Let me cut the chase.
One very important reason why Singaporeans should start lifting weights is because of our food. In a recent article by Seth Lui, he listed out 30 Famous Local Foods To Eat In Singapore Before You Die and I would have to absolutely agree to all of them. Singapore is a foodie heaven. It’s a culture. It’s not Singapore without food.
Of course as a personal trainer who lives and breathe fitness, I start to think about how we can actually stay healthy AND still enjoy all these foods. I love our local food. It’s unique and absolutely amazing especially those 1am pratas. But I love my fitness too. And striking a balance between this two is good for your soul.
Although there are so many fitness articles out there that explains why we should all lift weights, and yes I do appreciate them, there’s not one that expresses the uniqueness that is us. And I feel that only a local can truly express the reason why we Singaporeans should lift weights.
So here’s to us Singaporeans. It doesn’t matter if you have access to a gym or not. Buy a few dumbbells. Hit your local ClubFITT gym. It’s only $2.50 lah. And start lifting weights. We owe it to our health. Why? Because we’ve got awesome food. Plus another 17 absolutely unique reasons below.
1. Because running events is the in thing now.
Standard Chartered Marathon. Sundown. SHAPE Run. Adidas King of The Road. Zombie Run. The list goes on. And it’s extremely fun to participate in all of ’em! What about running for a purpose instead of just running for fun? Possible, but yes it does require training. Not just on the road/treadmill kind of training, but the ones that sees you in the weights room. Lifting weights strengthen your muscles and joints to do better in those runs. You probably won’t be as fast as those African runners, but completing a 42.195km will be more bearable if you add in weights to your repertoire. Trust me on this.
2. Because everyone just seems to want to lose fat around their stomach.
Ah abdominal fat. Truly one of the trouble areas in Singaporeans isn’t it? Lifting weights targets your intra-abdominal fats, also known as your deep abdominal fats, more than cardio does. Good news? Totally. Bad news? You won’t lose it if you keep training on the elliptical or bike.
3. Because you’re increasing your chances of getting $400 for your IPPT.
Lifting weights gets you stronger and fitter. It increases your chances of getting a gold for IPPT. And it makes you $400 richer. ‘Nuff said.
4. Because you can look much better in a smaller (Asian) clothes size.
Let’s get this straight, Asians clothes size are generally one smaller. If you are trying to fit into your clothes better, the weights room is where you’ve got to go instead of the cardio deck. Why? Because about 500 grams of fat takes up to 18% more space in our body than muscle. So even if you weigh the same after six weeks of resistance training, you will generally find your clothes fit better.
5. Because it’s more fun than drinking Herbalife.
Forget Herbalife, hit some dumbbells if you want to shape up for your bestie’s wedding. If you do circuit training with weights, something I am a big fan of, your heart rate goes up at least 15 beats per minute higher than just running at 60% your maximum heart rate. Increased heart rate = increased calorie burn = faster results. Plus, it’s way more sustainable.
6. Because MRT trains are just so crazy packed ALL THE TIME.
Lifting weights make you more flexible. Now how does this puts you at an advantage? Imagine doing a shivasana or a child’s pose in the train! Or not. Seriously though, lifting weights activates lots of muscles in your body, compared to just running where you’re only really using one plane of body movement. You’ll find yourself squeezing in that packed train easier than ever. If you can’t beat ’em, you join ’em.
7. Because we’re growing to become a fast ageing nation.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes thinning and weakening of bones, making it more susceptible to fractures. Women over 50 are more at risk compared to their male or younger couterparts and according to population.sg, the number of elderly citizens in Singapore will triple to 900,000 by 2030. More elderly citizens = more risk of breaking bones? Possibly, unless you start training with weights. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology resistance training increased subjects’ hip bone density, and elevated their blood levels of osteocalcin by 19 percent. Better help Ah Ma and Ah Pa with that hey?
