How couples can lose the CNY weight together

Burn off all that leftover bak kwa with these fun couple exercises
Burn off all that leftover bak kwa with these fun couple exercises
11 Mar 2015

Burn off all that leftover bak kwa with these fun couple exercises

If you’ve ever gained weight after getting into a relationship – well, you’re in good company. Between all the dinner dates, Sunday brunches, and the nonchalance that settles in once you lock someone down for better or for worse, it’s easy to get lazy about exercising and eating well.

​But why leave each other worse off than you were before getting together? According to Tawfiq Chong and Naila Misran, who met and married while working as trainers at Fitness First, a partner can be your most valuable asset to getting in shape. He or she can encourage you, keep you accountable, and even entertain you when the exercise starts to feel monotonous. In a recent interview, Tawfiq and Naila shared several practical, easy, and time-saving tips for couples who want to help each other get fit.

And now that the gut-busting trifecta of holidays – Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year – are over, the time is right to start burning off all that bak kwa. Here’s how you and your partner can get on a couples exercise routine:

 

1. Ease each other into exercise
1. Ease each other into exercise
11 Mar 2015

1. Ease each other into exercise


It’s not always easy to start exercising, let alone convince your partner to start working out as well. It’s certainly awkward to bring up in the first place. How do you tell your honey that he’s getting soft around the middle without hurting his feelings?

“I would just be honest and say it,” Tawfiq laughed. “If I’m comfortable with you, then I can do it. If you don’t want to hurt the person, you can tell them, ‘you look good, but you could look better.’” (Cue arm punch from his wife.)

“Whoever has a better fitness level will need to understand that he or she can’t use force on the other person, otherwise they will get turned off,” Nailsa said. “They might never want to exercise again! Do something achievable. You can even ‘barter trade’ a bit, make it fun.”

In other words, if your partner agrees to go running with you once a week for six months, then you will consent to watching five episodes of Naruto with him every Saturday night for the foreseeable future.

2. Plan ahead and set realistic goals
2. Plan ahead and set realistic goals
11 Mar 2015

2. Plan ahead and set realistic goals

Too many couples start exercising spontaneously, only to give up before turning it into a habit.

“Before working out you should sit down and start planning for the next two or three months,” Tawfiq said. “They [couples] leave or give up because they don’t see results. I would suggest setting a goal and monitoring themselves weekly or monthly.”

He also added that couples should be specific. It’s not enough to say that you need to lose weight. If you weigh 80 kilograms, and need to slim down, then say that you want to lose 5 kilograms in three months. Then find out what your partner wants, and how she can get it, and align your routines so that you have a common goal. Be the other person’s champion.

Waking up at 5 am three times a week to go running is much more feasible when there’s someone to force you out of bed. If you reach your ideal weight before she does, wake up anyway – she’ll appreciate the company! Her goal weight is yours, and you’re not going to sleep in until she can too.

3. Make it fun
3. Make it fun
11 Mar 2015

3. Make it fun


Find any excuse you can to burn some extra calories – and then frame it so that it sounds enjoyable, even romantic. How about getting off the bus a stop early after dinner so that you can enjoy a nice evening stroll? Or how about cycling at sunset at East Coast Park? What matters is that you lower the barriers to exercise as much as possible.

“You should start off by walking a lot,” Tawfiq said. “Climb the stairs together instead of taking the lift. For every step that they climb, their heart condition improves by three seconds. You’re actually helping them live longer!”

“Any outdoor activities would be good,” Naila added, after we asked her to recommend good sports for unathletic couples. “Like rock climbing, or swimming. Sometimes with sports like tennis, you need to have equipment and learn some basic technique for hitting the ball, and if you don’t have it, then you could get frustrated too early on.”

