Keep – Getting Fitter

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Keep is a new fitness app that I discovered these couple of days. It’s something like Freeletics but it’s free. Of course it’s not as sophisticated like Freeletics where you have ‘coaches’ and stuff, but there are training programs that you can follow based on your preferences like your fitness level, objectives etc.

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So for my current workout, I’m choosing a 2 week program for fat burn. It’s a training program where they ramp up progressively and eventually end up with a full blown HIIT routine so push the heart rate.

In all the routines, they provide videos / pictures / instructions on each exercise. Download is quite slow so it’s better to start downloading the videos way in advance. The ideal way is of course to have it download as you are working out. They have this workout mode where there is a timer and voice prompts to guide you through the exercises.

I have finished 2 days of training. Because it’s structured by professionals, it’s a full body workout.  Now I feel like I’m back in my BMT days, you know, like those days when you have problem lifting your arms to take off your t-shirt.

Of course, you will still need a certain level of discipline to follow through the routine. To tackle that, let the vain / ego / pride factor take over. i.e. start sharing on social media so that the whole world knows that you are working out, so you will have no choice but to follow through and complete the routines. Lol!

Apps these days have a strong social element to it. Other than sharing, this app lets you see other people’s routine and there’s function to see if there are people working out nearby. For the adventurous folks, you could organise a neighbourhood training session or something. Group training can get very useful when workouts gets tough.

The app is still rudimentary. For now it’s just a timer and voice guidance. I hope they can improve the app by incorporating features like heart rate monitoring and integration with Apple Health or the Android equivalent. That certainly will help to optimise the workouts. For now, it’s good enough for me. Let’s see what I can achieve after the 14 days.

There another caveat for some folks though. The app is from China, so it’s in Chinese, the interface, voice guidance. So another 1 of the improvement might be to support internationalisation.

I’m Not Working Out To Lose Weight

Yes. Losing weight is not the main objective but rather a by-product.  There are a few reasons why I’m stepping up my workouts.

1. I’m trying to improve my cardiovascular health. I realise that I get breathless from just climbing short flight of stairs. This is going to get worse if I don’t exercise my heart.

2. I’m exercising to relieve stress. Work and stuff can be quite a handful to handle at time. A 20 – 30 mins run somehow gives relief to the stress and all nonsense pent up in the mind and chest.

3. Maintaining mental alertness and agility. As part of aging, mental and physiological functions starts to slow down. I’m getting close to 40 so things are still not very evident yet, but let’s not wait till then.

4. I have a condition that upsets the balance of my posture, so exercising helps to build muscles and counter the problem. Without doing the right exercises, I get recurring sprained back and this is going to get worse as I get older.

5. Overall fitness, well being and longevity. I have my loved ones to take care of. Illness is best prevented.

So while I’m getting leaner as I push on with my routines, the end target is not the six pack or the marathon etc. I might eventually get there (marathon more likely, six….don’t think so. Lol!), but those are by products.

Meanwhile, I still enjoy my favourite food. As long as my health is not compromised, I don’t really need care about the calories. That said, the body and mnd are 2 strange mechanisms. Somehow I’m instinctively rejecting certain food when I take a walk in the hawker centre or when I munch on the Chinese New Year snacks. For some reason, the palate has been altered by the recent exercises.

But this…I definitely can’t resist.

Good for the stomach, bad for the heart. Stomach wins! Lol! #yummyfood

A photo posted by Hong Chuan (@hongchuan) on

 

My Newbie HIIT Routine

HIIT stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training’. It’s a short burst of exercises that pushes your heart rate sky high and guranteed to burn fats. The problem is that for an unfit person, doing HIIT is very discouraging. The “manual” says you need to do 8 sets of of 4 mins interval. I can assure you – If you just got started on working out, you can’t even make it through the first 2 minutes. That’s from experience.

So, I got down to tailoring the HIIT for me aka newbie. I got some really good ideas from DareBee.com and tailored them for my own routine. The key objective was to work upper limbs, abdomen and then legs. Go for bigger movements that work more muscles, i.e let more muscles share the load rather than focusing on a small group. I narrowed down everything to 3 exercises.

  1. Shoulder Tap
  2. Sitting Twists
  3. High Knees

All the exercises and workouts from Darebee has 3 levels, starting from 6 reps to 20 reps or more. Technically HIIT goes by timing, but I went with reps first, but limiting my rest between each set to 30 – 60 secs to keep the heart rate going. The routine is X reps of each exercise continuously, rest and repeat. The target is to finish 5 sets x 20 reps of each exercise.

I started off with 6 reps and found it too easy for me. I went for 12 reps and thought that works for me. On my first attempt, I did 3 sets of 12 reps. This is a newbie, unambitious start, considering my level of fitness and my back issues. I didn’t really keep record of my progress over the last few months, but by now I’m doing 20 reps, 5 sets comfortably. One very important thing to note is that, this whole routine takes me less than 20 mins to complete. Including warm up, it shouldn’t take more than 30 mins. So it’s really just 30 mins of your time every other day. So having no time is really just a bad excuse. :)

Result wise, I shared it in my last post. Small incremental, realistic steps and progress.

 

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