Ready to beat holiday stress this year? Check out Aimee's tips for a calm and centered holiday, as featured in the November issue of Singapore American Newspaper. Thanks to Laura Coulter and American Association for the feature!
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It's commonly assumed that many fitness & wellness pros live in the gym, employing magical and gruelling workout routines to keep their bodies in tip top shape. The truth is, most of us work long hours, have families and responsibilities well beyond fitness, and generally try to make the most of the little spare time we have. This week, as part of our series on how we wellness professionals actually live, we're sharing our real deal weekly exercise routines with you. We all come from different fitness backgrounds, and we've also got individual priorities and goals. Our hope is that we inspire you to carve out some time for physical self-care while giving you a few new ideas!
Yan Huang, Metabolic Trainer & Nutrition Coach
Routine, routine, routine - but don't let it bog you down! Humans thrive on routine to improve and reach the next level. Remember that our routines will have to depend on our priorities and current learning abilities. Find the one that works for you NOW at this stage in your life and then keep at it consistently until you're ready to reach the next phase.
My fitness routine has definitely changed a lot over the years, depending on if I am preparing for a competition, dance event or simply the lifestyle I am leading.
Currently, my focus is on my hip stability, strength and overall conditioning while keeping a close look at a few key signals. This will tell me if I am overtraining, under-eating or have found my hormonal balance sweet spot.
I do daily mobility work for my entire body, in particular the hips and back, including the joints and ligaments of my wrists, elbows and toes. If there is time, I will also include a Pilates sequence as the slow and controlled movements really energizes the entire body, through deep breath and core work.
My weekly routine will look something like:
- 4 days of strength-based workouts in the gym;
- 2 days of simply bodyweight/banded metabolic-based conditioning outdoors.
Don't underestimate the intensity of the metabolic-based workouts using just the bodyweight! When done right, they can really torch up lots of fat-burning hormones.
As I get bored easily, I like to keep my fitness routine fun and outdoor-based for the extra benefits of Vitamin D - known to raise serotonin and GABA indirectly as it raises oestrogen. These are all your feel-good, happy hormones. Depending on time, I will always include a 20 minute slow & relaxing walk by the beach or in the park, after all that intense exercise. The long walks are critical to lower stress hormones and stabilize the body for a more efficient and sustainable fat loss.
Some days I may include just simply a total body stretch or lots of slow, restorative activities like a swim in the sea or just trigger point release or any fun activity such as dance or acroyoga.
I have learnED to prioritize sleep and recovery over my workouts. if my body is just simply too tired or my mind is too wired, I usually will skip the workout and go for a swim in the sea, read and just relax, or catch on sleep!
Lastly, let's not forget the mental and spiritual fitness as well; having good reads and meditation are now part of my routine.
Aimee Barnes, Health & Recovery Coach
My routine is similar to Yan’s. We are both figure athletes and love the heavy lifting, as well as paying attention to the functional and recovery side of fitness.
I used to train in the gym 5 days a week, but I’ve cut it down to 4 now and just make my minutes there super efficient. I usually time everything on my FitBit, including my breaks between sets, and I also track all of my reps and sets in a notebook, keeping a close eye on progress and setbacks as I move forward.
Two days a week in the gym I spend an hour powerlifting- mainly compound movements, squats, deadlifts and bench press at a 3-6 rep range for 3 sets plus 2 warm up sets. The other two days a week in the gym I focus on hypertrophy workouts, and I always change my exercises up. Pull-ups are one staple- I do them a few times a week, both at the gym and outdoors behind my home.
I’ve trained with different coaches over the past few years, and decided that this time around I would train myself, putting all of my knowledge to good use and using my intuition and power of observation to dictate how each week is going to go. I’m proud and happy to say that it's working out beautifully so far.
Usually I will work out by myself, but when I’m lucky, my favorite workout buddy, PNBA PRO FIGURE ATHLETE Roz Alexander, is there to push me. We love motivating each other with a little healthy competition and geek out about physiology and training modes.
I go to yoga class 2-3 times a week- I take Forrest Yoga on Mondays with Katheryn and then I go to Pure for Restorative Yoga. It’s no secret that I don’t really enjoy yoga and find it extremely difficult, as Katheryn knows- I’m a big class whiner- but it’s what I need to be doing right now because my muscles are so tight and my mind could use some loosening up as well. So, I show up and leave what I can on the mat.
Cardio is an ever-changing landscape for me. Currently, I walk home from the gym, which takes me a good 45 minutes 4 days a week. I’ll run for 30-45 minutes once or twice a week around the Quays- it's so pretty at night and relaxes me instantly. Pretty soon, I’ll start training for the Yellow Ribbon Run which I'm doing with a friend for mutual support, which means my running will increase to 3 or 4 times a week on a progressive plan.
Exercise is my antidepressant. To me, fitness is miracle medicine and I’ll still be pumping iron when I’m 80. It keeps me healthy, sober and sane.
Katheryn Meadows, Yoga Instructor
My personal fitness routine centers on not having time to sit down during the day! Whether it’s teaching a class or running after a kid, I’m ALWAYS on the move. Being a busy mom is a great workout for the body, mind and spirit!
I devote a lot of time to my yoga practice and am a disciple of Hee Boon Tan and Marysia Do at Pure Yoga, practicing 5+ hours per week there. My home practice generally consists of developing sequences for my classes and then kicking up to handstand two dozen times.
Additionally, I work out twice a week at Level on Telok Ayer. I train with Lorne Peart, who is begrudgingly teaching me super fun Ido Portal movements despite my constant arguments that yoga is better (which, for the record, it is). I also work with the fabulous Casey Mathes who forces me to do squats and cleans while listening to my crazy stories (and endless complaints about how much I hate squats and cleans).
I am definitely the type of person who benefits from having a personal trainer - when I go to the gym by myself I half-ass everything, skip reps and generally don’t know what I’m doing (despite training with the Amazing Aimee for like three years!!!). I’m eternally grateful to my dedicated trainers for helping me reach my potential, despite my bitching, moaning and complaining!
Combining yoga and strength training is my personal fitness routine. Being a strong yogi means that I can do fun arm balances, inversions and thousands of boat poses (and my students just LOVE boat pose!). And yoga helps me let go of expectations and deepen my gratitude and appreciation for life, while also lengthening and stretching my muscles.
Both also come in handy when wrestling a cranky and slippery three year old out of the bath and into his pyjamas ;)
Anna Kwan, Health & Fitness Specialist
My daily fitness routines vary depending on my energy levels. If I have a heavy day with lots of clients then I'll tend to do a yoga class in the evening to relax my body and mind, a few laps of the pool or even just a walk along the river.
I love exercising outside, so if i'm feeling up for it I usually go down to our little fitness corner in the condo and knock out a 30 minute circuit!
I just keep going for 30 minutes with as little rest as possible repeating a body weight circuit of a few different exercises back to back. I use 1 exercise as "active rest" and then start again! Its pretty knackering and 30 mins is plenty...I usually have to bust out some good tunes to keep me motivated!
This was today's little gem:
1 minute rope skipping
5 wide pull ups
10 press -ups
20 walking lunges
5 narrow pull ups
10 tricep dips on parallel bars
10 squat jumps
1 minute plank (active rest)
Afterwards i'll jump in the pool which always feels amazing!
What does your current fitness routine look like? Are you ready to change it up? What's working for you- and what's not? Leave your comments below- we'd love to hear from you. And, if you like this post, please share!