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JLo, Shakira, *add YOUR NAME* – inspiring women in their 40s and 50s!

Who can get over that Half Time Super Bowl performance by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira right? The internet went crazy with how incredible it was that these two women, aged 50 and 43 respectively, gave an incredible performance. I mean – they’re old right?

Let’s get this straight – everyone is getting older everyday. We can’t stop it – and frankly, if you stopped growing old that means that you’ve actually passed away right? I hear women groan when it’s their birthday, claiming that they feel so old. I dunno about you but I’m tired of hearing this auto response.

How about when you reach your birthday you go “hell yeah!”.

But, I get how we are wary of growing older. Mainly because we don’t feel like we used to when we were younger. I’m 48 this year. And I feel stronger and healthier than I ever have been.

JLo and Shakira may have started a revolution in ‘older women’ who are saying we are NOT going to let our age dictate how we feel, how we move and how we are portrayed by society.

But we do have to put in some work ladies. Work out. Get strong. Get mobile. Work on your mental health (stress levels), eat nutritious foods, and ask your mind to kindly release you of the stigma of getting older.

50 year old reformer class

Here’s a photo of a group of women in my reformer class yesterday. They are all in the 50s age group. These women show up 2-3 times PER WEEK without fail. They workout hard, they don’t let their age stop them from sweating or groaning at how their muscles are burning. They also have formed an amazing community of like minded women, who turn up because they have fun while working out.

I’m so proud of any woman out there – be it one of our Fit Nutters or not – who has decided that they have had enough of feeling sorry for themselves and want to get healthier and stronger.

While most of us may not have magic hips that can shimmy and move like Shakira’s nor have endurance JLo has (remember this is her living and she has a huge TEAM of trainers etc to get her this fit and healthy!), we can get our butts off our sofa’s, join a group class somewhere, find your tribe, and get a little bit healthier today.

Then say to yourself, I will get a tiny-weeny-itsy-bitsy healthier everyday. Age ain’t nuthin’ but a number.

 

FitNut Loft is a studio based in Singapore which specialises in helping women in their 40s and 50s get fitter, stronger, and more confident. So that they can do all the activities they love to do with friends and family, and to be proud of themselves when they look in the mirror. 

FitNut Loft also offers online nutrition and training coaching to a global network of women, from America to Australia. 

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, please book a call with us here .

 

 

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October – Boob Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As someone who went through all this 3 years ago, I feel I need to share my story repeatedly, and I will not stop, because it’s too easy to think “it won’t happen to me”.

Yes it can happen to you.

You can be eating meat, or not.

Eating veg, or not.

Drinking alcohol, or not.

Exercising, or not.

Smoking, or not.

Be a Game of Thrones fan, or not.

I’m going to keep this blog, short, and simple. And I am not going to mince my words either.

If you find a lump, you may be past Stage 1. Which means, your chances of survival are slimmer.

And if you get cancer, what are you going to do about it?

My OBGYN told me (when I told her that I had cancer) that her 20+ year old yoga, clean eating enthusiast patient, decided not to have chemo or other therapy and would just drink Green Juices.

She died within 6 months.

My mum died of breast cancer in 1980, and treatment back in Malaysia then I can only imagine was dismal.

Chemotherapy, radiation and other forms of medical intervention save lives. Is chemo perfect? Of course not –  it kills healthy cells too. It will leave you feeling ravaged, depressed, raw and wondering if it had been all worth it.

Here I am – 3 years on – and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Yes. It was worth it.

Every surgery I had, every chemo treatment I had, every tear I shed.

It was all worth it. Because I love my life, I love my family, and I damn well want to live to be incredibly old, and wrinkly.

I look at my daughters growing up and think how damn lucky I am to be alive.

Today, I am stronger, healthier, and fitter than I was back before I had cancer. And let me tell you, back then I was pretty damn fit, healthy and strong.

Everything we do in life, is to live and to survive. We want to get older, we want to reproduce to ensure that humans will continue to exist, and we want to love and live.

So – if you are still sitting on the fence about whether to get checked. Do I care? I shouldn’t. Because I don’t know you.

But you have other people who love you and who will care if you are alive or not.

Do it for them.

Health

What’s the point of a Squat Challenge?

