Asia’s Top Trainer shares fitness tips to help you reach *any* fitness goal.
2023 has arrived, and perhaps you’re looking for a way to up your fitness game for the new year. You’ve definitely come to the right place.
We asked Glenn Ang, Fitness Director of RAW Active for his best fitness tips and pulled tried-and-true pointers over the years. Together, he covers everything from warming up to pre-workout supplement, so no matter where you’re at in your fitness journey or what you’re looking to improve on, this list will help you achieve your goals.
Fitness Tips 1. Start small
This tip goes out to all the beginners. The idea here is that you want to build a fitness habit that you can sustain and eventually build upon. Look at your lifestyle, Glenn Ang says, and try not to overwhelm yourself when you’re starting your fitness journey—even if that means working out just once a week at first, or committing to 10 minutes of movement twice a week.
Fitness Tips 2. Make fitness a way of life
On a similar note, “the fitness journey is all about creating consistency and finding a way to make movement fit into your lifestyle,” says Glenn Ang. He suggests starting slow and building on your foundation every day. And complete a self-inventory in the morning, he adds, during which you ask yourself what you can commit to that day—a walk? A run? A lift? “Make it a habit to find movement and meet yourself where you currently stand,” Young says.
Fitness Tips 3. Never skip your warm-up
Fitness Tips 4. And make those warm-ups dynamic
You should not do static stretching before your workout. (It actually reduces muscle strength and impairs explosive muscle performance.) They are some of the popular dynamic stretches like t-spine rotations, world’s greatest stretch, and forward fold to squat.
Fitness Tips 5. Don’t cut static stretching out altogether
After your workout, static stretching is just fine. In fact, it can help prevent muscle stiffness. Just make sure you hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and don’t go beyond one minute.
Fitness Tips 6. Add mobility exercises to your warm-up, too
Mobility work shouldn’t be a separate entity from your strength and conditioning work. It can give a lot to your workouts if you warm up your joints, moving through their full ranges of motion and controlling that range. Afterward, Glenn suggests incorporating that dynamic movement and some light plyometrics (a.k.a. jump training).
Fitness Tips 7. Strength train at least twice a week
Strength training is key. After all, the benefits of this type of exercise are plentiful. Strength training keeps us feeling strong and empowered. It also keeps your bones strong, reduces your risk of injury, and improves your cardiovascular health.
Fitness Tips 8. Keep your cardio regimen fresh
There are many ways to get your heart pumping that don’t involve a treadmill (or an elliptical, for that matter). For instance, you can do a HIIT workout or circuit including exercises like high knees and butt kicks. Other great cardio exercises include jump rope and kettlebell swings.
Fitness Tips 9. Combine strength training and cardio properly
The best way to do so depends on your goals. Basically, your priorities should help you decide on the order in which you do cardio and strength training. For instance, if you want to get stronger, you should do strength training first, but if you want to build endurance, it’s better to start with cardio, according to the American Council on Exercise.
Fitness Tips 10. Keep challenging yourself
The body adapts. So, when it comes to your strength training routine, he suggests continually progressing to force your body to change. For instance, if this week you’re doing three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions of a certain exercise, next week you might level up to four sets of 12. In essence, keep pushing yourself—whether you choose to increase the weight you’re using or add additional sets and reps.
Fitness Tips 11. Focus on form first
More isn’t always better. Better is better. In other words, make sure you master your form while doing basic movements before you add weight or complicate the exercises.
Fitness Tips 12. Devote yourself to recovery
Commit to your recovery as hard as you would commit to training. Your muscles need it to heal up and create strength..
Fitness Tips 13. Maintain good (sleep) hygiene
This is something that’s super underrated when it comes to fitness. Sleep is crucial time when muscle recovery happens, and it also (of course) helps you have the energy to actually perform and push during workouts. The evening routine she uses to unwind includes dry brushing, a hot shower, and setting her thermostat to about 18 degrees Celsius (which is right in the ideal temp range for sleeping, according to the National Sleep Foundation). And avoid having screen time prior to bed.
Fitness Tips 14. Get in a rhythm with your rest
Considering sleep is so key for recovery, Glenn agrees that it’s important to establish quality sleep habits and suggests trying to go to bed around the same time every day. (And, the CDC also advises waking up at the same time every day—even on weekends—to improve your sleep health.)
Fitness Tips 15. Lean into active recovery days
On days you may not feel like doing anything super intense, I have good news for you—you don’t have to!” Glenn says. While our bodies are meant to move every day, they don’t have to be driven into the ground every day, she says. But skipping that super-tough HIIT class doesn’t mean you should binge Netflix instead. When your body tells you to chill out, “just listen to it and find that happy medium–go for a walk, do the laundry you’ve been putting off, bake banana bread,” Glenn says. “Keep it light; stay in motion.”
Fitness Tips 16. Consider yoga
Some of Glenn’s clients likes to do yoga for recovery because it keeps them moving and allows them to stretch out. In fact, its combination of flexibility and low-intensity strength training makes yoga one of the best options for active recovery workouts.
Fitness Tips 17. Use a fitness journal to track your goals
A notebook is a great way to stay on top of your physical and mental health. In fact, writing down and sharing your goals makes it more likely you’ll achieve them, according to a study out of the Dominican University of California. And there are tons of super-cute fitness journals out there to choose from that suit different objectives and regimens.
Fitness Tips 18. Stay hydrated
“I keep a 12-ounce glass of water next to bed, and when I first wake up, I drink the whole thing,” Glenn says. “Starting the day with that glass of water sets me up to hit my daily water intake for the day.” Water keeps you hydrated during workouts, energizes you, and helps lubricate the joints. He acknowledges that there are many different guidelines out there for how much water you should drink, and advises that you find an amount that works for you—then stick with it. Remember, things like your exercise regimen and where you live can affect how much water you should be drinking.
Fitness Tips 19. Try habit stacking to stay on track
If you read that last tip and started flashing back to all your past attempts at drinking more water, stay with us—this tip might make it easier. Habit stacking is basically just joining new habits with ones you’ve already got. For instance, you might keep yourself stretching every day by combining it with your morning coffee routine, or help yourself drink more water by linking it to checking emails.
Fitness Tips 20. And rely on habits rather than willpower
None of us are perfect. There will be days when pure willpower just isn’t enough to achieve your goals. The good news is that you can still set yourself up for success. For instance, if you want to rise early in the morning for your workout, lay out your clothes the night before. Instead of thinking about doing something, make it a tangible task.
Fitness Tips 21. Feel free to skip the pre-workout supp
You don’t need a pre-workout. Same goes for coffee before your workout. Just make sure your nutrition and your sleep hygiene are on point.
Fitness Tips 22. Eat enough protein
The standard rule for protein consumption is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. But if you’re very active, aim for 1.4 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. A few high-protein foods that might help you meet that goal: tempeh, Greek yogurt, and turkey.
Fitness Tips 23. But don’t stress about the anabolic window
Good news: You don’t need to sprint for the protein powder as soon as you finish your last rep. It’s a wider window. So if you don’t get your protein intake an hour and a half after your workout, you’re fine. Your muscles are not going to atrophy.
Fitness Tips 24. Remember there’s more than one right way to eat
Think of eating like you would think of training—your training is dependent on your lifestyle and progress, not anyone else’s. In other words, don’t fall into the trap of a one-size-fits-all diet. Of course, the trainer adds, there are general guidelines to follow (like avoiding added sugars and highly processed foods). But rather than thinking of foods as “good” or “bad,” consider what will fuel your individual lifestyle. Do notes that there’s no one ideal diet, and says that the best diet is one you can sustain.