another - whether they are grocery bags, luggage, trash bags, potted plants, toolboxes etc - is also a fundamental part in most of our daily lives. This single movement involves not only our walking gait, but also calls into play our grip strength, core stability and a whole host of other muscle groups. It also challenges our capacity to perform physical work in the real-world. To train our bodies for such loaded carries, include exercises such as farmer's walk, suitcase carry and overhead carry into your workouts.

Conclusion

To stay functionally-fit, healthy and mobile as we age, it is essential that we include the various foundational fitness movement patterns into our workout routines.

For more personalized guidance and individualized instructions on the above, do feel free to contact me at the following:

www.RickWongFitness.com

www,Body-By-Rick.com




Friday, December 20, 2019

Fitness Tips For Seniors And Older Adults

With the aging population here in Singapore and in many developed countries growing rapidly, staying healthy, active and vibrant as we age have become more crucial than ever before.

Over the years, much has been said and proven about the benefits of daily physical activity and regular exercise to the physical, mental and even emotional well-being of our seniors and older adult population.

Many of these benefits include, but are not limited, to the following:  
  • increased energy levels,  
  • enhanced sleep,  
  • reduced stress levels,  
  • better weight management,  
  • reduced risk of chronic diseases
  • improved blood circulation, and
  • decreased risk of falls.

Image of an old couple exercising together

With these benefits in mind, coupled with governmental policies and campaigns, more and more seniors and older adults in our midst are now actively pursuing age-specific fitness programs and initiatives. Even those who have always been inactive have also begun seriously contemplating incorporating fitness into their daily routines.

As a Certified Senior/Older Adults Fitness Coach in Singapore, I have seen quite a surge in inquiries about fitness services for older adults in recent years; and these queries come not only from interested seniors themselves, but also many from their adult children - requesting for more information on behalf of their parents.

As with all exercise programs, there are always risks involved, and seniors/older adults may wish to consider the following tips when embarking on a fitness program:

1) Always Seek Clearance With Your Physician First 

If you're above 55 years of age, and/or have existing medical conditions, please do consult with your doctors first before starting any exercise program. Your doctors may want to do a Full Body Medical Examination for you, and based on the results, advise you accordingly on any precautions and/or contraindications to take note of.

2) Start Low, Slow & Easy 

If you're new to exercise, make sure that you go gentle on yourself when you first start exercising. Always start easy and slow. Also, go LOW on both intensity and volume in the initial phase of your exercise journey. The last thing you want is to throw yourself hastily into a new program and run the risk of hurting yourself in the process!

3) Always Warm-Up Before Exercise And Cool-Down After The Session

As an older adult, the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons of your body need more time than ever before to prepare itself for the actual workout routine. Please do NOT jump straight into your exercise routine without a proper warm-up first as it will not only put you at a greater risk of injury but also potentially derail your long-term fitness goals down the road. Likewise, it is equally important to always cool-down at the end of every exercise session to prevent muscle cramps, soreness and other physical discomforts from manifesting themselves and disrupting your well-being. As a general rule, do DYNAMIC stretches for your warm-ups, and STATIC stretches for your warm-downs.

4) Be Regular And Consistent

Health and fitness gains from exercising can only come about if you make it a regular habit and demonstrate persistency and consistency in following through with it. Try to stick to a regular workout schedule, commit whole-heartedly to it and make it a life-long habit. Only then will you  reap the health benefits and rewards down the road.    

5) Pursue A Well-Rounded Fitness Program

As a senior/older adult, it is vitally important that the fitness program you pursue is well-balanced and all-rounded. This is to ensure that ALL aspects of your fitness are suitably addressed and no area is neglected, ignored or over-emphasized. For starters, make sure that the components of your golden-age fitness program include elements of: Resistance Training, Cardiovascular Training, Flexibility Training, Balance Training and Mobility Work. 

