Gyms & Trainers, Health & Fitness, Workouts

10 Weeks To A Stronger, Healthier You! – Vanessa Tai

Have you hit a plateau in your workout regime and looking for a way to get out of your fitness rut? Or perhaps you’re a fitness newbie looking for a fun way to stay in shape? Read on.

While the joys of solo exercise can’t be denied, there are plenty of advantages to working out as a group too. When you’re feeling tired or unmotivated, you can always count on a bunch of like-minded folks to spur you on. That was one of the main perks I experienced when I recently participated in one of Momentum Lab’s GetFIT20 sessions. During the session, we were paired up with a buddy so we could encourage each other to keep going throughout the high-energy session.

Bosom buddies

Find your bosom buddy at Momentum Lab.

But first, what is GetFIT20?

GetFIT20 is a 10-week exercise program where participants come in twice a week at fixed times and days. Using a mix of Pilates-based techniques, body weight resistance training, and cardio training, each session takes you through about five different workout stations for a full-body workout. There are usually several trainers on-hand to guide you through the workouts and postures, so you don’t have to worry about trying to memorize them all. The 10 weeks are broken up into five phases, with a different focus each fortnight. Phase 1 starts with a general introduction to body weight resistance training before moving into Phase 2, which is about building up your core strength. From there, the focus shifts on building your endurance, stamina and strength.

Class is in session!

Class is in session!

Of course, as well all know, staying trim and healthy is not just about working out. A sensible diet plays a big role too. This is why when you embark on the GetFIT20 program, you’ll be given a folder that includes nutritional tips, a food diary for you to track your daily food intake as well as a Body Composition Analysis (BCA) data sheet for you to track your progress. BCA breaks down your weight into body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density, and water weight. From there, you can map out your goals for the 10 weeks, whether is it to lower your body fat percentage, gain muscle, or to improve overall strength.

Fun, Lighthearted Atmosphere

Personally, what I liked best about GetFIT20 was the camaraderie that was immediately apparent when you step into the studio. The instructors are really friendly; they were chatting with the participants like old friends before the session, and during the session, they knew just what to say to get each participant to give their best. Another thing I enjoyed was the “circuit training” aspect of the class. As someone who tends to get bored easily if I’m doing something repetitively, I liked being able to quickly move from one workout station to another. My favourite station that night? The CardioPUNCH station, where we got to don boxing gloves and hit punching pads held up by the instructors. Man, that was cathartic!

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’re what two of the participants had to say:

Neng Li (in the middle) with instructors Kimberly and Douglas.

Neng Li (in the middle) with instructors Kimberly and Douglas.

“What I like about Momentum Lab is that the people are unpretentious and the instructors genuinely care about your health. Whenever I step in here, I just leave all my stress at the door. I’ve done GetFIT20 for about a month now, and I’ve noticed that I look visibly more toned.” – Neng Li, 29

Adeline (in blue) with her friend who introduced her to Momentum Lab

Adeline (in blue) with her friend who introduced her to Momentum Lab.

 

 

 

 

 

“I was recommended to Momentum Lab by a friend who’s doing personal training sessions here. What I enjoy about GetFIT20 is how there are plenty of variations in the exercise and the instructors are always very motivating. In fact, this is my second time doing it! Being a runner as well, I’ve definitely seen a marked improvement in my stamina – I can run much longer distances now.” – Adeline Yap, 36

 

Tempted to sign up but not sure if you can commit? Not to worry, you can still attend a make-up session on Saturdays or join another group to ensure you’re on track to achieving your fitness goals. Of course, the most ideal situation would be where you made it a point to dedicate two fixed days a week to the program. Speaking from personal experience, I find it more beneficial to stick to a fixed exercise routine and fit other activities around it, instead of trying to fit exercise into my schedule. By making it a non-negotiable, it’s hardens your resolve to work out when all you wanna do is slack off and go for after-work drinks with your friends. True story.

GetFIT20 is held every Monday to Thursday at 8pm, and is priced at $500 for 20 sessions. For more information, click here.

Material World was invited to review the GetFIT20 program. All opinions are the author’s own. This post was neither paid for nor advised by Momentum Lab. 

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Branded Content, Health & Fitness, Workouts

[Material World x Breathe Pilates] Is Gyrotonic Right For Me? – Vanessa Tai

You may be a fitness newbie or a long-term Pilates practitioner. Whatever your fitness level, Gyrotonic serves to complement existing sporting endeavours. Vanessa Tai checks it out.

Okay, confession time.

When I first saw the Gyrotonic machine at Breathe Pilates’ Novena branch, I felt a tad underwhelmed. It just looked like a long wooden bench with rotational discs attached at the end. However, I soon discovered Gyrotonic was not as simple as it looked.

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My instructor Susanna explaining to me how Gyrotonic helps functional spinal movement.

But first, what is Gyrotonic?

