The book is meant to be a guide for general health and fitness improvement. The content written here is solely based on our experience and learning, we did not cite any reference or scientific articles. Please consult your health professional or doctor if you are unfamiliar with any of the information provided herein.
Thank you for taking the time to read our e-book, we hope that this book will ignite your passion for health & fitness. Before we start, we would like you to know that achieving physical fitness takes time, in the process there will be discomfort, there may be pain, but you will eventually conquer it and come out better.
People come to us for a variety of reasons, most, initially for physical benefits. Through time, however, they discover what their body can achieve, how different they feel and who they have transformed into.
The problem now is that there is too much information, rather than a lack of it, that health-conscious consumers like you and us are having trouble navigating and choosing what to believe. In this book, we hope to guide you in the right direction so that you will be better able to make informed choices.
“Helping ordinary people achieve extraordinary results” – JG Fit
Your Journey Starts with You
Let’s face it, most of us exercise and diet to look better, which boosts our confidence. Humans value good physical traits, we are attracted to objects/people-pleasing to the eye, a biological aspect that is inbuilt in us.
Some are truly participating in the name of health; because your doctor ordered you to start eating less or exercising more if not you will risk having a heart attack, because you sprain your back while carrying something light, because you find yourself out of breath while running for the bus. Point is, there are many reasons to why you would want to take the first step to change & that is motivating. Prevention is always better than cure, and cheaper too right?
That brings us to the first step of your journey. To take the step into the future, you will need a purpose, a why.
Find your Why
One method we employ at JG Fit is to ask why until we get to the client’s pain point.
Let’s say we approach a new client, Amy.
JG Fit: Amy, what is your goal?
Amy: My goal is to lose weight.
JG Fit: Why do you want to lose weight?
Amy: I want to look and feel better.
JG Fit: Why do you want to look and feel better?
Amy: Recently I have been feeling lousy.
JG Fit: Why do you feel lousy recently?
Amy: My shirt size has gone up; I feel fat all day and night and I’m frustrated.
JG Fit: Why do you feel frustrated?
Amy: My weight gain has affected my confidence; I think that people are judging me base on my looks and I hate it.
JG Fit: Okay, now we know what you mean.
Shown above is an example, your core reason may be as simple as looking and feeling great, or it can be a more deep-rooted reason like Amy.
Now take a pen and paper, write down what is your goal and use each answer to build upon your “why” until you are satisfied.
Once you know your why, it’s time to move to the next step.
“Great things never come from comfort zone” – Gina Lau
High Risk, High Returns. Low Risk, Steady Returns.
Changing behaviour is as much psychological as it is physiological. In a financial setting, you would have heard of the term “high risk, high returns”. The same can be applied to a physical setting, based on individual character, timeframe and/or appetite for results.
High risk, high returns are to adjust all factors at the same time including; food, exercise, sleep, stress and supplementation which will potentially yield quicker and more dramatic results. However, employing this method may result in what we call a “rebound”, when the individual returns back to where they originally started.
Low risk, steady returns is to start with the easiest task first such as eating more vegetables during dinner or going for a run on Saturday or getting more sleep during the weekends or simply take 5 minutes to focus on breathing. Choose one option that is the easiest to change and stick to it for two weeks before adding a new habit. The cons of employing this method are that results are usually slow and one may lose motivation before they see results.
So which method would you choose? There is no right or wrong, choose the one that you feel is right.
Now you know your why and what risk you want to take, we have categorized the next steps according to 2 different levels, health and fitness.
You may be thinking: “Isn’t fit the same as being healthy?”
Health is defined as the state of being free from illness or injury.
Fitness is defined as the condition of being physically fit and healthy.
One may be super fit such as sporting six-packs, having crazy physical attributes but may have poor health parameters and poor eating habits. Another person may be in great health but not fit. In this case, who do you want to be?
Either way, understand that getting either healthy or fit is a continuous journey, it’s never a “lose weight quick” gimmick.
Well, at least for our clients, we aim to build a solid foundation of health. Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the next exciting, actionable strategies that you can use.
Level 1: Food for Health
Search on Google “How to lose weight” and there will be no lack of diets available for you to attempt: Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, Low Carbs, Low Fats, Ketogenic and even Pizza. In fact, there’s too much information rather than the lack of it that is causing confusion among people throughout the world.
Every year, there are new diets promising quick and amazing results, by inspiring fitness models, celebrities and attractive influencers teaching you how to lose weight and feel great. Many of us want to look like them, so much so that they will do everything within their means to achieve it.
How about you?
This book is written with the intent to keep things simple, and that includes eating. At level 1, we eat for health and we love the basics: first, you add (+), then you subtract (-).