6) Get Support

Doing exercise alone can indeed be a very lonesome experience for many older adults. This is also one of the top reasons why so many people drop-out of an exercise program prematurely.  As such, to ensure continuity and success in your fitness endeavours, try to seek as much support as you can from your family, friends and loved ones. Even better, get them to join you in your workouts. If that's not possible, seek to join a suitable senior exercise group near your vicinity.   

7) Always Listen To Your Body

Unlike what some popular fitness trends may promote, exercise - especially for seniors and older adults - should NEVER hurt or be painful! If it does, STOP immediately and seek medical advice. Always tune yourself in to your own body and be mindful of the varying signals that your body is giving you from time to time.

8) Seek Professional Guidance If In Doubt

If you're new to exercise, have little idea on where and how to start, or have some past injury records or even existing health conditions, it may be best for you to seek out a trained fitness professional - especially one well-versed in senior and older adult fitness - to guide you along in your fitness journey.  A Certified Senior /Older Adult Fitness Specialist can truly make a world of difference to your fitness efforts down the road.

9) Remember To Have FUN

Your fitness journey is a marathon not a sprint. In order to last the distance, you need to make sure that you ENJOY yourself along the way. Choose activities and exercises that appeal to you, elevate your mood and bring you joy!

Think PLAY, not work! Think FUN, not chore! Always be game to try out NEW exercise programs and physical pursuits in your fitness journey too!

There you have it.

With the above tips, you have more than enough information to get yourself or your loved ones started on a fitness journey - safely and effectively - during the Golden Years of your lives.

Remember: It's NEVER too late to start. Give it a go today!

If you need more information, require further assistance, or would love to work with me one-on-one, please feel free to get in touch with me at:

http://www.body-by-rick.com/index.htm

or

https://www.rickwongfitness.com/


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Greatest Fitness Lies Of All Time

Despite the massive slew of health & fitness information available to us in this Modern Era, many, unfortunately, are still falling prey to the same, old, myths, fallacies & lies surrounding fitness, training, exercise and nutrition.

Sadly, these myths and misconceptions don't seem to be going away, and not only have greatly distorted people's notions of fitness and exercise, but have also led many to ineffective, harmful and potentially dangerous practices and lifestyles - all supposedly in the name of fitness.

To address these concerns, I have listed some of the most persistent fitness lies and myths that I have encountered in my work as a fitness coach and personal trainer through all these years; and the TRUTHS behind them:

1) MYTH: I Need To Push Myself To the MAX Each & Every Single Workout Session In Order To Achieve My Fitness Goals.

TRUTH: There is indeed a place and time for hard and intense workouts like HIIT, Tabatas, Plyometrics etc. However, there is really NO need to go hard in your workouts all the time! In fact, it is counter-productive to push yourself to the max each and every single workout as you'll be simply BREAKING down your body (without giving it sufficient time to rebuild), suppressing your immune system, and priming yourself for a lifetime of chronic injuries and health issues down the road! Regardless how fit you are, your body and fitness can only develop when given sufficient REST and RECOVERY. Without which, you'll find yourself in a downward spiral in no time! Depending on your fitness levels and goals, 1-3 hard sessions per week are usually more than enough, and they should be sandwiched by easier lower-intensity sessions or active recovery periods (such as brisk walks, easy swims, relaxed bike rides etc) in-between.

2) MYTH: As Long As I Train Hard, I Can Choose To Eat Anything (And Everything) I Like.

TRUTH: Many people do not realize that training/exercise is just ONE part of the fitness equation. You may train all you want or even have the 'best' exercise program in the world, but if your diet is not optimum, you will NEVER EVER achieve your fitness goals! Period!! Remember this: Food provides fuel and building blocks for our bodies. If you put the right stuff (whole foods, lean proteins, variety of greens, healthy fats etc) into your body, they will ultimately drive you towards your fitness goals. On the other hand, if you put JUNK (processed, refined & sugary foods etc) in, that is also what you will get back in return! As the saying goes: "Garbage in, garbage out!"