Gyrotonic was developed in the 1970s by Julio Horvath, a former swimmer, gymnast, and ballet dancer whose career as a professional dancer ended abruptly after several serious injuries. In a bid to self-rehabilitate, Horvath developed a series of exercises that formed the basis for today’s Gyrotonic. In a nutshell, Gyrotonic is a system of exercise that incorporate movement principles from yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming, and even tai chi.

Health benefits of Gyrotonic

As with other forms of Pilates, Gyrotonic requires you to be mindful of the connection between your breath and body. Some of the purported health benefits include an improved posture, increased strength and stamina, and reduced tension on your joints.

What can you expect from Gyrotonic at Breathe Pilates?

Before you embark on any class at Breathe, you will be given a one-on-one consultation where either the instructors or resident doctor would assess which is the most suitable exercise for your needs.

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Intention of movement is one of the key principles of Gyrotonic. Here, Susanna is ensuring my posture is properly aligned before I engage in movement.

Intention of movement is one of the key principles of Gyrotonic. Here, Susanna is ensuring my posture is properly aligned before I engage in movement.

My instructor for that day, Susanna is a 12-year Pilates veteran who has been practicing Gyrotonic for the last four to five years. She told me she was a dancer by training, which was immediately apparent from her graceful carriage and the fluidity of her movements. She explained that since it was my first session, she was just going to focus on one area of the body – my lower back. For regular sessions, however, you are likely to be exercising your entire body. Just remember, the machine is there to facilitate your movements but it’s actually making you do the work, not the other way round.

The Gyrotonic exercises seemed easy enough in theory; one of them involved me straddling the bench and pushing the rotational discs outward. However, there was a certain technique to it that I found difficult to grasp. I guess it was probably because my core muscles are “sleepy” from years of lack of use, so I found it challenging to isolate my core muscles as I pushed the rotational discs outward.

Thankfully, Susanna was very patient, even plonking herself behind me on the bench at times to guide me through each precise movement. That’s the great thing about Gyrotonic sessions at Breathe Pilates – because each session is one-on-one, you’ll get your instructor’s undivided attention.

Of course, one session is not enough to experience the full benefits of Gyrotonic. It will take at least five to 10 sessions before you start to grasp the principles behind Gyrotonic and feel the physical improvements. That said, I did feel the nagging tightness in my lower back and shoulders ease up significantly after that first session.

So, is Gyrotonic right for you? 

The beauty of Pilates and Gyrotonic is how they were designed to be a fully functional system of exercise. What that means is, the movements you do in class are designed to help you to move with grace, balance, and coordination in your day-to-day life. Depending on your needs, these exercises can be tweaked to be gentle or intensive, or even rehabilitative.

While Gyrotonic is certainly open to anybody of any fitness levels, I reckon the people who would reap the most benefits are likely those who are seeking relief from pain in the joints, shoulders, and lower back.

Susanna demonstrating the other uses of the Gyrotonic machine.

Susanna demonstrating the other uses of the Gyrotonic machine.

Material World worked with Breathe Pilates to review their Gyrotonic classes. All reviews are the author’s own and were not vetted by the client. You may read our advertising policy here.

Breathe Pilates is located at #09-33 Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive; and #02-05/06/07 Tides, 217 East Coast Road. For more information or to make an appointment, call 9835 5683, email info@breathepilates.com.sg, or visit www.breathepilates.com.sg.

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Gyms & Trainers, Health & Fitness, Workouts

How to Alleviate Your Back Pains – Vanessa Tai

Whenever I get a massage, the therapist never fails to cluck his/her tongue and say something to the effect of, “Aiyo, your neck and shoulders are so stiff!” If you’re like me and face the computer anywhere between 8 to 18 hours a day, you probably also have the same problem. According to Kimberly Cheong, a Pilates instructor at Focus Pilates, almost 90 percent of the world’s population have experienced back pains at least once in their lives. She shares some simple solutions you can do at home to alleviate this problem.

You want to … relieve stiff muscles in your neck and shoulders

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1. Lie on your back and place a tennis ball along your shoulder blades, near your neck.
2. Slowly lean from side to side, allowing the ball to roll over your tight muscles and massage your pressure points.
3. For some variation, you can slowly lift your hips up to increase the pressure on the ball.

You want to … relieve lower back pain

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1. Lying on your back, prop your feet up against a wall at a 90-degree angle.
2. Slowly, vertebra by vertebra, raise your hips up. Then, slowly lower yourself back to the ground, vertebra by vertebra.
3. For optimal results, it’s recommended to do between five and eight reps daily.

You want to … improve your posture

The key to a good posture, says Cheong, is body awareness. Body awareness is understanding how your body moves, and thinking about how each movement affects your body. To improve your posture, you’ll need to tap into this awareness by constantly checking your spine is straight, shoulders are relaxed and whether your knees are splayed in an unusual manner. “It’ll take time, but eventually this positive habit will become a natural part of your life,” says Cheong, “Pilates is great for increasing body awareness because each movement is designed for you to combine the physical with the mental.”

To find out more about the classes offered by Focus Pilates, visit http://www.focuspilates.com.sg.

This blog post was not paid for by Focus Pilates. All opinions expressed are the author’s own.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

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