You probably already know that there are many great reasons to exercise that will motivate us to keep fit! It goes from improving your energy, mood, sleep, health to reducing your anxiety levels, stress and depression. But we all know how and why to exercise, but that isn't enough as we need to make exercise a habit - namely having the right mindset and a smart, fun approach to exercising. Exercise is one of those pillars of longevity and it does reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, plus it promotes a higher possibility of staying healthy longer, ageing well and feeling better physically and mentally.
It doesn't matter what your age or fitness level is, and even if you've never really exercised a day in your entire life, there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating or painful, and translate it into something more fun and instinctive. Even if you aren't an athlete, you can still have a good time while working up a sweat. In fact, we encourage fun in fitness! Everyone who exercises knows how great it feels post-workout, having that natural high you feel when you've gone for a satisfying kickboxing session or finished a round on the weights.
If you dread your workouts, or catch yourself counting down every minute your're at the gym, then you are probably exercising wrong. Your mind plays a huge role in each of your activities and if you find you enjoy it - you'll stick to it and have fun! Fun is a big motivational factor, so if you associate your workouts with excitement, exercise will become an enjoyable part of your life, so spice up your routine today.
How to improve your workout:
Always challenge yourself
Push yourself to perform more intense tasks and go through professionally guided training to challenge yourself as you progress.
Exercise with your friends
You get back with a little help from your friends. Just by taking a yoga glass or bootcamp with a friend can help motivate you and later you can share a healthy meal together! Exercise can be a fun time to socialize with friends and working out together can build a little healthy competition which keeps it exciting.
Think outside the gym
Does the idea of going to the gym fill you with dread? If you find the gym inconvenient, expensive or intimidating, or simply boring - that's fine. There are lots of other exercise alternatives to weight rooms and regular cardio equipment. Just about everyone can find a physical activity that they enjoy, like martial arts, gymnastics, rock climbing, Zumba or hiking, just to name a few.
Pump up the music on your ipod
Load your mp3 player or phone with upbeat, fun, and fast-paced music for your cardio sessions and then slower playlists for cooling down or stretching. Music will always give you the extra pump needed to get through an exercise.
Choose activities that make you feel happy and confident
If your own workout routine is unpleasant or makes you feel inept, you won't stick to it. Don't choose activities like carrying weights or running on a treadmill at the gym just because you think that's what you should do. Pick up something that fits your lifestyle, abilities and taste.
Develop automatic triggers
It's the secret to success which is to develop triggers to form an exercise habit. Research shows that most consistent exercises rely on them. Triggers are simple reminders, like a time of a day, place or cue to kick off an automatic reaction! They put you on autopilot, so there is nothing to think about or decide when exercising. The alarm goes off and you're out that door for a walk or run, or you leave work and straight to the gym you go, or you see your sneakers and you're up ready to go jogging. Build that into your everyday life.
Think about activities you did when you were young
Take some time to discover what type of exercise is best for your physical, emotional and social wellbeing.
Read health or fitness blogs, follow trainers online, visit an exercise website or read a magazine with photos or stories of people being active. Sometimes reading about and looking at images does motivate you to move your body as well!
Buy yourself new exercise gear
You don't really need to buy new clothes to enjoy a workout but these things do provide motivation when you don't feel like going to the gym. Looking cute in your gym gear can increase interest in actually working out, as you are more likely to feel excited to exercise to show off your pretty outfits.
Get involved with your community
Joining a club or a fitness program is a great way to meet new people who are interested in the same sport or exercise as you are. Your local community or friends may suggest lots of opportunities to be more active - from leisure centres to sports clubs or gyms to parks, trails, pools and fun classes.
Play video games that make you active
Wii Tennis, Wii Fit or Just Dance on Xbox and any other game that exists to make you move counts as well. Playing a game that makes you move around or stand up is a great way to have fun while ensuring that you are actually exercising as well.
Celebrate your efforts and your achievements to give you some impetus to keep going. Give yourself treats to do something you enjoy, and make sure your rewards match your healthy lifestyle.
Keep an exercise journal
This will help you reflect on how you feel before, during and after you exercise. It's a efficient and fun way to track your progress. You will enjoy exercise more if you can actually see the results. Aside from seeing the changes in the mirror, you will feel that your clothes fit you better.
We spoke to Noel Chelliah
, who started a Boot Camp-like community group (DailyMuscle) in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL which has now expanded to three locations in TTDI and Bangsar, including a new boutique fitness studio in Glomac Damansara coming September. As a professional fitness instructor, he is working hard to develop and maximise the value he can provide to the most number of people so he understands how to make working out fun. He shares his insights here on a couple of important fitness questions.
Tell us what you do and where you work.
I'm a group fitness instructor and I run outdoor group workouts. I founded my company, DailyMuscle, 10 years ago with the goal to help people realise that staying active isn't as difficult or boring as they think it is.
What inspires you to work out and keep healthy?
What inspires me is really how I feel as a result of being more active. I am more in control of my body and it feels great to be strong, sleep better, and move better. I was an overweight teenager right up to my college years, so being able to come out of that and embarking on a healthier lifestyle has been really rewarding.