3) MYTH: To Lose Weight, All I Need To Do Is More Cardio Work.

TRUTH: No one is disputing the role of Cardio Training in any weight loss program. However, cardio work - by itself and alone - is NOT going to be the magic pill to solve your weight issues! To optimize fat loss, it's crucial to also include Resistance Training as part of your overall fitness program. The science behind this rationale is simply this: the MORE muscles you build via resistance training, the MORE calories you burn - even while at rest!! So for effective weight loss, make sure that your fitness program includes NOT only cardio training, but also a BIG dose of resistance work together with sound nutrition and dietary practices.

4) Myth: I Should Aim For Single-Digit Body Fat Levels To Be Really Healthy, Fit & Attractive.

TRUTH: Although many do equate LEANNESS with good health, fitness and general aesthetic appeal, EXTREME leanness - as in low single-digit figures - may actually cause MORE harm than good than you can ever imagine! Research has shown that maintaining an extremely low body fat level is associated with a myriad of health issues, including, but not limited to: heart problems, low energy levels, hormonal imbalances, lowered immunity, decreased brain function, osteoporosis, and general disruptions across your entire endocrine, reproductive, skeletal, and nervous systems!! So rather than obsess over your body fat levels, aim instead for optimal health and fitness! Remember: you can still LOOK great, FEEL great and be in the PINK of health, even if you don't have a Six-Pack!!!

5) Myth: I Can Achieve The Body Of My Dreams With Enough Time & Effort.

TRUTH: Life can indeed be unfair. And the truth of the matter is this: even if you have the best intentions, the best training program, the best diet and nutritional support, chances are, you may NEVER EVER get to achieve your IDEAL physique or body, nor look like the fitness celebrity grazing the front cover of your favourite fitness magazine. Simply put - your GENES will always play a large part in determining how your body shape, aesthetics and physical characteristics pan out eventually!! Rather than aim for a hyped-up, unrealistic image of your ideal self, strive instead to be the very best that you can be - given your unique genetic make-up and potential.

6) Myth: I Should Copy/Duplicate The Exact Same Exercise Routines Of My Favourite Fitness Celebrity To Look Like Him/Her.

TRUTH: Every single human body is DIFFERENT. And every one's response to exercise also DIFFERS - one from another - based on varying factors such as: our skeletal structure, our physiology, our metabolism, the composition of muscle fibres we have, the efficiency of our nervous systems, our past medical/injury histories, etc etc, right down to the very genes that we inherit from our parents! In essence, what works for someone else in the gym may NOT necessarily work for you! So rather than blindly follow an exercise routine that you pick up from a fitness magazine, an Instagram post, or from a fellow "gym-bro", focus instead on educating yourself on the various scientific principles, methodologies and approaches pertaining to exercise and fitness. And always think through mindfully for yourself - what WORKS and what DOESN'T - for your own particular body type, needs and goals!

7) Myth: The Best Person To Teach Me About Fitness Is The One With The Best Physique Around.

TRUTH: Very often, the person who has attained a superb figure or physique for himself/herself, has intimate knowledge of his/her own body and its functions, and is able to optimize the various factors related to training, recovery, nutrition, mindset and sleep - for his/her OWN particular body. And that's where the problem lies. Knowing what works for one's own body is totally DIFFERENT from knowing what works for another person's body! So even if the SAME strategies are taught and applied to another person, factors such as having a different genetic make-up, a different physiology, a different musculo-skeletal structure etc, will all result in totally DIFFERENT results! And in reality, oftentimes too, the person with the 'best' physique may NOT necessarily make the best Teacher, Mentor or Coach !!

8) Myth: I Need To Train In A Fully-Equipped Modern Gym In Order To Get Results.

