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Singapore personal trainer

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That Fitness Class Subscription Service May Not Be Helping Your Wellness Goals. Here's Why.

A massive trend is overtaking the fitness world here in Singapore and the US, changing both the gym landscape and the way many people exercise. Fitness class subscription services like GuavaPass and K-Fit in Asia or ClassPass in the US allow its members to have unlimited access to many different studios and fitness activities for a set monthly fee, boasting both quality and variety across various locations. To the average consumer, these subscription services often seem more enticing than a humdrum gym membership, and are inspiring many to shake up their workout routines. However, they aren't the answer for everyone, and could actually be sabotaging your overall wellness goals. 

Remember, every body is different. If you're already a disciplined fitness enthusiast and you just want to have fun with different types of classes, these subscription services can add extra energy to your regime while inspiring you to maintain that forward momentum you've worked hard to cultivate. However, if you're on a significant health or weight loss journey or could use some help in the motivation and/or nutrition department, subscription passes may not work for you.

First, the constant variety of a fitness class subscription service will make it far more challenging to set and stick with a stable weekly exercise schedule, and one of the keys to wellness success is STABILITY. Second, being around different groups of people constantly takes away the mutual motivation factor that comes with being a "regular." Third, there's less opportunity or incentive to build a relationship with the fitness expert or teacher leading the class. Having a knowledgeable, qualified and certified mentor who can guide you over the long term always makes the difference, especially in an age when there's so much misinformation floating around. Fourth, with a class subscription service, there's comparatively less accountability than if you were working with a trainer or a member at one studio- again, you're on your own. And fifth, exercise is just one small piece of the wellness journey. To ensure success, nutrition and behavior change techniques need to be a large part of the plan. 

Take a close look at who you are and what your goals are about. Be honest with yourself. Does exercise excite you? Are you already working out at least a few times a week? Are you more extroverted, adventurous and experimental? Do you love big groups, and meeting lots of new people? Do you already have a handle on your habits and nutrition? If so, a fitness class subscription service could be a match made in heaven for you.

Or, does exercise feel like a chore to you at the moment? Do you need some guidance on nutrition or habit change? Are you looking for a motivation partner or some accountability? Are you more of an introvert, or an ambivert who would prefer extra attention during your workouts? Then, you may want to look at hiring a personal trainer one-on-one instead, or joining a small group class with the same people and goals. Additionally, if you're exercising with a pre-existing injury, you'll definitely want to make sure that you partner with an exercise expert- someone who has several years of experience and, at the minimum, an international qualification from ACE, NASM, ACSM, or FISAF.

In wellness, there's no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all solution. We all have different goals, needs, strengths and personalities. Honor your uniqueness throughout your wellness journey, and you'll have a much better shot at getting to where you wish to be! 

What's been your experience with fitness class subscription services? What type of exercise environment works best for you? I'd love to hear from you- leave your comments below. And, if you liked this post, share it! As always, thanks for reading. 

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Sultry Summer Workout

The sultry days of summer have sauntered in, which means it's the perfect time to crank up the internal furnace with an outdoor workout at your local park. Here are eight classic exercises that are guaranteed to tone and tighten from neck to ankles, so slather on some natural bug spray (especially if you're in Singapore), lace up your kicks, and get ready to retrieve that minidress from the back of the closet!

Parallel Bar Pull-Ups

Parallel Bar Pull-Ups

PARALLEL BAR (or LOW BAR) PULL-UPS: targets the back, shoulders, arms and chest

Begin on a low bar or parallel bar with your knees bent, heels planted into the ground. This will provide added support.  As you progress and are able to do 15-20 low bar pull-ups with bent knees, extend your legs straight, as shown.

The Parallel Bar Pull-Up is a precursor to the standard Dead Hang Pull-Up. Make perfecting your pull-up a goal this summer and learn how to become a lean, mean pull-up queen! 

2 to 3 sets, 10-12 reps each 

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips

TRICEP DIPS: targets the triceps, chest and shoulders

Find an anchored bench or other stable, raised surface. With your back close to the surface, extend your legs outward and hold onto the surface with hands shoulder width apart. Slowly inhale and lower your body toward the ground by bending the elbows. Use your triceps to bring your body up again.

2 to 3 sets, 12-15 reps 

Decline Push-Ups

Decline Push-Ups

DECLINE PUSH-UPS: targets the chest, arms and core
Note: Do not attempt a decline push-up until you have mastered regular push-ups on your toes!

Place your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart, and extend your legs, elevating your feet on a bench, curb or other raised surface. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body to the ground slowly, keeping your neck in neutral, then return to your original position. As an alternative to the decline push-up, a regular push-up on the knees or toes will do the trick.

