Just as we’re getting ready and motivated to burn off that festive weight gained at Christmas, along comes Chinese New Year. If you’re planning on indulging in those delicious pineapple tarts but would prefer not to hear naggy aunties ask you about your weight, it’s probably a good idea to quickly get back to basics with a short but effective exercise routine.
If you’re planning to wear sleeveless or backless tops during the hot days of CNY, doing a few push ups will bring you lots of great results. Targeting and working muscles in the upper body including the pectoral muscles, triceps and biceps, push ups help with flabby underarms and keep arms and shoulders well-defined. Aim to do three sets of 10-15 repetitions for this exercise. For a more intense version, you can elevate your lower body by resting your feet on a bench, chair or stool.
Dips are great because you just need a sturdy bed or chair to do them on. Just make sure it supports your weight and doesn’t move as you work out.
Place your hands behind you on the chair or bench, and straighten your legs out in front of you. If you require more support/balance, you can bend your knees at a 90-degree angle instead. Lower yourself until your arms are at a 90-degree angle before pushing yourself back up to the starting position. Aim for three sets of 10-15 repetitions for this exercise. For more intensity you can place a light weight between your thighs to make it more challenging.
As a lower body exercise, lunges are very versatile, and help to improve strength, flexibility and balance.
They work several muscle groups at once – glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles, not to mention core and back muscles that help you keep your balance. Start with one leg forward, and the other leg behind, your feet should shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your front leg until it is at a 90-degree angle. Your back leg should be nearly touching the ground. Return to your starting position, switch legs and repeat. Aim for three sets of 10-16 repetitions for this exercise.
Another classic lower body exercise, squats target the glutes as well as hamstrings and quadriceps.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward. Begin the exercise by lowering yourself until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. As you move down, you should imagine that you are pushing your glutes back whilst keeping your back straight and your chest forward. Aim for three sets of 10-15 repetitions for this exercise. For a more intense version, try holding on to light weights (water bottles filled with water will do) when executing the exercise. If balance is an issue, use a chair or wall to assist you.
If you only have time to do one exercise, then burpees are THE ONE. This all-in-one exercise works out all the big muscle groups in your body.
From a standing position, crouch down into a squat and kick your legs out behind you into a push-up position. Do a push-up and follow by quickly bringing your legs back into a squatting position, and jump up with your arms raised. This is one standard burpee. Aim to do as many burpees as you can in a minute, then rest for 30 seconds and do another set. Try to do three sets and you’ll generate a good workout burn. The burpee is very versatile and you can customize it by adapting it to your level of fitness (for example, take out the push-up if that’s too much, or add two if too easy).
Fitness tips from Chung Tze Khit, Managing Director of Gold’s Gym Singapore, and Managing Director of Results! Personal Training (pt.com.sg)