Physical Freedom – Take It, It’s Yours!

For those of you who have watched the movie Troy, this line must have sounded familiar to you as you read it in your mind.

Achilles, the greatest warrior and hero of Homer’s Illiad, played by none other than the equally-famous (some would say infamous) Brad Pitt, challenged his band of warriors to seize the glory of battle in Hollywood’s grand rendition of the Trojan War.

I thought it fitting to throw out this same line as a challenge – a challenge for all of you reading this, to seize your health and physical freedom, and thereby take control of the most fundamental aspect of your life.

For those of you minimalists when it comes to the investment of your time and effort, think about this: Is it not worth investing your time and effort to ensure that you are taking care of your health and body, as best as you can?

We have all seen them – affluent office men (and women), who strut in their crisp business outfits and expensive suits, who drive around town in their sleek, mirror-shine sedans, with their precious timepieces and diamond cuff links glinting in the light of the sun.

And I’m sure we have all noticed the very visible trend – the older these people are, the more they look out of shape. This appears to be the case for a significant number of them, and especially for the men.

Singapore is a country of widespread affluence, which is awesome, for those of us who are getting our fair share of the GDP pie. So you have more money to spend. That’s great. But it’ll be even better if you have good health to go along with it.

There are too many people who are paying unnecessarily for health-related expenses, when just a little investment of their time and effort will save them alot of time, money and trouble, which can be far better spent elsewhere. Even if you aren’t suffering from any major, acute illnesses, being plagued by chronic, low-level cumulative health issues can really be a drag on your life.

Tired of lugging around a huge gut all day along with your heavy briefcase? Sick of those nagging lower back aches and perpetually-stiff necks and shoulders? Feeling a persistent sense of physical discomfort that you can’t quite put your finger on?

Health and physical freedom – take it, it’s yours!

Spend just an hour a day moving, and you’ll shake off most, if not all of your health concerns which are the results of your sedentary lifestyle. The government is now big on healthy and active living – the planners and observers in the relevant Ministries and official departments are probably increasingly-aware of the rising healthcare costs and issues that are laying siege to our nation’s increasingly-wealthy population.

I’m sure many of you will be shaking your heads in denial when you read this. “An hour a day? Where got time?!” Is the typical Singaporean response. And these same people I see a few years later will almost invariably have developed some chronic and persistent health issues that they constantly complain about, which they could very well have avoided or prevented by the hour a day which they used to scoff at in the past.

Don’t wait till you can’t see your feet for your midsection, and don’t wait till the aches and pains start to bedevil you like stubborn mosquitoes. When that day comes you will have to sweat so much more to regain the health that you have lost through your inattention.

And for the men, especially those of us who are liable for our annual IPPT – why make yourself dread these tests and end up dragging your feet for them, and ultimately feel embarrassed when your chin just can’t seem to clear that pull up bar? Worse still, why land yourself in a state where you are just resigned to failing the IPPT year after year, and automatically signing yourself up for weeks and weeks of remedial training, just because you can’t meet the mark that you used to be capable of when you were younger or fitter?

In my blunt and straightforward opinion, all these are a bloody waste of your time. You could be doing so much more and enjoying yourself, rather than spending unnecessary time back in camp. An hour a day, for two to three times a week is all that it takes to keep yourself fighting fit. And you will go for your annual IPPT with a smile on your face, thinking how good it is that our government is actually paying you for a workout session.

Our government is probably one of the few, if not the only one, in the world that pays you money to keep fit and stay healthy. Call it generous, or maybe it is just a measure of desperation, to try and get people motivated to do what is only good for themselves. I feel kinda sad when I go back for my IPPT and see those guys driving their posh cars into camp day after day just for RT. Somehow they just don’t look as intimidating stripped out of their thousand-dollar suits and shirts and ties and leather footwear, in exchange for a humble set of T-shirts and shorts and running shoes.

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

But hey, they are the only ones to blame for their own plight.

I know it’s tough to find time for yourself, if you are a high-powered executive and stuff in some big-time MNC. I’m a law student, and I probably have the smallest inkling of what it feels like to be squeezed for time. But hey, I still find time to work, work out and write these posts, at the expense of revising for my mid-terms (which I really should be studying for, like now).

Saying that I feel stressed out sometimes is probably a gross understatement. But then I take a step back and set things back in their proper perspective – I’d rather scrape through my law school years, barely passing everything, and have my health, than to ace everything with flying colours, and end up flunking at my next health check, or my next IPPT.

Health is wealth and movement is medicine. I don’t want to be a pale, sickly dude who’s a genius up there in his head, which I am not anyway, but who winds up earning money to pay for the doctor’s bills. I know, I know, I exaggerate, but you get the idea, right?

Fellas, let’s get our acts together and put the doctors out of a job.

The day the world doesn’t need doctors is the day that we are all physically free, as much as we can ever be.

