How to start getting fit and STAY fit (Part 1) Posted by: | June 8, 2014

It has been a productive Sunday for me. I woke up at 8am, had a healthy breakfast with muesli and fruits, and got to gym by 9am. Did Bodyjam dancing cardio and Bodypump weightlifting cardio classes back to back. Then rushed to buy ingredients to cook lunch for my parents. I made Yaki Udon – leaving some extra for my pre-flight meal before I fly off in the evening to Hong Kong! Here is a glimpse of that delicious Yaki Udon (easy, just stir fry sliced pork belly, veggie, mushroom – all season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir fry the udon noodles with dashi powder and tonkatsu sauce, and in the end toss everything together, season to taste!): 
That is how I spend my only day off of the week. Some of you might think Sundays are for sleeping, but for me, it is the day to exercise big time, and cook a delicious meal, spend time with family, and THEN you can catch that little nap that you deserve!
You all know how busy I am running my two businesses (Kitchen Art and the KAfe) and seemingly have zero time for any after-work activity. Yet lately I have been getting compliments everywhere for my healthier and leaner look. I also find myself more energetic to be my best at work and giving my staff the attention and energy that they deserve. All that, thanks to exercising! The benefits of exercising are endless, including great skin, healthy glow without make up, great mood, alert mind and of course a tight body! We all know that, but where do we even find time to exercise in this busy, fast-paced life?? Amazingly, I did. And I am about to tell you how…
I am in no way a fitness pro or possess a model-like body. I have joined and left gyms many times in the last decade with little impact seen on my body. But now for the first time in my life, I have been regularly exercising (and enjoying it!), going to gym for the past 7 months and feeling better than ever! At the same time, I am seeing my body getting tighter and tighter, so this tells me I am on the right track! So what am I doing differently this time? I guess the most important thing about exercising is sticking to your routine (no matter what it is as long as it works for you) and staying high spirited throughout the process to maintain committed without too much energy spent on disciplining yourself or maintaining will power (believe it or not, even will power takes up energy!). It is as much physically challenging as it is mentally, so take care of both your body and soul while you are shaping up. After 7 months of trial and error, I have now gathered 15 sure-win techniques to help you find your own fitness routine that you can actually commit to.
 My usual pre-workout selfie to keep track of my body shape and hopefully also make others feel like exercising!
Today I will be sharing the first 8 tips with you, and save the remaining 7 for next week ;) Now this may be a no-brainer for fitness junkies who hit the gym every other day, but I am writing this entry for those couch potatoes hiding at home out there thinking they will never get fit! 
  1. It’s all about you: First of all, tell yourself that you are working out for nobody but yourself. That it is a reward you are giving yourself for your hard work at the office or at home. This is a self indulging activity and also the best way to clock up your “me time” hours. Once you believe that exercising is a rewarding activity, rather than a chore, you will be much more likely to stick to it because it makes you happy. 
  2. Find your “sweet spot”: Try all kinds of exercises to find your favourite type: be it spinning, combat, kickboxing, running, zumba, weights, yoga, pilates… The type of exercise that requires the least “will power” to repeat, is what you should pursue regularly, at least twice a week! I have tried virtually all sorts of exercises and my favourite has got to be dancing. I do Bodyjam or Zumba twice a week now, in between my heavy muscle training sessions. It keeps me moving with joy, while still breaking buckets of sweat and burning those calories! 
  3. Get social: I prefer working out in groups to loud energetic music so I am a total studio junkie! Name any class, and I have done it. My favorite classes are Zumba, Bodyjam, Bodycombat, Bodypump and Spinning. If you are likely to get lazy (like me), I suggest you stick to group exercises because those ladies in class are going to complement you if you lose weight or ask you why you skipped class. It definitely worked on me!
  4. No pain no gain: Mix your favourite cardio exercise with 1 or 2 sessions per week of “painful” muscle training (e.g. weights or body-weight work out) to balance out the fun with the hard work. The muscles you gain from these exercises will help you burn more fat during the “fun” cardio sessions (e.g. Zumba or Bodyjam)
  5. It’s a date! Schedule your work out sessions from the beginning of every week, and add them into your calendar like any other appointment. It will help you commit to it and avoid clashing it with your personal appointments like that last minute dinner with your best friend.
  6. There’s always a happy ending: Schedule your heaviest workout session on a day you can rest afterwards, e.g. Sunday for me. Also give yourself a big reward at the end of the week if you completed all your work out sessions in your calendar, be it your favorite dish, or in my case, a Scandal or Glee Marathon couch potato session! 
  7. It’s all about timing: Morning work out is better than evening as you have more energy to do the exercises with joy and power. After a long working day, our energy level and will power are both low, and hence you are more likely to skip your work out, or feel too tired to carry it out properly. If you can’t be excused from work in the morning, try lunch break work out. Have a big nutritious breakfast, and a small snack (a fruit or a muesli bar) before noon and have lunch after the work out by 2pm. It will taste like the best thing ever. It helps to have a gym near your office too!
  8. Make fit friends: Get to know your gym or class instructors. They will give you great tips and keep you motivated. They will also make u feel bad for leaving their class early or not showing up for gym. I know my instructor would make noise if I don’t come to her classes every week! In return, you will make their job more fun too, because nobody wants to teach strangers class after class! 
 Me and my fit friends: Bodyjam classmates and my lovely instructor Linh!
Do my tips work for you? If they do (or don’t), let me know in the comments below and stay tuned to Part 2 next week! The fact that you read this post is already flattering to me as I would have never considered myself worthy of giving advice in fitness. But this shows that anyone can make their fitness goal come true, and I hope my tips help you get there a little bit easier, as I continue to pursue mine. Remember, we are all a work in progress. Keep exercising!  
Chi Anh


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