Thursday, July 30, 2015

Post Natal Fitness Training: Myths, Thoughts & Concerns

As a personal trainer and pre-post natal exercise specialist, a large part of my job scope involves  working with postpartum clients here in Singapore - helping them to re-gain their pre-pregnancy figures, re-condition their Core and to re-build their fitness levels.

Journeying along with my female clients through this process, I can honestly say that it is both a rewarding and heartening experience for all involved, especially when we get to see - first-hand - the physical transformation of our clients gradually taking place right before our eyes.

At the same time, via my interaction with the postpartum population through the years, it is also apparent that many myths and concerns that women have with regards to a Post Natal Fitness Programme still exist.



Some of the more common ones are as follow:

1) I Must Wait At Least A MONTH Before I Can Do Any Sort Of Exercise!

This is absolutely NOT true! And the sad thing is that there are still pockets of medical professionals out there actively promoting this misconception to post-natal mums!

Putting aside any medical complication or valid medical reason, a postpartum lady can (and should) resume light re-conditioning and rehabilitative exercises, especially for their core and pelvic floor muscles, as soon as possible.

This is a classic case where the longer you wait, the longer you actually DELAY your recovery!

2) I Can Jump Straight Back To My Pre-Pregnancy Exercise Routine If I Feel Ready! 

At the other end of the spectrum, there are also some (albeit, a smaller minority) of post-natal clients who simply can't wait to resume their pre-pregnancy exercise routine and intensity without a second thought. These ladies usually belong to the category of avid exercisers and/or competitive sportswomen who have no qualms pushing themselves hard - the sooner, the better - they rationalize! 

My take on the above approach is this: Too Much Too Soon is also BAD for the body!    

Do remember that pregnancy does take a toil on a woman's body - physically and physiologically. Like it or not, the body does need time to recover, re-align and re-condition itself. As a result, any exercise programming has to take the above into account and has to proceed slowly and progressively.

Also, the presence of the hormone - Relaxin - still lingering within the body for a few months post-partum, does increase the risk of training injuries, if one is not careful.

Always aim to ease yourself back into your exercise routine gradually, and don't be afraid to slow down or even take a step back, if things just don't seem right.

3) I Must Do Lots Of Crunches To Flatten My Belly!

Crunches are OVER-RATED. Period.

And they should NOT be part of your immediate post-natal exercise arsenal.

Bearing in mind that many postpartum mums experience some form of abdominal laxity and separation (Diastasis Recti), doing crunches (which actually only stress the superficial abdominal muscles that have already been weakened and over-stretched during pregnancy) would only greatly aggravate the above condition - leading to other possible medical complications such as tissue tearing and hernias.

And also, in case you are wondering, crunches do LITTLE, if ANY, to help you burn belly fat off!

You'll be far better off doing specific core activation drills which target the deep underlying core musculature of your body, and other complementary strengthening and conditioning exercises to help you regain overall muscle tone, boost your metabolism and to help you burn body fat.

4) I Am Breast-Feeding So I Shouldn't Workout!

Barring any medical issue, you CAN and SHOULD work out even if you are breast-feeding.

Just make sure that you are taking in sufficient calories and drinking enough fluids through the day; and always put on a good support bra when working-out.

And in case you are wondering whether your exercise regime is going to have an effect on your breast milk in any way; the GOOD news is this: research has proven - without a single doubt - that light-to-moderate exercise does NOT affect the quality nor quantity of your milk production at all.

So take heart, go ahead, and feel free to enjoy your physical activities once again.

For more information on your post-partum exercise options, do also check out our Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) Page On Post-Natal Fitness Training.




Friday, February 6, 2015

The Essence Of Environmental Fitness

To most people, the concept of Environmental Fitness is something relatively new and unfamiliar.

However, in its essence, it simply means: programming and structuring a fitness workout in your immediate environment: one that is ultimately familiar, convenient and accessible to you.

And to most of us living here in Singapore, such an environment can be anything and anywhere: from our own homes to an outdoor park, from a nearby children's playground to even a public car park.

Let's look in detail some of the more common locations for environmental fitness training, and the types of tools/props available in these environments that could be utilized for a great workout!

A) Home Workouts

Image of man working-out at home using a chair

ANY space in your home - sitting/dining area, bedroom, balcony, garage, backyard, etc - could be effectively and creatively used to give you an effective workout.

