Friday, March 18, 2011


The response to Season 2 of our Core Strength Bootcamp has been awesome, and we are officially closing it off for this round! Any new applicants will be placed on a waiting list for Season 3.

Week 1 is just ending now. We're really happy with the effort put in by the Bootcampers, and we're also really impressed by their commitment!

One of our Bootcampers is Sharon, a journalist with the Star. Check out her take on the Bootcamp, published in today's issue of the Star (Sarawak Edition)!


Friday March 18, 2011

Keeping fit is no walk in the park

THIS week I’m starting a fitness boot camp programme which will last three months. I’m doing this not because I want to lose weight — in fact, if I shed several kilogrammes there wouldn’t be much left of me! Rather, I signed up because I really want to improve my fitness, strength and stamina.
I was impressed by some spectacular results I saw among the first group of participants who joined a pilot boot camp at the end of last year. One of my friends achieved her goal of having a flat tummy without having to suck it in. I immediately thought, “That’s what I want, too!”
Another friend lost about 5kg and looks considerably leaner and fitter.
Throughout the boot camp, I’ll have to attend at least two core-strength fitness classes a week. I’ve already been going to this class once a week, which got me into some shape, but I’m still quite unfit.
For instance, I can’t do a cardio (aerobic) warm-up of running, skipping and hopping several times around the gym without huffing and puffing and wanting to collapse in a heap.
So that’s one of my goals for the boot camp - to build up my stamina until the cardio warm-up becomes comfortable. This should come in useful for running around after politicians in the state election!
Cardio exercises aren’t the only things we do in core-strength classes. We do all kinds of things with funky names like Atomic Crunch, Tigerman and Mountain Runner, but believe me, they can be pretty tough on the legs, arms, shoulders and abdominal muscles.
The good thing is that you do a complete workout, exercising every part of your body, so you don’t just bulk up in the shoulders or upper arms.
What’s great about this boot camp, though, is that it isn’t just about putting yourself through a gruelling exercise regime. There’s also an emphasis on a good diet - eating healthy food in the right amounts and changing unhealthy eating habits. Getting fit is about having a healthy lifestyle, so it makes sense to watch our food intake while exercising regularly.
So we’re encouraged to keep track of what we’re eating as well as how we feel before and after each meal. This is because, according to the programme facilitators, some people eat more when they’re stressed, unhappy or plain bored.
Others might find themselves consuming more food than usual when they’re with friends or when they’re alone. By taking note of this, we’ll be able to see whether our eating habits are associated with certain moods or emotions, and make the necessary adjustments.
We’re also encouraged to make conscious decisions to eat healthy meals with plenty of vegetables and fruit. At the same time, we’ll be cutting down or eliminating junk food, which includes chocolate, alas. Perhaps I can treat myself to a bit of chocolate after a particularly tough workout or an exceptionally healthy meal.
In addition, the boot camp participants act as a support group for one another. It’s a lot harder to keep up an exercise routine or maintain a healthy diet if you had to do it on your own. I know I wouldn’t last very long, especially when it comes to exercise. Jogging or doing push-ups by myself? I’d give up after 10 minutes.
Exercising together with other people will definitely motivate me to keep going till the end. The kiasu factor also comes in useful in exercise classes - if this kid or that person’s mother can do it, I can do it too!
Having a support group is important when you want to achieve personal goals towards self-improvement. It becomes easier when you have friends and family members who will cheer you on, encourage you, believe in you and give you moral support.
Imagine if your friends tease you every time you reach for vegetables or a piece of fruit, or snicker when you say you want a slim waist. How discouraging would that be!
So to the nay-sayers, don’t laugh if someone you know wants to break bad habits and change to a healthier way of living. Support them instead, or better yet, join them!
Finally, the plan is to have fun in this boot camp. This isn’t like The Biggest Loser reality show, where the contestants often end up suffering and crying. We may ache after a core-strength class, but it’s fun all the same because there’s variety in the exercises and plenty of encouragement from one another.
So I’m looking forward to the rest of the boot camp and having positive results to show at the end of it.

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