Taking charge of your fitness can be daunting and it may seem inaccessible and intimidating. Tyen Rasif, personal trainer, body builder, and creator of a customised fitness app NO SWEAT, believes it doesn’t have to be this way.
Tyen Rasif, personal trainer, body builder and Yvonne Mak, Director, Recruitment, YWLC (L-R)
On 30 May 2020, more than 30 participants tuned in to join Tyen Rasif, as she led them through a quick 15-min stretch routine, before sharing key tips on how to eat well and develop an exercise routine. The one-hour session concluded with a Q&A that touched on issues like how to get out of an exercise plateau, and getting back in shape after an injury.
Here are eight tips Tyen shared with us to take charge of our fitness journey:
Workout in the morning. This puts you in the right mental frame for success. Having a workout behind you by the time most people start work means that no matter how the rest of the workday goes, you’re already a winner. Tyen shares that the morning workout can be a simple one consisting of forearm planks, crunches and leg raises.
Don’t be afraid of lifting weights. Lifting weights build lean muscle mass, and has a higher metabolic burn compared to cardio activities, which results in more calories burnt. Coupled with the fact that as we age, we lose muscle mass, incorporating strength training into your exercise routine is key.
Try not to focus on goals around weight loss. For women especially, our weight can fluctuate quite significantly day to day due to factors we have little control over, like water retention. Tyen suggests focusing on other fitness goals that are measurable, such as being able to do three pull-ups, or lifting 20kg of weights. These are consistent, tangible results and as your strength increases, so will your motivation.
Mix up your exercise routine. As you work out, your body gets used to the exercise regimen and adjusts. After a while, you may find yourself plateauing. To get out of the rut, introduce variety into your workout – if you’ve been doing cardio, add a bit of strength training, and vice versa. The optimal routine should be a combination of cardio, strength, and toning workouts. And if you’re a fan of HIIT, by all means do it 3 – 4 times a week, but don’t forget to do some low endurance training too.
Be patient, and don’t overdo it. You will not see results overnight. Be patient as you embark on this journey, and don’t overdo it. If you have been injured, Tyen knows the recovery process can be frustrating. She says that rehabilitation is important to let your body recover and regain its strength. See a physiotherapist who can prescribe exercises targeted at regaining that muscle function.
“You can’t outrun a bad diet.”
Eat your greens. Besides exercise, diet is the other key pillar holding up good fitness. As Tyen said, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” She is a fan of a plant-based diet, and recommends one green bowl a day, for adequate fibre and nutrients. She recommends that fruits and vegetables should make up half your diet.
Eat the right kind of proteins. Choose lean proteins such as lean chicken breast and salmon. These proteins have a thermogenic effect that boosts metabolism and increases fat burning.
Five minutes of relaxation, every day. Tyen recommends taking five minutes every day to unplug, recharge and restore your mental health. The circuit breaker period has been a stressful one for all of us. Too much stress elevates cortisol, the stress hormone, and too much cortisol over time can lead to health problems like weight gain, anxiety and depression.