Rambling #1 – Fitness Training – Train with a Purpose

Training starts again – Breaking into my new boots by trekking the treadmill

Spurred by the “New Year, New Me” hype all over the place, I thought I’d capitalize on the new energy & motivation by starting with physical fitness training as my 1st post. Many of you have asked me “how did I complete my recent impromptu Nepal expedition (3 Peaks – 6000m summits, >200km, >13000m eV) & a year in advance vs my target?! Have I been training all this while?”

To be honest, there was nothing extraordinary that I did or could do in preparation when I made the decision to pack up & go in less than a month. Exercise is food for my body, mind & soul. When I prioritize working out, I generally feel better, more energetic & happier. I could work more, play more & am guilt-free in any of my indulgences of alcohol, chocolate, ice cream & Mag’s to die-for chocolate mousse. Don’t you think, life is GREAT when you have a huge capacity to do the things you love doing & can EAT ALL YOU WANT sometimes! Cultivating healthy eating preferences & habit is another topic but the key thing is to have positive habits & mindset!

Just like in life & everything I do, I like to keep my workout routine simple & realistic. I have cultivated a ruthless behaviour on cutting my own bullshit long time ago ever since my tennis days as a kid. Today, I go after consistency, discipline & being purposeful in all the activities I’m involved given I have a demanding corporate job & have to split my love between the ocean, the mountains, family & friends.

So here are my top 3 tips to start with depending on what you want to achieve… Simply get fit or to climb mountains?

Tip #1 – Cut the Bullshit (including Procrastination) – When I say bullshit, I mean creating excuses for not doing what you can & should be doing or worse still cheat upon yourself by creating a self-delusion that you did it but in fact, not performing optimally. For instance, if I say I ran 10km this morning but I did it in 2hrs? Haha.. that’s neither running nor training for me, darling!! If my heart is not racing, my muscles aren’t aching, then I’m not working hard enough. If they hurt too much, then I’m overdoing it. Furthermore, no one ever feels bad after exercising! You know what I mean…  😊

Tip #2 – Keep it simple! – What’s your existing resource & capability? Most of us in Singapore have access to free gyms in condos, beautiful tropical weather all year round, live in a high rise building if not work in one! Mostly, all FREE & CONVENIENT. You don’t need expensive gym memberships or go to MacRitchie (highest peak in Singapore) every day to get fit or train to climb mountains!! I personally never did any of that & have always made use with whatever I have – hotel gyms, condo gyms, the outdoors & the stairs. I have never spent a single penny on any fancy pancy diet programs or corporate subsidized gym memberships nor have I been to MacRitchie even once over the past 5 years. I’d rather spend my money on flights, invest in good gear, eat good food & drink fine wine. So just put on your shoes & go running like Forest Gump or load up your backpack with weights or packs of rice (1kg, 2kg, 5kg?) & climb the stairs or trek the treadmill at max incline a few times a week for a few hours. If you choose to trek the treadmill, you can even watch TV & stay in the aircon! Seriously, this is how people train for Everest, too! Remember, most of it is FREE & CONVENIENT! It’s up to you!

Tip #3 – Acknowledge your feelings – I’ve learned to acknowledge my feelings & the circumstances of each day. Sometimes I feel super duper, sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I’m just simply exhausted… It’s ALL OK. Not performing 100% at every training session or missing 3 out of 10 training sessions because of last minute conference calls is no big deal. Most importantly, try again & keep going! Overall, I’ll still be on-track to where I want to be as long as I recognize these interruptions or distractions are happening NOT because of my own bullshit! My AHA! moment that I should learn to recognize my feelings was when I realized the angrier I am, the better tennis I play & occasionally, I break my own running record, too! Regardless of whether you track your progress or not, you’ll see immediate results if you learn to listen to your body & consistently keep up your efforts without any bullshit! 😊

Conclusion, learn about yourself, listen to your body & identify your motivation, then make it a priority & just do it! It’s that simple! This is my personal formula that hasn’t evolved much & always worked for me since childhood where I would ensure I don’t slack in school & always complete my homework on time so I have more time to train my fitness & play better tennis till I got to National level! Today, 15 years later, I’ve replaced school with corporate life, then replaced tennis, swimming & fishing with sailing, mountaineering & the occasional trail running.

So here is a sneak-peak of my training plan for 2019, not for peak performance but just general fitness maintenance since I’m starting my climbing gym sessions in Singapore & Alpine Mountaineering Course in New Zealand soon. Simply think of your body like a car that requires fuel, maintenance & some TLC, then depending on what you want to achieve, rev up your engine (your heart) & shift your gears accordingly. I tweak my activities, the level of intensity, frequency & duration depending on my purpose of training but never forget, resting & recovery is part of training, too.

MonClimbing gym
Tue Weights + Trek the Treadmill
WedFree running
ThuREST – Work / Conference Calls
FriInterval training + Trek the Treadmill
Sat Sailing Day
SunSailing Day

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