Step 1: Addition (+)
Depending on your risk appetite, you may start by adopting just one change out of the 3 or adopting all 3 changes:
- Vegetables: In a common Singaporean diet, many of us are lacking in nutrients as not many places offer nutrient-dense food. Challenge yourself by eating vegetables, lunch and dinner daily for the next two weeks.
- Physical Activity or Movements: Do you feel sluggish every day? Inactivity slows you down, add movements daily such as walking a longer route to work, climbing the stairs back home or simply standing up to stretch in between work.
- Sleep: We are a hardworking nation that is reported to be working longer hours with little sleep. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep. This might be difficult but you can start off by building good sleeping habits such as limiting the use of any electronic devices 30mins before bedtime.
Step 2: Subtraction (-)
- Fried Food
Easy? You would be surprised because everywhere you turn, most of our food is processed, includes sauce or is deep-fried. It’s not the chef’s job to make you healthy, it’s their job is to make the food as palatable as possible so that you will purchase and consume their food. Subtract these three and you will be on your way to becoming a healthier you.
Level 1: Physical Activity for Health
Remember we talked about adding physical activity or movement? We did not mention exercise specifically because all you need is to move! Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends aiming for 2.5 hours of physical activity per week which can provide substantial health benefits for adults and seniors.
So, what do we recommend?
To begin, walking, household chores, exercising and/or any physical tasks. We personally found that aiming for >6000 steps per day is easily achievable with the help of a smart-watch, although 10,000 steps are optimal. HPB will even reward you if you are able to clock 10,000 steps daily, simply go to their website to find out more. Nope, we are not sponsored by them.
If you are looking to Just Get fit (JG Fit, get it?), then there are many forms of exercise available for you to start in Singapore. It can be in the form of Personal / Group Training, joining a sports community or running. You can even exercise at the comfort of your home as Fitness Videos are readily available at social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram & Facebook which we will further discuss in Level 2: Exercising for Fitness.
How about the exercises?
Here’s a list of reputable online training resources that we have compiled to get you started in your journey: https://www.facebook.com/jgfitsg/posts/1087819661617235
Aim to do at least twice a week for 60mins each session or 30mins 4 times a week.
But why so little?
Even if we tell you to do more, would you?
“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it” – Grace Chan
Level 2: Nutrition for Fitness
Your desire for a better physique such as having 6 packs for male or a toned body for females, brings us to the next level: Nutrition for Fitness. At level 2, you will have to take a more methodological approach to plan your nutrition and training, till it becomes a part of your lifestyle.
Before you start, remember this:
Achieving Fitness requires conscious effort, time, discipline and sacrifices. Are you ready for it?
For an overview, you will have to take control of your life in this proportion:
This graph is a representation of what we employed and is by no means a scientific graph nor data. There are, however, growing evidence that suggests that nutrition plays a more prominent role in weight management as compared to exercise. Quote from Obesity expert doctor Yoni Freedhoff: “Exercise has staggering health benefits, but it may not help much in the quest for weight loss.” The ratio of food is simply higher than the ratio of exercise in terms of human metabolism.
To understand more, first you must recognize the fact that our body changes according to energy balance. Newton’s first law of thermodynamic; Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transferred or change from one form to another. Our bodies are no exception as the food we consumed are merely converted into energy in the form of nutrients; Calories, Macronutrients, Micronutrients and Water.
Ever wondered why there are nutrition labels on food items and the first line is Calories? Well for layman terms, it is to allow you to calculate how many calories you are taking in vs. expending out. Now, we are going to do a little math with Mary (fictional character). Mary is a 30 years-old working adult who wants to lose 5kg in 10weeks.
1kg of fats in your body is approximately 7700 calories. In order to lose 1kg per 2 weeks, she would have to burn 7700 calories every two weeks or 7700/14 = 550 calories a day. With a body resting metabolism of 1400 calories, plus daily activity level of 400 calories, she is expending 1800 calories a day and in order to lose 1kg of fats in two weeks, she would have to go on a calorie’s deficit of 1800 – 550 = 1250 calories a day. That means she can only consume 1250 calories a day.
Although this is a simplistic explanation, we hope that by showing you the concept, it would lead you to better food choices as mentioned in Level 1: Food for Health.
Let’s go back to the food that you picked up once again. Say you pick up a packet of chips and turn to the food label, does it read 200 calories per serving? You might want to put that down because what you eat does matter. 200 calories of chips are not the same as 200 calories of vegetables. This is also the reason why we believe that nutrition has a bigger impact as compared to exercise, sleep and stress in regard to fitness.
