Time to Trim the Fat

Cover Story

By Joanna Gough

Fitness and Wellness, noted as one of the largest growing trends in the world today, has insinuated itself into the lifestyles of the not so rich and famous. Previously considered a subculture, it has now evolved into a trillion dollar industry. The integration of Wellness has taken a life of its own, to a level that is easily accessible to all lifestyles of every level of society.

The festivities of Chinese New Year have ended and it’s now time to ‘Trim the Fats’ of Ipoh!! Wellness trends of the year 2015 are highly entertaining. They focus on using one’s own body weight rather than equipment.  Of course as Ipohites, we can always head over to our hot springs and have a wonderful sauna. But because of the festivities and each having its glorious foods, reinforcements need to be brought in. Here at Ipoh Echo we took the liberty to go through the best workout programmes that we think would give you great results for you to shed those unwanted kilos.

Ongoing “Battle of the Bulge”, Free, Paid or at Home

In Malaysia, the battle of the bulge takes on epic proportions as we are known as a food haven. Now increasingly being used as a lure for tourists, we strive even harder to produce the best culinary delights to tempt tourist taste buds. Along the way our taste buds are equally tempted and we have also become the most obese nation in Southeast Asia. A victim of our own success. In the olden days, this would be called a sign of prosperity. Today it is a sign of a rise in diabetes and complacency of life.

Help is at hand in the form of self-help. It can be in the form of  juicing, like taking a simple Granny Smith apple, and turning it into alchemy as we allow all the enzymes in the juice to work its magic in our bodies. That’s wellness.

Other forms of easily available fitness routines abound. Our first stop was Polo Ground. If you have been sluggishly living as a couch potato for years, walks in Polo Ground is a great way to attune the body with movement. It’s easy enough that nothing gets strained and it is FREE.

Exercise 101

MOTIVATION is the key to any form of exercise. In the experience of walking at Polo Ground, the motivation depends on the time we go there. Ipoh Echo chose four different times – 7am, 3.30pm, 5pm and a Saturday evening to go there. Here is what we observed.

7am:  Fresh air and sunshine greets you with happy laughter and people enjoying the morning by starting their day bright and positive. Walking at 7am is a great way to start the day but after warming up for 15 minutes, it gets tougher. Everyone’s in your way. And as you pass the path nearest to the main road, you see so many happy seniors sitting around and laughing. It makes you want to stop running, sit down and laugh out loud (lol) with them too. . . And once you sit, you would want a cup of coffee and so you go home.

5pm:  You’re fully emerged into your State of Trance beats, the adrenaline is pumping, your heart rate is up, leg muscles are screaming…and then the aroma of fish and laksa fills the air. HUNGRY!!!!! As though the sole purpose of the many mouthwatering carts by the roadside is to tempt you to stop.

Saturday Evening:  Unless you love children or love other people’s children, be warned that you might be hit with a frisbee and be banged in the shins by mini scooters.

3.30pm:  By far the best time to run, if you’re an adult. Unsure of the days, but 3.30pm is where the firemen come out to play! Hot tight abs and glutes to show off. Biceps that wear the clothes of tight fitting polyester orange tops with dark navy blue track pants. It’s surprising, but for Polo Ground, no one would have thought that hot eye candy can be great motivation to keep on running for the view!

Once exercise 101 is over, a more serious and disciplined programme commences. Ipoh Echo spent hours searching for weight loss programmes from the online world, combing through YouTube videos like, Blogilates to the jiggles of Paula Abdul, to the Kim Kardashian ‘fit in your jeans by Friday’ workout (not porn). Here are the two most popular, insane and best of the DVDs for weight loss discovered by Ipoh Echo.

Insanity: 60 Days Challenge

Home workouts allow people to better focus. In this experience, Insanity, Body Transformation in 60 days is by far the best. The video has that same emotional feel you would get from a motivational Hollywood sport movie that gives you goosebumps. Where there would be an African American voice coaching you saying “You can do it! You can do it! This is not the time to give up!” “That’s IT! That’s What I’m talking about!” “DIG DEEPER!”