What do you tell individuals who say they don't have the time to work out?
I check if they have Pokemon Go installed on their phones. We all have the time to do the things we love - whether it's watching Game of Thrones or
sports or Facebook-ing. It's really a matter of priorities or a priority issue.
Who inspired you to get fit?
I didn't have any inspirational figure back then. I was destined to be obese with my bad eating habits. It was my mom who said I was getting too fat and decided to send me off to the gym - the rest, is history.
What are some ways individuals can get a good workout in while having fun doing it?
Staying active is easy - the key is to find something we enjoy doing. So if we don't enjoy the gym, then don't force yourself. If you enjoy badminton or futsal or even Pokemon Go (then go all out and do it! and do it well. I have a friend who walked for 2 hours recently because of the game... because he enjoyed doing it.)
What are some exciting and enjoyable workout routines?
Any activity that is done together with a friend or colleagues is always more fun. If you're looking to join a fitness centre or bootcamp, look for ones that have a great community of members and social programs. It's not the workouts that will get you to stay.. it's the experience and company.
How many times a week should someone work out?
It really depends on one's goals. For a decent health program and to stay healthy, a minimum of 30-mins of activity per day is recommended. If you're an Olympic athlete going for performance, then it could be up to 6 hours of training a day.
Are there simple exercises that people can do at home to stay fit? If so, give us some examples.
Easy! Any housework - cleaning, gardening, washing the car...is all GREAT exercise cos it gets you to move. Exercise isn't really something that you HAVE to do at the gym. If you can MOVE...you can be healthy.
How do you make your workout programs fun?
At DailyMuscle we make sure we inject elements of fun and games!
The Olympics show athletes pushing limits and breaking boundaries in terms of fitness and sporting goals, how do you suggest someone with a 9-to-5 job get motivated or inspired to workout?
What many of my clients with busy schedules do is to get their workouts done first thing in the day - that would mean getting out of bed as early as 6AM to work out at 6:45 for at least 30-mins to an hour before they start their day. Once the day starts, many struggle to find the energy (and time) and motivation to do something after work unless one is really motivated and driven. Motivation is something that has to come within. If one doesn't truly want to start leading a healthier lifestyle, it's just something that cannot be forced.
What is the recommendation meal intake each day? What should we be consume more of and what should we keep away from?
Food intake varies for everyone based on how active we are. A typical office person who sits in the office for 8 hours a day would require far less calories than someone who has to be on their feet walking around as part of their job. Counting calories is actually an advanced nutritional skill and not something I recommend at all for anyone (unless they're planning to compete in a physique competition). What works easier is to stick to real foods that are minimally processed (e.g. eat an apple instead of an apple pie), and veggies instead of vegetable dumplings, and to slow down the pace in which we eat. Many people today over-eat easily because they speed through their meals. Take up to 20 minutes to chew and enjoy a meal - you'll find that you get fuller with less food.
What is your personal philosophy in life when it comes to exercise?
If it's not fun, it's not fitness. Workouts don't have to 'kill you' every single time. As long as one is consistent in 'showing up' each day... that all adds up in the end.
Tell us a bit about DailyMuscle and how people can sign up if interested.
DailyMuscle is brand that I've built over the years that is on a mission to let people know that fitness isn't as complicated or as difficult as they think. We've been running outdoor workout programs in Bangsar and TTDI since 2010, and in September 2016 we are opening the doors to our brand new fitness facility at Glomac Damansara - our mission with our new place is to help KL/PJ/Klang Valley residents lose 20,000KGs by the year 2020. In fact, we're giving away a 6-month membership
at our new place over here:
Most people don't enjoy exercise and have a very hard time because they are not used to it. And if you're carrying around extra pounds or plagued by injuires, it can make it hard to get started. Once you found a routine that is safe, fun and doable for your fitness level, these sort of activities will slowly start to get easier and you'll enjoy yourself more and more - as you become more fit in your everyday life.
Exercise is a bonus
Exercise helps your heart get stronger, build muscles and usually gets you outside the house absorbing some vitamin D that brings a bunch of other health benefits.
Exercise is not an excuse to allow yourself to eat junk
You need to reframe your mindset, and instead of I deserve this dessert or junk food, you start telling yourself, if I am going to exercise, I might as well be eating right too!
Exercising daily is a constant reminder that you are leveling up in your life
You must continue to make other good choices or you're not improving your health and lifestyle.
The older you get, life does become fuller and schedules get tighter, so you turn to the seemingly easiest, most efficient option to satisfy your fitness needs. This will lead you to the steps of the nearest gym, but if you want to love exercise, you would need to break out of your small exercise box and shift your mindset from the futility of the pure "physical efficiency" model of exercise and back to the mind-engaging ambrosia of play. It's time to engage your mind, cultivate passion and inspire joy in the act of exercise!
Ask yourself this important question - what types of activities are you going to try out? What truly makes you smile just a little bit when you think about it?
DO NOT DELAY. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. DO NOT EVER MESS AROUND!
Transform your boring exercises today.