Imagine yourself being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want to, wherever you are, with your mind and body. (Of course, flying is out of the question, unless you really are Superman.)

Don’t let yourself walk this earth with a hunched back and a sagging gut, dragging your feet.

Walk proud and tall, and look to the skies, knowing that that, is your only limit.

Physical freedom – TAKE IT, IT’S YOURS!!!

~ This post is written by Lionel Ng, part-time Personal Trainer & full-time Fitness Enthusiast. ~

Bar Community SG

090612 marked the long-awaited gathering of the bar and bodyweight training community here in Singapore, inspired by the videos of our counterparts all around the world.

The freestyle, free-and-easy event was held at the SUTD Dover campus, and the turnout was good. There was sharing all around on training tips, knowledge and experiences, and firm friendships were forged in the crucible of a common love for physical culture.

It was heartening to see and be around so many like-minded individuals, bonded in our passion for bodyweight training.

It was especially uplifting to see a number of younger people, who are following in the trail of those who have blazed the path before them, while leaving behind significant marks of their own.

There is huge potential to be tapped in the Singapore bodyweight and bar training circles, and I have little doubt that the Bar Community SG will soon leave a very notable imprint on the global street workout scene.

Thanks for all those who came down and shared their knowledge, experience and tips, and who offered their friendships so readily.

Special thanks to Michael Ong of SUTD Fitness and DIY Gym for helping to organise and host the event, as well as giving us demonstrations of the use and manufacture of some homemade exercise equipment.

It is my fondest hope for the bodyweight and bar training culture here to continue to grow and blossom, drawing more bright sparks to the fledgling flame of the Singapore street workout community.

Keep the good work coming, and spread the word far and wide: Bar Community SG – it’s all about keeping fit, getting stronger, and having one hell of a good time while doing it. 🙂 

~ This post is written by Lionel Ng, part-time Personal Trainer & full-time Fitness Enthusiast. ~

Impakt Singapore MMA Academy

Went down to visit Impakt MMA (mixed-martial arts) academy yesterday, and was thrilled to find a great place with a great atmosphere, great people and great equipment to build some real strength and fitness.

We were there to discuss the possibility for strength and conditioning classes in the morning, to be offered for people who want to improve their general health and fitness, and fighters who want to acquire specific physical attributes for their demanding sport.

For those of you who don’t know for sure what we do at Basic Training Academy, we specialise in strength and conditioning for both serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts, and that should basically cover just about everyone out there. Our body is like a machine or a car that we need to maintain. Fail to service it regularly, and trouble will no doubt follow.

Here’s an idea of some of the stuff that is included in our comprehensive training system:

1. Joint Preparation: Extremely important for both the serious athlete and the layperson. Stronger joints will be less vulnerable to mechanical injury arising from contact sports or even simple falls. Wouldn’t you love to have a pair of strong wrists that can help you break the impact of a fall safely? Or strong knees that will take you through that family mountain hiking trip or your weekend soccer games with less worry?

2. Muscular Strengthening: Important if you are someone interested in leading an active lifestyle. More strength means more possibilities, and if you are a mum or dad wouldn’t you love to be strong enough to play with your kids when they are young? And for the guys who have yet to serve in the army, trust me on this one. Superior strength makes it more of a breeze and less of a hassle (and torture) when you are doing your National Service.

3. Movement Training: Become more coordinated and athletic throughout your whole body with our movement drills for both the upper and the lower body. These drills are mostly games that we’ve done when we were young and more in tune with Nature. Tough and monotonous training? Hardly so. Tough but fun training? You’ve come to the right place! Learn to run and jump and roll and fly across the monkey bars, and more, with us!

4. Body Constitution: Health must come before strength for you to sustain and enjoy the latter throughout your lifetime. Working out with strength-based movement patterns is a great way to detox your body and restore your natural constitution. Enjoy better complexion and smoother gastrointestinal processes (i.e. better digestion and no constipation) by sweating out the accumulated stress and toxins in your body.   

5. Psychological Outcomes: When you become stronger, fitter and more athletic, your quality of life will improve. I can guarantee it. Want to be like those fit blokes who always seem so full of life and energy? We’ll show you how! Confidence and charm are natural by-products of a sound body and a sound mind. Take your success to the workplace, and tackle every aspect of your life with greater assurance and ability!

So if you are interested in achieving the stuff that I’ve outlined above (you should be!), drop us a question here at our blog, or email us at basictrainingacademy@gmail.com, or simply search for us on Facebook to find out more! We offer a free trial session for those interested in signing up to show you our training system in greater detail. And I am pretty confident that you won’t be wanting your money back on this one. 🙂

P.S. If you are intimidated by the stuff that we showcase, I’d like to assure you that these moves can be performed by anyone of normal health. So unless you’re very sick, crippled or dying, you will be able to master those moves with the right training, like the kind that we provide (shameless marketing haha). And you’ll be having your own fun doing them and getting stronger, fitter and healthier, just about anytime, and anywhere. 🙂

~ This post is written by Lionel Ng, part-time Personal Trainer & full-time Fitness Enthusiast. ~

Remembering A Corner Of Art In The Heart Of The City

The performing arts is something that I’ve developed an interest in ever since I started training in simple acrobatics about 3 years ago.