The DVD focusing on Maximum Interval Training is the opposite of peak intervals giving you minutes of cardio bursts with 30 seconds of rest in between as you listen to the voice of Shaun T. Explosive Plyometric Workouts and Sport Specific Training are of the design of the programme. The video is so fast and engaging that when 30 to 45 minutes of it is over, you wouldn’t even know that time has flown right by. You do it six days a week following the schedule that comes with the package. No thinking. No fussing. Just simply follow and burn up to 1000 calories a day.

Insanity is an exceptionally great workout but it’s not for the faint of heart. By far one of the most intense workout regimes I’ve ever tried. But when one persists, you can see immediate results in one week. What happened in the design of Insanity was that it has been created in the style of athletic training. There is an exceptionally huge burst of energy in all of the videos packed into the package.

Negative:  Insanity 60 Days Challenge is a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). The problem when working on HIITs is that, for beginners without a fitness or athletic background, there can be a chance for injury. The key is to consistently listen to your body and know how far you can go.

They say Insanity is the hardest workout ever put on DVD…but I disagree.


Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30

Where Insanity focuses on using cardio and bursts of movement to lose weight, Jillian Michaels focuses on strength training. Not so much engaging in entertainment but engaging your muscles and sculpting your body using your own body weight and body movement.

There are four DVDs in this package for the four weeks shed. These four videos are played for six days, every day, with one day of rest. The only way to keep going with this video is to repeatedly focus on the muscles and the form of your body. However, what’s really going to get you through it is food. The workout literally forces you to eat right in order to complete it.

Salmon, steak, red rice. When healthy eating is incorporated into your diet and you slowly go through the workouts, your body would start to feel very strong and fit by the second week. The Jillian Michaels Workout is focused on your strength and stamina levels. This will start to give you large bursts of energy. The extra burst of energy is long lasting and makes you feel like anything is possible. In 30 days, you feel detoxed and re-energized.

Negative: Just like its popular TV show ‘The Biggest Loser’, discomfort is going to be the main feeling for the next 30 days. Even though there are beginner moves, muscles are going to be extremely sore if you’re starting this as a beginner. Recovery is extremely important for this programme. But Asian styles of rice, vegetables and meats don’t cut it. To recover from a Jillian Michaels Workout, you’d need to switch your diet to eating healthy plus snacking five times a day in total in order to maintain the bursts of energy. Protein needs to be the highest source of nutrition to maintain healthy levels.


Yoga class at Sculpt Fitness

Sculpt Fitness, Ipoh

Suraya Elland Yusoff built Sculpt Fitness on international standards. Staying away from commercial styled gyms with loud music and pumping motivation and instead embodying the ideology of wellness as a holistic lifestyle. Focusing on mindfulness, Sculpt Fitness encourages you to love yourself and be the very best you can be. Apart from 14 classes catering to all necessary needs of the body, it further accommodates its clients by offering acupuncture, structural alignment massages and even a hair salon. In April, to accommodate the latest trend of 2015, recovery classes called ‘Restore and Release’ will be offered. The world of fitness has acknowledged that working out has become such a strain on the body that classes are being introduced specifically to soothe it as well.

The boutique gym is a fusion of the 1990s and modern-day styles. Hipster like. But what makes it wonderfully welcoming is the serenity that it brings. A calm when you walk through its doors and on its property. How can a gym with circuit training, TRX and heavy equipment be tranquil? Or is it just the spacious parking area that makes it so stress free.

The best part of Sculpt Fitness is that it is based in Ipoh. Working out online with Twitter users are great for motivation, but nothing beats community living with people you really care about and growing together.

Holistic Wellness. Food, Movement, Mind Body and Soul. The possibilities are endless when trimming the fat. We just need to find the one that fits our needs best.


It’s time to focus on 2015 and trim the fats, Ipoh!


To purchase the videos online go to http://ipohecho.com.my for the links.
INSANITY: 60 Days Challenge: http://beachbodymalaysia.com/product/insanity/
Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30: http://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Michaels-Ripped-30/dp/B004CRR9IS

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