TRUTH: This myth is often propagated by gym owners, fitness equipment sellers and anyone who has a vested interest in their equipment-based business. They tap on people's ignorance - by selling the notion that you need all the latest, high-tech, glitzy, eye-catching gadgets and tools to achieve results from your fitness program. This is blatantly UNTRUE. In reality, for the majority of people, if you are willing to put in the required effort and hours, together with the necessary lifestyle & dietary changes, plus a healthy dose of scientific know-how and exercise science, you can go a LONG way in improving your fitness, health and aesthetics - even if all you have is a pair of old dumbbells, a worn skipping rope or even just relying on bodyweight training!!

9) Myth: I Need To Eat All The Latest Health Food Supplements To Achieve Results In My Fitness Program

TRUTH: This is another myth that is propagated by those who have a vested interest in selling gels, pills, tablets, supplements and other "health products" to the unsuspecting public. Again the ugly truth is this: many are simply PROFITEERING from people's ignorance and insecurity - by selling the notion that you need all the latest, best-selling supplements to achieve the body of your dreams. In reality, supplements are NO magic pills. They are - as the name itself implies - merely aids to add-on or enhance -what you should already have in place! In other words, NO supplement in the world is going to help an ounce in your fitness pursuits if your training, your diet or your lifestyle is totally  out of sync! Always aim to get your fitness basics and foundations right - BEFORE even contemplating using supplements. Even then, you can also always get all the nutrients you ever need from NATURAL, WHOLE & REAL foods instead!

10) Myth: I Can Learn All I Need To Now About Fitness From Social Media

TRUTH: Social media is a double-edged tool. There are lots of useful stuff there, but also plenty of misinformation, falsehoods and outright lies! Too many people have been misled and duped by 'advice' dished out by so-called fitness "celebrities", "gurus" and "experts" on social media - resulting in erroneous and dangerous interpretations of training, exercise, nutrition etc. For your own sake, always take what you see/read/hear on social media with an extra pinch of salt, and with extreme caution! Keep your eyes WIDE OPEN, question what you see/hear, and never ever follow blindly everything and anything - especially when it comes to (mis)information that affects your very own health, fitness and well-being!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Home Workout Tips For Stay-At-Home Mums

Speak to most stay-at-home mums and you're bound to get the idea that MANY (if not most) have already given up on their dream of being able to fit in a regular exercise program into their weekly schedule, let alone attain a figure that is Lean, Toned and Attractive

Indeed, having had the privilege and opportunity to work with many such home-based mums here in Singapore over the years (in my capacity as a Private Home Personal Trainer), and having observed - first-hand - my wife's own stay-at-home child-care experience in the early formative years of my 2 kids, I can attest to the fact that it can indeed be a real challenge for many stay-home mums to even THINK of exercise, let alone DO it, when faced with the myriad of tasks they confront on a daily basis.

Challenges Facing A Housewife
Just think about this - the chores that every stay-at-home mum inevitably faces one day or another include: doing up the laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, vacuuming the house, washing the bathrooms, preparing meals for the family, chasing the kids around, picking up after them, putting them to bed, waking them up for school, getting them dressed, sending them off to school, and then shuttling them off to tuition, swimming lessons, piano lessons, ballet lessons and other enrichment activities etc etc (just listing out all these is already TIRING in itself!!) - on top of a whole host of other motherly duties and nitty-gritty stuff, and then hoping to squeeze in some exercise time!!??

No wonder many stay-home-mums have the view that regular exercise is a LUXURY, if not a near IMPOSSIBLE dream!

Thus, I have written the following tips with the hope that they can offer some solace and help to each and every self-sacrificing, but oft-too-busy mum out there.

Hopefully, with these tips, you'll be able to FREE yourself to experience - first-hand - the liberating effects of regular exercise and its manifold benefits:

Enjoy The Many Benefits Of Exercising At Home

1) Schedule TIME For Exercise

Like any other worthwhile pursuit in life, exercise is something that we simply have to PLAN for. Otherwise, it'll be squeezed out of our daily schedule before we even know it! The most successful exercise-mums that I know of - consciously SET ASIDE or even BLOCK OUT time slots for their personal exercise time. It can be as easy as just setting aside short 15-minute time slots thrice-a week for a start. Once you get the hang of it, and exercise becomes a habit, slowly start increasing the exercise duration, followed by its frequency. 

