These workouts and nutrient-rich foods will help you get into tip-top shape in 2018.
1. Cycle to fitness
Indoor cycling isn’t new in Singapore but going by the many classes available in gyms both big and small, it has taken off in a big way with the #fitspo crowd.
The newest cycling studio to open is Absolute Cycle, which originates from Thailand.
Its classes are rhythm cycling-based, where music is the essence of each session, controlling the tempo, motion and speed of the class.
Each session, which is 45 minutes long, features 11 songs with specific beats per minute for each music track in a routine that trains different muscle groups and switches between fat burn, endurance, metabolic conditioning and high intensity interval training. Riders can expect to burn from 500 to 800 calories in one session.
It’s not just peddling the entire session. Riders are expected to “dance” on their bikes, such as doing a push-up while cycling.
Apart from burning calories, other benefits of rhythm cycling include weight and body fat loss if done regularly and in combination with a healthy diet. In the long run, it also helps lower the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as overall resting heart rate. During a session, the heart rate is raised and lowered in a way that builds endurance and increases metabolism, and improves overall fitness levels.
Rhythm cycling optimises the body’s largest muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves as well as abdominal and lower back muscles, for overall body strengthening.
Benjaporn Karoonkornsakul, founder & CEO of Absolute You says: “Our classes centre around unique playlists that cover EDM, house, hip-hop and choreographed movements that will make you feel like you’re dancing on a bike. It’s a workout experience where you not only sweat, have fun but also get updated on the latest hits at the same time.”
Absolute Cycle Singapore is at OUE Downtown Gallery #02-01. Prices start from S$45 per session. To book, visit absolutecyclesingapore.com.
2. Go meatless
Giving up meat is a tough decision, but the meat-free Quorn’s purported health benefits may make it easier to make the switch.
It’s new in Singapore, but Quorn has been in the UK since 1985, and can also be found in the US, Switzerland, the Philippines and Thailand.
Quorn is high in protein and fibre, low in saturated fat, contains essential amino acids and is cholesterol and soya-free. Its main ingredient is Mycoprotein, a dough-like substance produced by fermenting a nutritious fungus that is naturally occurring in soil.
Mycoprotein has also been clinically proven to reduce blood cholesterol, and helps to manage diabetes because of its ability to lower blood glucose and insulin levels.
Consuming Quorn is said to not only be good for the body, but for the environment as well. Mycoprotein requires less land and water, therefore producing far less carbon emissions than animal protein production.
Quorn is available in frozen varieties such as Mince, Pieces, Crispy Nuggets, Swedish Style Meat Balls, and Garlic and Mushroom Escalopes. The range available in Singapore contains a small amount of egg white or milk ingredients. The two vegan options are Vegan Hot & Spicy Burgers and Vegan Breaded Fillets.
The frozen food can be cooked on the stove, oven, grill or in an air-fryer without defrosting. The baked nuggets taste like those from McDonald’s but without the grease, while the mince when cooked in a tomato sauce, can almost pass off for bolognese.
Unlike other mock meats which may have a strong gluten taste, Quorn products have no distinct aftertaste, and have the taste, appearance and texture of meat.
Quorn is available from RedMart and FairPrice Xtra outlets, from S$5 a pack.
3. Work out at an innovative gym
For some of us, exercise means walking up and down Orchard Road, popping into the shops and lifting heavy shopping bags.
Real fitness buffs, however, can first hit the new Pure Fitness Ngee Ann City, then the stores for some new workout gear, or vice-versa.
The 28,000 sq ft gym is massive, and comes with several new features that are not available at its other outlets in the financial district.
The first is the Innovation Lab, the hub of all tech, functional and fun stuff, where members get access to the latest fitness innovations and provide feedback that will determine if that equipment stays in the gym.
For example, members can try out special bikes that feature virtual reality programmes. Don a pair of VR goggles and peddle away. Each programme is designed like a game, with each pedal stroke used to operate a car, tank, or even a horse.
It is no secret that when an exercise is fun, users keep at it longer. But it is not just fun and games. The cycling programmes also capture useful data such as pedal speed and active heart rate.
Another new feature is the 270° Immersive Fitness studio, where indoor cycling classes are held. Images of glaciers, space age cities and sunsets are projected on a 270 degree screen, providing a fully immersive sensory journey while you pedal away.
Vikram Natarajan, Singapore country director at Pure Group says: “You can introduce this immersion into your regular gym routine to break the monotony and burn more calories.”
Other features at the Ngee Ann City studio include a 30m sprint track, a dedicated boxing area, a strongman area with full equipment such as Indian clubs and kettlebells, an Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting platforms, and an expansive athletic turf with sport bleachers.
Pure Fitness Ngee Ann City is at level 8, Ngee Ann City Podium Block. Membership fees from S$50 per visit. Visit pure-fitness.com
4. Eat healthy on the go
What happens when you are too busy to grab a proper meal? Do you reach for instant noodles, a coffee, or totally skip it?
Alvin Chong wants to offer a better alternative with Lembas, a meal-replacement powder. He values efficiency and doesn’t like having to interrupt his online skating training by stopping for a meal.
His search for a quick-meal solution led him to Soylent, a product that claims to contain all the nutrients in a full meal. It was a godsend to Mr Chong, but the downside was the long six to nine months order waiting time, and that it could only be shipped within the US.
Since the Soylent recipe was made online, Mr Chong tried making it himself with store-bought ingredients – it was a disaster.
Undeterred, and with no formal nutrition background, he set out to create his own version. He enlisted the help of a nutritionist friend and a food scientist and subsequently, found manufacturers with in-house R&D teams who made sure that Lembas met industry standards. It took him three years and S$70,000 to get the recipe right.
Mr Chong calls his product Lembas, after the Elven bread from Lord of the Rings. Its ingredients include soybean powder, maltodextrin, oat powder, coconut creamer, mineral and vitamin mix, vanilla, stevia, and sucralose. Mix it with cold water and it tastes like iced Horlicks. Some people even add cocoa or flavoured protein powder to it.
A 125g serving mixed with water provides 521 calories, 80.3g carbohydrates, 19g protein and 15.6g fat. “The point of our product is to provide a full meal in one drink. All the macro and micronutrients you need no more, no less,” says Mr Chong. Eventually, he hopes to have ready-to-drink bottles stocked in accessible locations.
“So whenever you are hungry, simply pop into a supermarket, chug down Lembas and be on your way in two minutes, knowing that all your nutritional needs are taken care of,” says Mr Chong. “What fast food can offer that?”
Lembas is available at lembas.sg, at S$24 per pack.
A version of this story first appeared in The Business Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline, ‘New Year, New You’.