Or a plank challenge. Or Push up challenge. Or – you get the idea.

In case you aren’t familiar with this, an exercise challenge is set by a Challenger and normally, on Day #1 you start with 1 rep, then Day#2 you do 2 reps, Day#3 you do 3 reps and so on. This can be set for as long as the challenger likes. Typically you may do 1 month, 2 months, 100 days. You get the idea right?

As the summer holidays in the Northern Hemisphere have arrived, most of my clients are on their vacation. I too, have gone away for nearly 3 weeks. This short break has been a definite “need to have” in order for me to recharge my batteries. I love what I do, but everyone needs a break.

But, wait. Let’s rewind to last summer, or all the other holidays before that.

You see, while I was always a person who “exercises”, when I went on holiday things just braked to a halt. I didn’t do anything. I may feebly attempt something, or be content with my walks, but I’d not do anything to the intensity that I would normally do while back home in my normal routine.

Taking a break from your workouts can be encouraged. It gives your body time to reset, and how I like to describe it is this :

Your body is used to the workouts, they get harder, your body works harder.

Then, you go on holiday and for one week nothing. Your body is geared up, waiting, practically screaming “bring it on!!”. But – you don’t give it what it wants (it wants workouts). So body goes – Oh,… okay then.. I suppose.. I’ll just… chillax. 

Body then gets ready for a good deep hibernating slumber when – BAM you’re back home and you’re working out and your Body goes WTF!? And has to struggle to do the workouts. And when something feels ‘hard’ it means you’re working harder which means you’re burning more fat or carbohydrates to complete the workout.  

Taking a week off can help your body to heal itself, especially if you’ve been working out pretty hard for a spell. But, like this article says, what you eat can make the difference.

Are you the sort of person who will “eat well” (and that is subjective of course) while on holiday? I tend to indulge a little bit more. Wine here, bit of bread there. It all adds up. I eat things I don’t normally eat (like I just had a bite of fudge which I never eat, and frankly, quite dislike!). But being on holiday, we sometimes psychologically give ourselves permission to go wild. While I’m not advocating you not enjoy holiday dining, you need to ask yourself this very important question.

After my vacation, do I want to have to work super duper extra hard to get to where I was before I went on this holiday?

My answer to that is a big “Hell No”! All that work for nothing??

So I try really, really hard, to eat to the best of my ability, in order to keep to some form of calorie deficit so that my jeans don’t get tighter.

And for me, that includes short workouts, walks, and having less wine, less bread, less fudge than I would in the past have given myself permission to have. It’s about making a trade off, if I have a highly calorific meal (case in point last night we had a delicious lasagna with cherry pie – super delicious!) then the next day I’ll say “Okay, let’s reduce what we’re eating today a little bit”.

Easy right?

Not really. It’s bloody hard to be disciplined and to always be thinking about doing the right thing by your body and what’s important for your health and longevity.

But, what if we had a little trigger. A little jog to the memory, to remind us to keep most of our good habits while on vacation? Some people are just the sort of people who will always eat well and exercise while on holiday. For most of us (I’m putting my own hand up here) we need a reason. A reminder if you will.

That’s why, I’ve introduced the Daily Squat/Push Up/Ab challenge to all my clients. Everyday, on our secret Facebook group, they post if they’ve done it (as do I). On Day 19 it takes me less than 3 minutes to complete this challenge (19 reps). 3 minutes is nothing right?

But what did I do after that? Let me tell you! After the 3 minute challenge, I :

  • Went for a 45 minute walk while listening to my favourite podcasts
  • Did a 15 minute circuit challenge
  • I lay on the grass and had a lovely morning with my family
  • For lunch I had a Kale + tomato + chilli stir fry with an egg.

If I hadn’t done that 3 minute challenge I may not have done those 4 things which added positively to my physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 4.41.56 PM
Squat Challenge made all the more better by the view!

So all my clients who are on their 4-8 weeks vacation, they may not be embarking on an exercise regime. But by doing this squat challenge, I’m hoping that it will be the trigger for them to then adopt some healthier habits while on this break.

And if nothing else, by the end of August (the last day of my group’s challenge) I hope to be stronger in my push ups!