2) Put Yourself Into The MOOD

One of the strategies that I've learnt from a former client of mine is to get yourself into the mood for exercise the very FIRST THING in the day. For her, this means getting into her workout gear once she's up from bed, and then keeping it on UNTIL she's done with her exercise for the day! The act of wearing the workout attire acts as a "uniform" for her, not only reminding her of  her "appointment" with exercise, but also serves to 'psyche her up' for the workout to come! 

3) Create The Necessary SPACE

In most homes, the most practical workout space is the Living Room. Even if it's currently cluttered with furniture, knick knacks and scattered with your children's many unwanted toys; with just a little forward planning and physical shifting (which can actually serve as a good pre-workout warm-up, by the way), sufficient space can be created - in mere minutes - for a one-person workout area. Of course, you don't really have to limit yourself to the living area. Any space within your home that is feasible or practical - such as the garage, balcony, attic, garden etc - can also be converted into your very own 'personal home gym'. 

4) Keep It SIMPLE

FORGET about multi-station machines,weight racks, home treadmills or even stationary bikes; most stay-home mums I know - will NEVER EVER contemplate having these stuff in their homes, let alone use them!! To be honest, the only training tool you ever need is your own Body-Weight! However, if you really insist on having some gear - then a Medicine Ball, or a couple of Resistance Bands, and a Skipping Rope and your surrounding home furniture will more than suffice for most stay-home mums.

Regardless whether you intend to workout with just your bodyweight, or with the help of simple functional fitness tools as listed above, try to stick to the following recommendation:

A) Pick ONE each of the following Compound or Multi-Joint Movement Variations and do them in a CIRCUIT Training Style, each movement lasting about 30-40 seconds:
  • Squat Variations (eg. Standard Squats, Split Squats, Squat Jumps etc)
  • Hinge Variations (eg. Deadlifts, Good Mornings, Hip Thrusts etc)
  • Push Variations (eg. Dips, Push-Ups, Overhead Presses etc)
  • Pull Variations (eg. Inverted Rows, Upright Rows, Pull-Ups etc)
  • Rotate Variations (eg. Haybalers, Russian Twists, Rotational Lunges etc)
and then finish off the circuit with

B) ONE of the following Full-Body or Total Body Movement Drills to failure :
  • Burpees
  • Reverse Burpees
  • Swings (with medicine ball or haversack)
  • Chops (with medicine ball or haversack)
  • Rope-Jumping
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Skiers
  • Skaters
Depending on your fitness level, aim to perform 1-3 rounds of the above circuit.

Do also try to mix-and-match the above movements in as many different combinations as you can so as to create variety in your workouts, and to keep your body and mind stimulated each time you exercise! 

5) INCLUDE Your Kids 

For some stay-home mums, it might be near-to-impossible to workout in the absence of their kids. In such a scenario, try including your kids into your workout, instead of fretting over their presence. Try simple 'tricks' like: issuing a mini-challenge or a friendly competition (eg. "... let's see how many squats you can do, in the time I take to complete mine"), using active distractions (eg. "... see this skipping rope? Let's see how many rounds you can get in by the time I complete my workout") or even using them as dynamic resistance - especially if you have toddlers and kinder-aged kids; you can use your kids' actual body weight as resistance in movements like: lying chest presses, cleans, swings, overhead presses etc. (But please watch out for the ceiling fan, OK?) In the process, you kill 2 birds with one stone: your kids have FUN and LOVE you for it, while you get to do your workout. Sweet! 

6) Get HELP

Sometimes, despite your very best efforts, there will be days where things simply DON'T work out - whether it's an overly-clingy child, a broken down washing machine, or any other unexpected emergency. When faced with such situations, it's time to get HELP.