Add to that: common-place furniture such as chairs, tables, stools, bed frames etc to every-day household furnishings/fittings such as window/door grills, walls, stairs and steps - you basically have everything necessary for a great workout right in your home!

For more details on how to construct a professional home workout routine here in Singapore, do feel free to check out our Home-Based Training Services!

B) Park Workouts


With Singapore being widely-acclaimed as a Green City - hosting a wide range of accessible parks, gardens, nature reserves and other green infrastructures throughout the country, working-out in a park setting has never been easier and more convenient!

And with the majority of public parks fully-furnished with communal facilities like: benches, picnic tables, shelters, lamp-posts, fitness corners etc, together with Nature's very own 'props' such as trees, branches, fallen logs, and open grass patches, park environments indeed make excellent and ideal workout locations!

Check out our Park Workout Series today for more details on how best to utilize a park environment for your own training routine.

C) Playground Workouts


Image of ladies working-out at a children's playground.

Playgrounds are common entities found in Singapore - seen practically in every corner of the island, scattered among both neighbourhood HDB residential blocks, private housing areas, public parks and gardens.

And with most playgrounds nowadays fully-equipped with modern children's equipment (which really make excellent training props!!!) - such as slides, ladders, monkey bars, balance beams, swing sets etc - drawing up an exercise routine using available playground props is often limited only by one's imagination and creativity..........

For more information on how best to utilize your neighbourhood playground to sculpt and shape your body, do check out our Playground Workout Series today!

D) Fitness Corner Workouts


Image of Outdoor Fitness Corner Equipment

Found in every HDB and private housing estate here in Singapore, as well as in most public parks and nature reserves in the country, the ubiquitous fitness corner is a great starting point to embark upon one's fitness journey!

Equipped with all-weather fitness apparatus and outdoor exercise stations such as: parallel and uneven beams, pull-up bars, step platforms, overhead log press stations, sit-up benches and more, these fitness corners offer residents a convenient and hassle-free route to fitness.

Check out our Public Fitness Corner Workout Series today for more ideas on how to use these fitness corners and their various exercise stations optimally in your own fitness routine.

D) Beach Workouts

Image of a man working-out on the beach

Singapore, being an island and surrounded by water on all sides, is blessed with great shorelines and beaches along its coasts - presenting a superb environment to get in shape in the company of Sun, Sand and Sea!

And most of the props found on our beach fronts: including benches, picnic tables, lifeguard stands, sea walls, lamp posts, poles, fences and not forgetting the surrounding soft sand and palm trees - all serve as great training tools for the Creative Fitness Mind out there!
 
For more details on how best to utilize our beaches and shorelines for a fantastic fitness workout, do check out our Beach Workout Series today!

E) Stadium Workouts

Image of woman running up stadium stairs.

Public Stadiums are another ever-present amenity found in Singapore - conveniently scattered across the island for easy access.

Modern and fully-equipped: from the 400-meter synthetic track to the sideline benches to the surrounding bleachers  to the stadium steps/stairs, the stadium presents the perfect workout arena for the fitness enthusiast.

Check out our Stadium Workout Series today to see how we can help you to achieve your fitness goals right at your nearest stadium.

D) Car Park Workouts

Image of empty parking lots all set for exercising

Being an urban and metropolitan city, Singapore has a wide range of parking facilities. From open-air parking lots to indoor multi-storey car parks to underground parking facilities, we seem to have them all.

 At first glance, a car park or parking lot may seem like a queer location for a workout, but in reality, with the right dose of fitness know-how and creativity, an empty, safe parking lot makes a great training location!

Utilizing amenities such as the parking lot space, signage boards, kerbs, horizontal floor lines etc - one can actually have a full-body workout right in the middle of a parking lot!
 
For more details on how best to utilize our car parks and parking lots for a great fitness workout, do check out our Car Park Workout Series today!

Conclusion

Hopefully, by now, this whole concept of  Environmental Fitness has got you all excited and pumped-up over the limitless possibilities and usages of your immediate environment!!!

If you're anything like me, the next time you come across a park, a children's playground or even an empty parking lot, no longer would you look at them with the same, old way and shrug them off as mere commodities in your environment or estate; but rather, view them as your next potential exercise location!

Time to work out a good sweat in your neighbourhood environment now?