~ Aly

It’s great to hear from you and if you have any questions related to this article, or you just want to find out how I coach women (in person and online too) to be confident about themselves and their bodies then please drop me a message here!

 

 

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This summer, I’m not going to hit the Pause Button

I’m perplexed.

Over the last year, I’ve been wondering why I rarely worked out while on holiday (or as they say in other parts of the world, vacation). Sometimes I start well – I’ll do one workout. Then – nothing. I try to hit my daily steps but apart from that, I won’t do a damn thing.

Of course then I’d return from my holiday to find that I’ve put on those obvious kilo’s. So, why the heck is it so hard to keep exercising while on your holiday?

While I can’t answer for everyone, from my perspective I reckon it’s because when I go on holiday, I give myself permission to chill. To relax, to take it easy. To, let go. To do what I want. To indulge. To – Pause.

But isn’t that the whole problem? The idea that, while we tick all the boxes in our normal life, as soon as there is a hiccup, or a change to routine (such as going on a holiday/vacation), everything just goes haywire and with it, our good habits.

brown fish fillet on white ceramic plate
Does this look like holiday food?

Those habits that have been so important in keeping us on our path to getting to our fitness and health goals. Habits like :

  • Meal prepping on Sundays
  • Taking lunch with us to work
  • Doing our workouts 4-5 times a week like clockwork (or as close as)
  • Keeping to our sleep routine which works.
  • Doing other things that are part of our daily life such as meditating, stretching, foam rolling
  • Not over indulging on the foods that are our triggers to overeat, normally foods that are higher in calories, less nutrient dense, and what we tend to go overboard on.

On holiday it looks more like this :

sea beach holiday vacation
Beach cocktail yum!
  • Screw the wine, let’s hit the pina coladas and other high calorie and high fat cocktails! Because, hey, I’m on holiday.
  • Pancakes for breakfast please. Because, why not, I’m on vacay!
  • Mmm why don’t I have a burger with fries and the trimmings for lunch, because, holiday time!
  • Ooh a cheeky beer at the pool with a bowl of nuts (that magically refill!) because, I don’t normally do this but I’m on a holiday right? Live a little!
  • Ah, dinner – I’m not very hungry at all, but…. I mean… I’m on holiday so let’s have that lobster thermidor!

You see how our minds tell us that it’s okay right?

Before you boo me off the street and accuse me of being a party pooper, let me ask you one question :

Do you return from your vacay, and utter to at least one person “Oh I’ve put on so much weight over the holidays” or a variation of that?

If you do, then perhaps this is something you need to address. Unless of course, you’re happy gaining 1-2kg a year over the next 10 summer holidays? Because most of my clients have lamented at some stage or the other that this is exactly what happens, and that they are unhappy about it.

These same clients work out hard during their normal lives, but when they go away (and typically they are on their summer break for 3-6 weeks) they don’t do diddly squat. Then they return, and start from zero. All over again. All that hard work, poof – gone.

So that’s why this summer, I’ve created a closed Facebook group and I’ve asked my clients to post when they do a workout, or some form of movement. Why have I asked them to do this? Because if you can hide, you will. But when you know your Coach is virtually looking over your shoulder, then you’re more likely to do something. And having the support network of the other people you normally work out with also posting their workouts is a huge boost. They cheer each other on, the post photos of them on holiday doing something, and it’s awesome.

It doesn’t have to be a hard hitting workout. I’ve suggested to clients that instead of trying to Lose weight or Get Stronger, how about they just try to stay exactly where they are. And, instead of committing to 3×1 hour workouts a week, squeeze in 2×10 minute workouts. But these workouts are hard hitting and will do the job of keeping you in a fat burning mode.

Keep it Simple Sista.

There are some simple tricks I have that help me workout.

Err... yeah my husband and I do NOT do this!
Yep, but No, My husband and I do not do this!
  1. I lay my clothes out by my bed the night before and make sure I have all my props ready (yoga mat, resistance band, ear phones)
  2. I work out first thing in the morning
  3. My husband is also committed, and we are both holding each other accountable to our goals.
  4. I work out for a maximum of 30 minutes in order to keep it manageable.

Three simple things. But they are an enormous help.

This summer, I’m in the UK and I’m committed to working out 3x a week while on holiday. And I’ll be posting my own workouts so my clients can see that I’m walking the walk (Or is it walking the talk? I get confused).