Learning handstands and cartwheels has given me a newfound appreciation of the harworking and talented performers on the local neighbourhood stage in seasonal Chinese operas, a better understanding of the hip-hop and breakdancing taking place in quiet corners of the city streets, and pure, undiluted admiration for the competitive gymnasts and professional acrobats who blend perfect power, balance, poise and beauty.

I have passed by the Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre many times as I travelled by bus through the heart of the city on various errands, and the place has never failed to draw my eye with its distinct, old-school-block style architecture, and the huge, colourful murals that decorate its walls.

Sadly, I have never given much thought to who or what was going on behind the solemn, red-bricked wall that surrounds the small compound, or the events that transpired in the faded concrete blocks that stand like silent sentinels of unknown treasures, amidst a stern, uncaring backdrop of modern glass-and-steel structures.

Its re-entry into my consciousness came in the form of a TV news broadcast that announced its imminent closure. 

I felt sad, as if something unique and unexplored was about to be closed off to me forever. Perhaps I felt as the botanists and zoologists feel when they hear news of massive deforestation that is stripping the land of the life that they so love to study.

According to Today Online, the National Arts Council has “identified a site for its new arts centre which will be ready by next year. It will call for applications from all interested groups, including tenants from the Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre.”

No doubt the ongoing government efforts to promote art and culture here will see to the establishment of a suitable new nexus for the local performing arts scene, one which may even surpass its predecessor.

However, nostalgia is a human trait, and just as thousands of book-lovers and library-goers lamented the closing of the old National Library at Stamford Road, I am certain that there are many out there for whom the impending end of the Telok Ayer compound will bring sentimental thoughts and tears to eyes that once beheld the vibrant murals upon the walls of their small haven with love and tender feelings of the heart.

I am not a professional performer, and neither are my friends whose pictures accompany this post, but we hope that we can, in our own small way, commemorate the passing of a cultural icon that used to be a corner of art in the heart of the city. 

Art is the innate right and privilege of every human being, and so with the art of movement we shall inscribe our eulogy for what is about to pass into memory, and hopefully to be reborn as a phoenix from the flames of death into new, and everlasting life.

~ This post is written by Lionel Ng, part-time Personal Trainer & full-time Fitness Enthusiast. ~

Ido Portal Upper Body Strength Cert

Ido Portal, a movement artist and teacher who has conducted (and is conducting) camps, courses, seminars and workshops all over the world for professional and amateur movers, trainers and physical fitness experts and enthusiasts, was in town for his upper body strength certification course over the weekend.

I have been following Ido’s work, particularly his strength and movement videos on YouTube, after watching “Self-Dominance” – a 2 – minute clip showcasing a beautiful synergy of strength and movement elements, about 2 years ago. For those of you who are keen to find out more about his methods and his teachings, google his name and check out his website, his Facebook and his blog.

I was thrilled to find out about the course, and it was a rare opportunity for me to learn from Ido in person.

The course was extremely informative and insightful, centred around the concept of scapular stabilisation and control as the main source of upper body strength. It also covered many pre-hab and re-hab methods for the wrists, elbows and shoulders, the 3 major joints that are loaded by upper body strength training.  

I will be reviewing the contents of the course in greater detail in future training posts, and hopefully give you an idea of how to build and maintain upper body strength and mobility.

If you are into all these stuff (you should be, if you’re reading this blog), do sign up for Ido’s courses and workshops if ever you get the chance. They are well worth the time and money that you will invest in them, and they will give you a lifetime’s returns of invaluable training tools and knowledge that will help you (and allow you to help other people) to become a stronger, healthier and more intelligent mover.

~ This post is written by Lionel Ng, part-time Personal Trainer & full-time Fitness Enthusiast. ~

Basic Training Academy

In this day and age time is becoming a premium in our profit-driven society. People are finding it hard to maintain their health and fitness amidst all the rush and bustle of everyday life.

Basic Training Academy was founded with a desire to enable and empower the modern man and woman to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives. We will share with you tips and tricks to maximise your fitness efforts on this blog, as well as giving our two cents’ worth on topics like diet advice, lifestyle coaching, and so on.  

We hope that this will become a valuable training resource for the serious athlete, as well as being a useful guide for the average health- and fitness-conscious individual.

Welcome to Basic Training Academy. 

Welcome to the world of physical culture.

~ This post is written by Lionel Ng, part-time Personal Trainer & full-time Fitness Enthusiast. ~