5 tips to reduce time spent on your health and fitness regime

PHOTOGRAPH: Dr Magdalene Liau

If you stumble upon her Instagram account, you might mistake Dr Magdalene Liau for a model. In fact, the well-toned beauty, practises at The Chelsea Clinic, an aesthetic clinic, in Singapore.

An avid fitness enthusiast with a strong belief in total wellness, Dr Liau asserts that besides maintaining your figure and reducing your risk of chronic health problems like diabetes and hypertension, an active lifestyle can also protect your mental health. She has a Fitness Nutrition Specialty Certification by the American Council on Exercise and in her free time, does Muay Thai and trains regularly with a Thai coach.


We talk to her about how any busy woman can hold down a demanding job, and stay active and maintain her looks. 


Plan workouts that fit in your schedule
The secret is to plan ahead and commit to your plan.  Dr Liau aims for three to four workouts each week, including a range of fitness classes like spinning or Crossfit sessions, or self-led circuits either at exercise corners or a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout at home at home. 

She puts all of them down in her mobile planner. She also monitors her activity level with wearable technology so she can keep tabs on her progress. 
“Some days when I don’t feel like working out, but I put on my sportswear and just show up. You don’t need to feel like doing something in order to do it.


Read more: REVIEW: 6 Korean BBQ places in Singapore to satisfy your meat cravings


Sometimes it takes motivation, other times it takes discipline,” she says.

Another tip: find creative ways to stay active, so that exercising is less of a chore. Try rock-climbing or wakeboarding, or round up the kids and head to a trampoline park. You’re more likely to commit to an activity when you’re having fun.

A simple rule when eating
Go “wok-free”, says Dr Liau. “Use cooking methods like steaming and baking,” she says. They’re more healthy meal-prep options and have the added benefit of being hands-free so you can multi-task – why not clean the kitchen floor while making lunch? You also save time on washing oily, grimy frying pans.

Cook in bulk
You can also cook your meals in batches and portion them to last you all week. Dr Liau always makes extras when cooking a meal and keeps leftovers in the refrigerator for three to four days. If you don’t think you’ll be able to finish all the leftovers in that time, just freeze whatever you have so they can last up to a month.

Drink water
Beautiful skin begins with good skin health. That’s where water comes in – it plumps up the skin and can reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores. If you find the taste of water bland, use her trick and add lemon juice to chilled water for a little zesty flavour. 


Read more: TCM Tips: 3 ‘cooling’ drinks to soothe your sore throat after a durian feast


But the water you drink may not reach the outermost layers of the skin, especially if you’re already dehydrated, so don’t skimp on moisturiser. 

Keep your skincare regime simple
Dr Liau invests in good cleansers to reduce the time and money she’d otherwise spend on makeup to cover blemishes. According to the doctor, who holds accreditations in various aesthetic procedures from the Aesthetic Dermatology Education Group and the Dermatological Society of Singapore, you should look out for the following ingredients when buying facial products: 
•    Alpha-hydroxy acids and salicyclic acids are effective exfoliants that unclog pores and get rid of built-up dead skin cells.  
•    Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that stimulate collagen production and cell regeneration, and diminish the appearance of fine lines, discolouration and occasional blemishes. Make sure to use a sunscreen during the day as retinoids can increase skin photosensitivity.