And now that I’ve put it out there.. I’d better stick to it eh?? Let’s see what I’ve got to report this time next weekend.

💪🏻 Aly

P/S – In case you arrived to this blog without reading the About page, I’m a pilates/ fitness/ nutrition coach and I coach people online worldwide, as well as in-person in Singapore. If you’d like more info then please just fill in those details below, I’d love to hear from you!

Health

We all want a quick fix

I’ll be the first to admit that if there was a magic pill that I could swallow that would keep me healthy and alive and at my ideal weight and body fat, and to be able to fit into a super slinky dress and my skinny jeans – then sign me up.

Well, perhaps that would have been me 12 months ago. Now, believe it or not, when I work out I actually really … love it! I’ve been working out for as long as I can remember. There wasn’t a time that I can’t remember having my gym bag with me and working out was something I just did, regularly. That was the period of my 20s.

Then when I moved countries from Malaysia to Singapore, I didn’t have a gang to workout with. My boyfriend then (now my husband) didn’t work out at all. He didn’t exercise. He was blessed with great genetics which meant that he never got fat. Apart from a tiny beer belly but even then he was labelled as Slim.

So I got lazy, and let’s just fast forward to having the 2 kids and the weight piled on. But that’s a story for another day. The outcome is something that’s familiar to many women :

  • Get married and look fantastic because we worked out and dieted for the wedding day/dress.
  • Get lazy with spouse, prefer cuddling to working out
  • Have babies and put on weight, bit by bit it piles on.
  • Hit your 40s and suddenly nothing is the same. Nothing works like it used to. You don’t know what’s happened.
  • Scramble about for an exercise regime, diet, cleanse – anything that will get you to lose some of that weight and to not be so jiggly.

Then if you’re successful enough to achieve that goal, what happens next? Back to normal? Get those same old habits again? Then perhaps the weight comes back on, and maybe you even get a few extra kilo’s added on for good measure?

That was my story.

After the whole cancer thing, I put on 16 kg. I was in early menopause, I wasn’t producing any estrogen. I felt wrecked from the surgeries and a little bit depressed. My weight increased steadily, and I hit the peak after the summer holidays in the UK in July 2017.

I made a pact with husband (who by now was a regular in the weight room).

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

“Let’s say, by next summer, we will have achieved our goal”.

He has.

And I’m two thirds of the way there. I started at 66 kg, and now I’m 56 kg. My goal was to get to 52 kg.

Although I’m not too fussy about getting to that number. What I want more than anything, is to develop my strength, and get an extremely strong, healthy, fit body that I’ll think “damn girl! You got def-a-ni-shun! (Definition)”. So it’s irrelevant if I get to 52 kg.

But more than anything? I don’t want the weight to come back. Can you imagine all that weight lost only to come back again? So this past year I’ve been working on changing my habits. To make sure that when I’m on my next holiday (which incidentally is coming up in a fortnight) that I don’t get tucked into the cornish pasties, the devon cream teas, and the home made cakes and find myself waddling off the plane – again.

What I have achieved over the last 12 months, and what I’ve done to get there, can’t be a quick fix.

I can’t go back to my old ways.

I can’t take my foot off the pedal.

action active activity adult
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

I have to keep going. And keep exercising. And keep getting stronger. More flexible. Keep my mental health and stress levels down.

Because I do not want to yo-yo back up to that weight. I do not want to be in pain when I walk. I do not want to struggle to scratch my head.

These days, when I walk past an elderly person who needs assistance to walk, to get up off the sofa I think I do not want to be like that. When I’m a granny, I want to be able to run with my grandkids, and to pick them up without wincing, and to be able to travel and do everything I used to.

The body will get older, there may be less things it can do. But if we want to live a great amazing full life well into our twilight years, it’s important to make exercise and eating well for your body an absolute integral part of your life.

It’s so easy to make excuses and to take the easy route of not exercising, and of eating convenience foods that aren’t great for our bodies. So every day, it has to be a conscious decision to move and eat well.

There is no quick fix. There is only what you do daily, every day, for the rest of your life. If I can help my lovely clients come to that realisation, then I would have done my job.

A healthy life isn’t a quick fix. It’s the long haul.