There are of course complicated situations as other factors such as sleep and stress can actually affect your body metabolism. Fat loss or weight loss is not as straight-forward as when someone starves themselves for 2 weeks, they would lose 5kg. Body metabolism slows down to keep you alive. The body starts to conserve fats in order for you to survive, you may lose 5kg in 2 weeks, but gain back 6kg the next! Hence, there must be a good balance between your exercise and food intake, so that you can look decently fit and healthy, not skinny nor scrawny.
Food is Smart, and so are you.
Our food has different macronutrients and our body converts them into different energy sources.
Protein will be broken down into Amino Acids. Carbohydrates into Glucose. Fats into Triglycerides.
Understanding how your body functions according to different macronutrients will be beneficial in achieving your desired results. Proteins are important but so are carbohydrates and fats, each serves a different role in the complexity of human bodies. Your job is to understand what’s the proportion of macronutrients you have to consume in order to optimize your fitness levels. You may then adopt an eating strategy such as:
- Portion Control
- Macronutrients Counting
- Food Logging
- Food Cycling such as Intermittent Fasting
- Macronutrients Cycling such as Carbohydrate Cycling
- Any other eating strategies that you may find comfortable
Bringing this all together, you can start out by checking out our go-to calculator by Precision Nutrition to know how many calories and macronutrients you are recommended to consume:
If you want to find out more, let us know so we can forward you more information to digest, yum!
Level 2: Exercising for Fitness
To achieve fitness, there are various types of exercise formats; Personal Training, Group Class, Spin Class, HIIT, CrossFit and the list goes on. Understanding the differences between these exercise techniques would allow you to make a better decision. I would also like to highlight that sport is not fitness, and we are going to focus our attention on fitness exercises
Resistance Training promoting muscular adaptation has been shown to improve body composition among males and females. These are classes available in the form of Personal Training, weight-lifting, power-lifting and strength & conditioning lessons.
High Intensity (Anaerobic) vs Low Intensity (Aerobic)
High-Intensity, short-duration exercises burn up a modest amount of energy during the activity. However, after the activity, total energy expenditure will continue to stay up for hours. Ever heard of the “after-burning” effect? This afterburning effect is what we call Excess Post Oxygen Consumption, meaning that your body will continue to use up oxygen in order to return to its normal state. These are classes such as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Spinning, or even interval running.
Low-Intensity, long-duration exercises burn more energy during the activity. However, total energy expenditure returns quickly to the resting baseline. These are activities such as long-distance running, group classes such as Zumba, Kkardio and Aerobics.
There are also hybrids such as CrossFit, Les Mills Body Pump which uses a combination of resistance training in a high-intensity format.
Classes such as Yoga & Pilates are popular and improves flexibility and strengthens the body.
With so many varieties in exercises, what do I choose?
Our answer? It depends.
Everyone is different and it would depend on various factors:
With no lack of options to choose from a wide array of the fitness spectrum, convenience plays an important part to the individual. Most would choose places close to either their home or workplace, with a rare few willing to travel all the way to the other end of Singapore if they want to follow a particular trainer.
It is not so much about price as it is about your perceived value. The perceived value of the fitness lesson would determine how much you are willing to pay for it. This brings us to the next commodity
The most precious commodity is not money, but time. In this case, convenience, value and time are closely linked together. If one does not find value in fitness, they would choose the most convenient option that saves the most time and money. Question is: How much do you value your health?
We are social animals. Some of us simply hate to exercise, but we are willing to do it if it is with a loved one or a friend. That is why CrossFit has such a strong following because they focus on building a strong community on top of fitness.
Do you love the adrenaline rush? Then HIIT may be for you.
Do you love to do things slowly, all by yourself? Then long-distance running may be for you.
As you can see, your personality plays a part in your choice of activity. Do something that you like, and you will be able to stick and eventually it becomes a part of you.
Here’s one simple advice, keep things CONSISTENT, do not jump from program to program every other week and expect to see results. Simple means:
- Stick to a program for a minimum of EIGHT weeks before changing
- Adjust and tweak your exercises depending on your body condition but STICK to the plan
- If you are unsure of what to do, please go with the trial session first before deciding.
“Consistency is King” – Jiewen
Thank you for your time to finish reading this Guide to Healthy, Fit You. We hope to play a part in inspiring you to kickstart your health or fitness journey.
JG Fit aims to be recognized as Singapore’s premier fitness service provider with a focus on Personal Training. We emphasize consistently delivering results to our clients with high-quality services; through customized training programmes, providing psychological support and building last relationships.
If you have any other questions, please:
Email us at email@example.com.
Direct message on our Facebook or Instagram page at jgfitsg.
Fill up our contact form at https://jgfitsg.weebly.com/contactus.html