3 sets, 12-15 reps

Parallel Bar Dips

Parallel Bar Dips

PARALLEL BAR DIPS: targets the muscles of the chest, shoulders and triceps. 

One of my favorite exercises, muscles targeted during the parallel bar dip will depend on how much you angle your body forward. A more upright position will hit the arms, while angling forward will force your shoulders and chest to do more work.

Stand between a set of parallel bars and place your hands on the bars. Take a small jump, keeping your arms straight, and bend your knees, crossing your ankles over one another. Flex the elbow and lower your body until your arms are at about 90 degrees (the lower you go, the more work you will have to do!)  Then, extend the elbow and push yourself back up to the original position.

3 sets, 10-12 reps

Pole Squats 

Pole Squats 

POLE SQUATS: targets your glutes, quadriceps, and calves

Find a pole or wall and stand approximately six inches away from it, feet shoulder width apart. Sitting back into your heels with your core braced and your chest upright, slowly lower your butt, tracing the wall or pole, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure that your knees don't roll over your toes! 

Learn more about proper squatting technique! 

3
 sets, 20 reps 

Bulgarian Split Squats 

Bulgarian Split Squats 

BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS: targets the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves 

Extend one leg back and place top of foot or toes on a bench or chair. Jump the other foot out and squat by bending the knee and hip of the front leg until the back knee is close to the ground. Be sure to keep your core tight and back straight; front knee should never roll over the toe. Return to starting position and repeat.

2-3 sets, 15-20 reps each leg  

Bench Step-Ups 

Bench Step-Ups 

Bench Step-Ups: targets the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core and calves.

Place one foot on a bench, chair or metal box. Step on the raised surface by extending the hip and the knee of your right leg, using the heel to lift your body up. Once upright and stable, bring the knee of the opposite leg up toward your chest. Step down and inhale, then return to the original position and repeat.

3 sets, 15-20 reps each side

Box Jumps

Box Jumps

BOX JUMPS: targets the core, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, arms.

Find a secure and dry raised surface. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, about a forearm's length away from the surface (box or bench). When preparing to jump, drop into a quarter squat, extend your hips, swing your arms and push through your feet, propelling yourself onto the surface. Land softly and quietly like a cheetah- be kind to those knees! 

3 sets, 20 reps


If you'd like to add in a few additional core strengthening moves to this routine, try planks, side planks, hanging leg raises, or lying leg raises.
 

Burn, baby, burn! You'll definitely turn up the heat with this routine, but be sure not to forget the sunblock, water and bug spray before you head outdoors. Let me know how it goes!

If you liked this post and found it useful, please share it with your friends! Have a comment or question? I'd love to hear from you- leave your thoughts below. 
 

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Weekend Challenge: Squat Therapy!

The basic squat is one of the most effective exercises you can do, firing up your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core, and back while igniting your fat-burning metabolic furnace. There's simply nothing like a challenging bodyweight squat series at boot camp or a few well-executed sets of barbell squats at the gym. That said, the squat is all too frequently performed incorrectly, which can be a disaster on your lower back and knees, and not very effective.

Therefore, I'd like to propose a challenge to you this weekend: SQUAT THERAPY! We're going to address all of those bad (muscle) memories, sit peacefully with the issue, anchor you into a new way of squatting, and send you off with happier, healthier squats by the time Monday morning rolls around. The best part is, you don't even have to leave your living room.

Squats Facing the Wall are a fabulous way to either learn how to squat properly or correct improper form. 

Squats Facing the Wall... the dogs are taking mental notes! 

Squats Facing the Wall... the dogs are taking mental notes! 

How it works:

1. Begin by standing up and facing a wall, with your toes approximately 20 cm away from the wall and your feet about shoulder width apart, facing slightly outward.

2. Keep your belly tight, bracing the abs, and your head in neutral position. Arms should be over your head.

3. Sit back into the squat as you would sitting into a chair, keeping your spine in neutral position, until your knees are at a 90 degree angle, legs parallel to the floor. You're going to trace the wall as you come down, and no part of your body should touch the wall at any time.

4. Squeeze your glutes as you slowly rise from squat position, core remaining tight. Repeat!

Try Squats Facing the Wall twice this week, for 50-100 reps each, and take your time. This method of squatting is great for learning the hip hinge, which will increase safety in weighted movements like deadlifts, good mornings and barbell squats.

CHALLENGE: Squats Facing the Wall on Saturday AND Sunday, for 50-100 reps each. 

Let me know how it goes! And, if you need a little inspiration, this dog has it covered (but the guy could definitely use some Squats Facing the Wall...)

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