And of course, there’s always the option of joining a gym. As fitness instructors, they recommend checking out 30-minute classes at the gym, so as to not intimidate your partner with the prospect of hour-long workouts. Look for classes that cater to more than one fitness level or that require partnering up. (After all, it’s far less intimidating to join a class with a friend than it is to walk in alone.) From there, your S.O. can become confident about exercising in front of other people, and perhaps even work up the courage to try some of the equipment.

4. For the guys: be chivalrous
4. For the guys: be chivalrous
11 Mar 2015

4. For the guys: be chivalrous


You don’t need to do yoga in a meadow of wildflowers at sunrise in order to make exercising romantic. Naila says that it’s as easy as being a gentleman.

“Motivate her, assure her, make sure that she’s handling the equipment safely,” Naila said. “Make her feel confident, give positive feedback, and praise her!”

Remember, you’re her champion, not her personal trainer. Loosen up! She should feel empowered while exercising with you, not lousy or ashamed.

“Remember to make conversation while working out,” Naila added. “Don’t let there be too much awkward silence. Some guys get really into it while in the gym. They have to set their minds on the idea that this is not the time. When working out with their partner, they should focus on the other person and not themselves.”

5. Finally, motivate each other and partner up
5. Finally, motivate each other and partner up
11 Mar 2015

5. Finally, motivate each other and partner up


Planking, sit-ups, and other repetitive exercises can get a little boring. So why not spice things up by trying some simple two-person exercises? These don’t need much time, equipment, or even dexterity – a willing partner and a bit of floor space will do. 

Medicine ball – side to side Russian twist (counterclockwise from the top left)
Medicine ball – side to side Russian twist (counterclockwise from the top left)
11 Mar 2015

Medicine ball – side to side Russian twist (counterclockwise from the top left)


STEP 1: Lie down knees bent, with your feet on the floor. Get your partner to hold on firmly to your feet.

STEP 2: Holding on to the medicine ball, elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V- shape with your thighs. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you perpendicular to your torso. This is the starting position.

STEP 3: Then lower your body as you would for a sit up, extending your arms and maintain them above your head the whole time while holding onto the medicine ball – use your core to control the motion.

STEP 4: Thereafter, once the medicine ball makes contact with the floor and when your shoulder blades make contact with the ground level, raise your body as you would during a sit up until your upper body is perpendicular to the floor and then bring your arms forward to make contact with your partner with the medicine ball touching each other.

STEP 5: Then, twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel with the floor while breathing out.

STEP 6: Hold the contraction for a second and move back to the starting position while breathing out. Now move to the opposite side performing the same techniques you applied to the right side.

Repeat both left & right for 20 repetitions.

Exercise steps courtesy of Tawfiq Chong

Stationary Plank
Stationary Plank "partner drill" with side to side jump (clockwise from top left)
11 Mar 2015

Stationary Plank "partner drill" with side to side jump (clockwise from top left)


STEP 1: Partner A does a side to side jump over partner B, while partner B performs a stationery plank on the ground for 5 repetitions.

STEP 2: Switch positions, this time with Partner A performing a stationary plank while Partner B doing the side to side jump over partner A. Repeat exercise for 5 sets each.

* SAFETY PRECAUTION * Beginners should perform this exercise slowly; make room and space for the exercise. Beginners can try to take a step over their partner instead of jumping over.

Exercise steps courtesy of Tawfiq Chong

Sit up partner “Hi 5 claps” (clockwise from the top left)
Sit up partner “Hi 5 claps” (clockwise from the top left)
11 Mar 2015

Sit up partner “Hi 5 claps” (clockwise from the top left)


STEP 1: Partners are to sit facing each other in a sit up position, interlocking legs together.

STEP 2: Both perform a sit up at the same time with both hands extended. Give your partner a high five each time you perform a sit up. Do 20 repetitions of this exercise

*Safety Precaution* For beginners or individuals with lower back problems to start the exercise without the "hi 5 claps" - recommended to use hands to touch bent knees.

Exercise steps courtesy of Tawfiq Chong

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