From The Straits Times    |

Photo: yurok /

It’s two weeks to Christmas, and we know you want to look your best at those upcoming social gatherings. The exercises in this list don’t require much equipment, just a yoga mat for stability and you’re all set. Alexander Salihin, Founder and Trainer of Level, a boutique personal fitness gym, advised that these routines could be done every other day for most, or five out of seven days a week with those that are more advanced. He went on to mention that results could show in as little as two weeks with clean eating, which means there’s still time to start!

Add some HIIT to your routine (High-Intensity Interval Training)  

For more effective fat-loss burning, add high-intensity interval training techniques to your cardio routine. Studies have shown that this method is far more effective in burning body fat than by exercising for a longer duration, but at an easier pace. It also takes less time! Level recommends going hard at your activity for 30 seconds, then taking it easier for a minute and a half. Do this for a period of 20 to 30 minutes. As you become more advanced, either increase the “hard” period’s intensity even further, or bumping up the work interval while shortening the rest period.  

Your Workout Routine

Perfect even for beginners, your hot bod workout routine should look like this:

Squats – 20 reps
Push-ups – 5 reps
Hip thrusts – 20 reps
Locust pose – 15 seconds
Calf raises – 40 reps

Don’t forget to rest for 30-second periods in between exercises! 

Also on Simply Her: 4 Youtube workouts to do when you’re too lazy to go to the gym

1. Squats

If squats aren’t in your current exercise routine, they should be! You can’t really go wrong with squats as it is the single most effective weight training exercise that will improve your lower physique. Besides helping to lift your bum while working your thighs, the intensity of this workout promises to burn calories quickly.

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To do this, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Begin the descent with pushing your hips back and lowering your hips, with your knees “outside” of your torso. The aim is to squat into the ground and not to squat over the knees. Feel free to place your arms wherever they feel most comfortable. Do five sets of 20 to 30 reps.

Also on Simply Her: How to stick to your fitness goals: Choose the right workout for your mood

2. Push-ups

There’s nothing like going back to the basics. This classic exercise works the entire body, making it an effective calorie-burner. In addition, this exercise tightens the chest and tricep muscles to keep things perky.

Photo: Olena Yakobchuk /

Begin in the push-up position, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your feet can be placed at the same width as your hands, but leave them where they feel most natural. Your body however, should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Your hips at this point should neither be sagging nor should they be sticking up in the air. Keep in mind to tighten your glutes throughout the workout. Doing this automatically engages your core. Now that you have your arms straight out, abs engaged and butt clenched, you can start doing a proper push-up!

Depending on your fitness level, halfway may be the lowest you can go, and that’s okay! Build your strength and work your way to getting your chest all the way to the ground. Once you’ve come to the bottom position, push away from the ground. That’s a proper push-up! Aim to do this for five working sets. Beginners could aim for five reps per set while those who are more advanced could aim for 20 reps per set.

Also on Simply Her: Tone your abs and glutes with Jaime Teo’s 12-minute circuit training workout

3. Hip Thrusts

If you want to get J-Lo’s butt by Christmas, it’s time to start hip-thrusting. The glutes (the muscles of the butt) can be toned and developed with this workout. It’s mostly for people with physique goals and is a popular exercise with female fitness competitors. People who have done the hip thrust seem to notice it maximises glute size. Hello, perkier butt!

Photo: Andrei Zaripov /

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. Lift your hips off the ground, all while pressing your weight on your heels and clenching your glutes. Do keep in mind that your weight should rest on your heels and upper back – not your toes or neck. Extend hips until they form a straight line with your knees and shoulders. Most of the movement from this exercise should come from the hips and squeezing your glutes instead of distorting your back. Aim for 20 to 30 reps per set, for four to five sets.


4. Locust Pose

Don’t forget your back! Yes, legs and abs are important, but many women forget to spend a good portion of their workouts on their back. Don’t underestimate the power a nicely defined back can have on your overall appearance, and especially in a gorgeous backless dress!

Photo: Dmitry Rukhlenko /

Lie on your stomach and open your chest, lifting your arms and legs off a mat while keeping the pelvis on the mat. None of your limbs should touch the ground. This pose is known as the Locust Pose (Salabhasana) or more commonly known as the “superman hold”. Five rounds of 15- to 30-second holds should do the trick.

Also on Simply Her: 9 common fitness myths, debunked

5. Calf Raises

Don’t forget your calves either. What you may not know is that a set of well-developed calves helps balance out the symmetry of the legs, making the upper leg appear smaller.

Toned calves don’t have to come from years of tedious exercise either. For some, it’s just a matter of wearing high heels frequently. That’s right, you can get toned calves just by wearing high heels as they keep calves contracted most of the time. However if heels are not for you, get toned gams the old-fashioned way – with calf raises!

Photo: lzflzf /

A simple and easy exercise, this move requires a staircase and of course, multiple repetitions. Think four to five sets of 40 reps. Start by resting the balls of your feet on the upper step and the back part of your feet on the lower step, fully stretching your calves. Complete one rep by ending in a fully flexed tip-toe position and holding it for a second before returning to your starting position.


Food tips

Alexandar advises to always get your high quality Omega-3s and a good amount of protein, always keeping in mind to avoid processed foods as far as possible. The excessive sugar found in everyday food like sodas, cakes, pastries, ketchup and all kinds of processed food is the main culprit. Carbohydrates are another concern, especially processed ones. Keep this in mind the next time you want a second helping of that spaghetti dinner.

Level is located at 137 Telok Ayer Street, #01-03. For more information on Level and to book a private training session, visit  


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