Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Masterclass In Session: Busy People's Fitness With Lyn

Pitches such as "You only need [an impossibly short time frame] a day!" pushes a lot of buttons for people on the go, go, go. Tim Ferriss says you can be a chef in four hours in his book The 4-Hour Chef. Before that, he'd written The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body.

And we have Jamie Oliver's so-called 15-minute meals, which cannot be pulled off by average Joes because, presumably, they didn't read Ferriss first.

Seemingly impossible time frames exist in the fitness world, too. Twenty minutes a day and you'll get a six pack Michelangelo would want to replicate. Twenty minutes a day and you'll shed those extra pounds, and so on. Until the next big thing comes along with an even more impossible time frame.

"You only need ten minutes a day!" says fitness instructor Lyn Kong, in the latest MPH Masterclass Series. Besides a series of exercises, Lyn Kong's Guide to Fitness for Busy People also comes with an exercise programme, as well as recommendations for equipment, exercise gear, diet, and some healthy habits to cultivate in lieu of all those moves that will move you closer to a fitter, healthier you. She also busts some myths about fitness and nutrition.

Live lean with Lyn Kong, courtesy of MPH

To help readers set up a fitness regime, she even provides a somewhat tweakable ten-minute training programme and a 30-day challenge - complete with scoresheet - for those who want to take it up.

And all the exercises can be done without the help of a trainer or a gym. Or sets of very expensive exercise gear made of space-age fabric that "breathes" even when you can't. One by one, all your excuses to not exercise, not eat proper, not go to bed early, and skip the warm-up and cool-down and stretching steps are methodically, ruthlessly stripped away.

She's particularly firm on not skipping warm-up exercises. "Warming up is an essential part of your training programme, whether you're a serious athlete or someone who's simply exercising at home. This is non-negotiable!"

It's not all about sweat, sweat, sweat (like Richard Simmons, OMG). Diet plays a huge role. With some old food myths being debunked left and right (butter, cheese, yoghurt and eggs may be good for you), Kong's endorsement of the Paleo diet, which is basically economy rice sans rice for some of us, seems timely.

We get a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid - most of the usual suspects, really. And lest we get carried away with the fried sweet-and-sour pork and sunny-side-up eggs, there's also a handy chart for estimating recommended portions of each food group in the Paleo diet.

To further motivate you, Kong also shares her personal story of how she got into the fitness industry, one she's been in for over 15 years.

"I've learned so much about fitness over the years, and just as I've shared this wealth of information with my clients, I'd now like to share them with you through this book," she writes. "Unless you're an elite athlete, it's unlikely that you are able to train full time or even have much time to train at all. That’s why I've specifically designed this book for busy people like you."

In the end, Kong's energy and sincerity win you over. Maybe ten minutes, three times a week is all you need.

But, uh ... do I have to do the warm-ups?

Lyn Kong's Guide to Fitness for Busy People
Lyn Kong
MPH Group Publishing
175 pages
ISBN: 978-967-415-155-3

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