8. Because it’s hard to say no to satay at supper.
Resistance training helps you control your cravings. Supper is such a social event in Singapore. It’s fun, but boy it’s massively unhealthy. If you’re finding it hard to say no to satay at 1am, try adding some weights to your training. It makes a difference, trust me. You’ll be much more empowered to just stick to having plain kopi instead of ordering 1 kosong and 1 cheese and mushroom prata.
9. Because having a record in your employee file with no sick leaves recorded is awesome.
Taking MC is a burden. It’s a hassle, you’ve got to pay to see the doctor or if you’ve got employee benefits, the queue is ALWAYS long (Yep, I’m talking about you too Polyclinics…). Lifting weights is a natural immune booster. Lifting weights also fights fat that causes diabetes, and it also improves your sensitivity to insulin and it’s much cooler than swallowing those tiny yellow pills that leave your nose all icky and yucky.
10. Because living in Singapore can be stressful.
Lifting weights lowers stress rates. Work stress. Family stress. TRAFFIC JAM STRESS. Oh my god. Don’t get me started on traffic jams. But yes. Resistance training. Endorphins. Happy days. Period.
11. Because cancer is our nation’s biggest killer, and you don’t want that.
According to the National Health Survey 2010, cancer remains the biggest killer in our country. All of us has cancer cells in our body and although no cure is currently available for this serial killer, there are always things you can do in your life to lower your risk of getting it. All we need is 3 resistance training sessions a week for six months and that is enough to lower the damages on our oxidative cells, according to a study by the University of Florida.
12. Because Singapore would be a much pleasant place to be in if everyone smiles more.
Lifting weights lifts your mood. And I really think all of us Singaporeans can do better if everyone smiles more. Go ahead, smile to that guy on the bus. Or your neighbour in the lift. It is not creepy.
13. Because you have to finish up that report which is due at 12pm today. And you want to be your boss’s best friend.
Your boss will love you more than he does his Saturday golf buddies. Resistance training has shown to make a typical office worker 15% more productive on their training days. Which could possibly land you a raise. And a big fat 13-month bonus at the end of the year. Why not?
14. Because we can actually live up to 82 years.
According to the Ministry of Health, life expectancy at birth of Singaporeans has gone up to 82 years of age in 2011. That’s A LOT OF YEARS. But! There’s a difference on whether you want to spend those years free of diseases or sick and frail. I’d choose the former any day. So… lift weights.
15. Because drinking Brands Essence of Chicken for your A-Levels sucks.
I remember drinking one of those in my lower secondary school years and are they like the most horrible thing ever or what? I wish I’d have known that lifting weights can improve my cognitive functions earlier in my school years. I’d probably would have made it to medical school. On a serious note however, resistance training can lead to better short and long term memory, improved verbal reasoning and longer attention span according to a Brazilian study.
16. Because everybody works shifts.
At least half of my friends works shifts. And they work long… insane… hours. Good news though! Lifting weights helps to regulate the circadian rhythms of our body, helping us to adjust to time changes better. Hurrah to my favourite nurses, midwives, police, paramedics, security guards, doctors and radiographers! (Sorry if I miss any…)
17. Because you want to have bragging rights over people who don’t lift weights/take supplements/go for slimming wraps.
It’s big in Singapore isn’t it? There’s always an ad somewhere for one of these get skinny quick thingy. But honestly, would you rather look skinny or toned and defined? I’ll leave you to choose.
And yes, I do miss you Singapore.
Why else do you think we should lift weights? Drop me a comment below if you like this article. Let me know too if you want a beginner’s weight lifting training plan or nutrition plan from me! I’ll be happy to post it up! :)
P.s. I am looking for 15 Singaporeans who want to be my beta testers for a new online training and nutrition program I’m building. If you are or you know anyone who is interested to test drive for FREE, pretty please email me or tell them to say hi to me at email@example.com.
images: AsiaOne, my stock pictures.
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