Breaking A Routine, Creating A Lifestyle
Youths tell Benjamin Wellesley how the circuit breaker period benefitted or disrupted their fitness routines, sharing their main takeaways from quarantine.
July 7, 2020
For budding fitness enthusiasts like Melanie Liao, 18, the circuit breaker was a blessing in disguise, providing her with ample free time to begin chronicling her fitness journey and routine.
“Since the circuit breaker started and my part-time job was temporarily [put] on hold, I actually have a lot of time on my hands to exercise every day,” Melanie said.
In an announcement to Singaporeans on Apr 3, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong set in motion the circuit breaker from Apr 7 to Jun 1, advising Singaporeans to stay home to contain the spread of Covid-19.
As youths were cooped up at home during the trying time, a new wave of fitness trends, routines and challenges began to emerge on social media.
“I’m following the workout programmes by one of the fitness YouTubers called Chloe Ting, and she designs these workout programmes for people to follow for free,” Melanie shared.
I’m following the workout programmes by one of the fitness YouTubers called Chloe Ting, and she designs these workout programmes for people to follow for free.
Chloe Ting’s Two Weeks Shred Challenge was one of the most popular routines that youths adopted, documenting time-lapses of their high intensity workouts coupled with their progress on their Instagram stories.
“Every day, she has a schedule of certain exercises to do depending on the areas of
the body that you want to target [and] tone up,” Melanie added.
A typical home routine setup that youths use to follow their YouTube workout tutorials during the circuit breaker. Photo courtesy of Melanie Liao.
However, the circuit breaker threw a spanner in the works for many regular gym-goers as their regular routines were disrupted.
Taha Zameel, 19, an active gym-goer who has been powerlifting for over two years, had to alter his fitness plans as he had no access to his usual equipment during the entirety of the quarantine period.
“Since the gym is closed, I do calisthenics [and] bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups,” Taha said, adding that the circuit breaker was a period of stagnation and maintenance for him.
“These home workout routines are more or less just there to make sure that I keep in shape and don’t go downhill in terms of my physique,” he elaborated.
Besides gymnasiums, fitness studios were also temporarily suspended in compliance with the strict circuit breaker measures.
Consequently, spin instructor Ethel Francine Tan, 26, had to hunker down at home instead of mounting her trusty stationary bicycle and teaching her regular spin classes at Ground Zero, a boutique fitness studio in Singapore.
Ethel Francine Tan conducting a 45-minute long Ride class, a high-tempo spin session with upbeat music, at a Ground Zero studio. Photo courtesy of Ethel Francine Tan.
“It was difficult initially, I was pretty worried about how my stamina will be like once Ground Zero starts operations again,” said Ms Tan, who has been a spin instructor for over a year.
However, she allayed her own fears about the stay-home period by taking practical steps instead of lamenting about it.
“I decided to embrace this circuit breaker instead, taking this time to give my ears a break [and] just enjoy acoustic music,” explained Ms Tan.
Ms Tan also commended youths who grasped the opportunity to begin exercising and following exercise routines during the circuit breaker, sharing tips on how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle even when measures are eased and youths are flooded with their daily commitments again.
“I always believe that one will make time for things that are important,” stated Ms Tan. “Sometimes just squeezing in a 30-minute run from your busy schedule can help you not only maintain a healthy lifestyle, but also relieve some stress.”
Melanie agreed: “While the results are not as prominent yet physically, I do think [exercising] has had a positive impact on my mental health and I feel stronger and less lethargic every day.”
As someone who began to be health-conscious only during her polytechnic years, Ms Tan gave this piece of advice to youths: “I realised that it is important that you know the true reason why you’re working out in the first place.”
She added: “Once you’ve internalised that reason or purpose for working out, you always have to stay rooted to it and bring yourself back to why you started in the first place and how that makes you feel whenever you feel like giving up.”
Once you’ve internalised that reason or purpose for working out, you always have to stay rooted to it and bring yourself back to why you started in the first place and how that makes you feel whenever you feel like giving up.