Rope in anyone you can think of - your next-door neighbour, your BFF, your mum, your in-laws, and of course, your spouse - and get them to help you out for that particular chore or area of need - just so that you can get your exercise done at the very least.

In such times, an extra pair of hands makes a world of difference! 

7) Just Do IT

Finally, all the advice in this world will be as good as NOUGHT, if you simply refuse to believe that you CAN make regular exercise a part of your life.

Tell yourself - once and for all - that you WILL commit yourself to regular exercise, and you WILL find a way to do it - come hell or high water.

Then like any bona fide stay-at-home mum would say (and do), just roll up your sleeves, dig-in and get down to it.

P.S. 

The above advice should be more than enough to get you started and raving to go.  

However, if for some reason, you still find yourself struggling to get started, or feel you need more advice, motivation, ideas or even supervision, feel free to get in touch with me. I'll see how I can be of help to you.

You may reach me at www.Body-By-Rick.com or at 96609457.

All the BEST!!

Yours Sincerely,
Rick Wong

Friday, July 29, 2016

Random Thoughts On Life, Fitness, Training, And More ...

It truly never ceases to amaze me how fast time really flies. By all accounts, 2016 has been a pretty eventful (and rough) year so far: with the spread of the Zika Virus across South America, the exit of Britain from the EU, and of course, the unprecedented spate of terrorist attacks across France, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq etc ....

Here in Singapore, we can count ourselves pretty fortunate - being shielded from the bulk of the ills facing our world. However, as part of the vast humanity at large - nonetheless, we can't help but be affected still - in one way or another - by the spill-over effects of the above.

Truly, in such volatile and turbulent times as now, I - like many others - have been trying hard to make sense of what's really happening around us, while going about my daily life as a Husband, a Father, a Son, a Business Owner and a Fitness Professional.

Cozying up to the love of my life - my wife, Shirley.
So much so that in spite of the increasing responsibilities and commitments that I find myself encompassed with, I do realize - more than ever before - that I have been actively contemplating and reflecting upon the various issues in and around me.

The following are just some of the very random and personal thoughts that have popped into my mind this past week as I ponder upon the many affairs that pertain to our world, to life, fitness, training and more ....  

1) We need Love, Understanding & Compassion - more than ever before in our world today.

2) Always seek to live LIFE to the fullest.

3) CHERISH those around us because they will not always be around.

4) Sometimes the best thing to do is simply to Let Go and Let GOD.  

5) Love what you do, and do what you Love.

6) Educate, don't just teach (or preach).

7) Integrate, NOT isolate.

8) Train movements, not muscles.

9) Be Real. Be Yourself.

10) Exercise is BOTH a Science & an Art - learn to blend both together.

11) You Are (Really) What You Eat.

12)  One is NEVER Too Old or Too Young to start exercising.

13) Master Bodyweight Training - so you have no excuses not to workout anymore!

14)  Variety is the spice of life (and training).

15)  If you don't like what you see in the mirror, WORK on it!

16)  You LOSE what you don't USE.

17) Think FAT LOSS, not weight loss.

18) Learn to have FUN!

19) It's OK to have an Off-Day. Don't beat yourself up. Get up, get over it and KEEP GOING!

20)  Don't compare yourself to others. We're all DIFFERENT!

21)  ANY exercise is better than no exercise.

22) Train FUNCTIONALLY - and the aesthetics department will take care of itself.

23)  Poor lifestyle choices will OVERRIDE even the best training program in the world.

24) DON'T even think of adding resistance until you have learnt to manage your own bodyweight.

25) All the technology in the world can NEVER fully-replace the Human Presence & Touch - whether it's in the classroom, in the workplace, or even in the realm of exercise and personal training.

26) Seek Balance & Moderation - in all areas of life!

27) Keep Things SIMPLE - whether it's in training, eating, or even day-to-day living.

28)  Prioritize Sleep, Rest & Recovery!

29) Learn to FORGIVE and FORGET.

30) Above all things, Trust in GOD.

Chilling out with the kids

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