5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Your Fitness Regime

  1. What is health to me? What is fitness to me?
  2. What is my daily routine to promote health?
  3. What are the best types of exercises I should use to get in the best shape?
  4. What do I eat and why?
  5. What is the best way to create a new habit or behavior?
These are the questions we should ask ourselves first. These are our perceptions and bias, and at times our knowledge and awareness.


There are many ways to approach change.
  1. Defining what it means to you.
What is health to me? 
There is the official statement from the Health Promotion Board, there is the definition given by some of the leading certifying body of physical training and so on, but what is it for you? Especially at this stage of your life.
For me, having good health is to be able to perform daily activities with ease and not pain (physical health), to feel positive and look forward to my day (emotional health), to have the capacity to learn and be able to adapt to changes (intellectual health) and feel contented and at peace (spiritual health).
If your idea of health is to be illness free and to be able to sleep and eat well, then you may want to focus on routines that include better digestion?
What is fitness to me?
To me, that is to be fit enough to run up a flight of steps and not be winded, to be able to play a pick up game of frisbee, go for a 5km run at the drop of a hat, cycle leisurely for 2 hours or swim in the open sea without needing to stop to breathe or stop because I am unfit.
When you define your health in other terms like being on your ideal weight, or your fitness goals as able to walk 20min non stop, your program and regime would be different too.


  1. What is my current daily routine to promote health?
There must be positive things that you are doing currently, start from there! Don’t look at what you haven’t been doing. I have many things I want to change. We all have many things and areas we want to change. It is easier to start from our strength and enhance it them rather than to overhaul our weakness.
My ideal daily routine and what is actually happening:
Ideally, I want to get 8 hours of sleep even if it is interrupted. Then, take my HRV, wash up, meditate on the words of the day for 20mins, exercise (strength and high intensity stuff), have breakfast, work (set my goals of the day, check my email, write 2 pages of articles or outlines), eat home cooked meals of salad, eggs and whatever protein and fats that is suitable, pray and think before I coach, review the session after, drink 2L of water, nap if I have time, recover with a foam roller and massage ball, stretch and read before bed for 1 hour.
What actually happens:
I sleep late so I get up late. Then, I check HRV and email, Facebook and Instagram even before I wash up! There is no time to do a full set of workout or there is no time for any workout at all. I have salad, eggs and some meat for breakfast, drink coffee with pastry like muffins in the afternoon (not good, I want to be sugar free…), eat what my parents eat for dinner (too much carbs …) and then play on social media too much and spend time in front of a screen right before bed. Finally, I’m too tired and lazy to do recovery.
Given this scenario, what I will do is to aim to get to bed on time and with it, I will reduce the amount of screen time before bed that may interfere with my sleep. And to improve sleep I will do the recovery protocol of foam rolling and massage ball.


  1. What is the best exercise that is used to get into the shape I wish for?
This is another loaded question – what you think works for what you want to achieve.
What kind of ‘shape’ you looking to get into?
In shape for a long run, in shape to play 5 on 5 futsal or in shape to play with your hyperactive kids during the holidays and have the energy to drive them while they sleep in the car?
I need exercises to be fast as well as to build speed and strength – back to my fitness goal of being ready to play anytime. High intensity workouts using body weight would be most ideal for me. Chin ups, single legged squats, burpees and short hill sprints are my go-to for maintenance.
However, for gaining fitness, it would need to be intervals and tempo training.


  1. What do I eat and why?
You usually eat what is convenient for you or at least easy for you. No longer are you the hunter who needs to chase down your dinner.
I usually eat what I cook and prepare, because it is more convenient, tastier, and cheaper. I still eat out but more for social reasons than need.
An example of my day’s meals
Breakfast: Eggs with coconut oil, pepper salad with infused olive oil and sous vide meat
Lunch: Salad and meat, with dessert of homemade yogurt with fruits
Snacks: Fruits, oven baked nuts, cold brewed coffee with full cream milk and cold brewed tea.
Dinner: Home cooked meal of steam or fried vegetables, clear soup with vegetables and meat, steamed fish and braised pork knuckle. Some rice to soaked up the awesome sauce.
Indulgence: Homemade orange chocolate muffin made with canola oil and real oranges. I drink wine or whisky twice a week.
Apart from me being fussy, I want to control my source of fuel and nutrients. You cannot control what others put in the food, especially in the preparation, and either can you control the quality of it. The best-case scenario is for you to prepare your own meals. The type of food is not just healthy but high in protein and low in carbs. I believe these nutrient dense foods will keep me healthy, lean and strong!
I work from home a lot and then move around a lot to coach. It is easier for me to prepare and eat my own food. But it may not be for those of you who go to work at a workplace and especially if your workplace has no pantry.


  1. What is the best way to create new habits?
Start small and be consistent.
Have clear goals and a plan, and a community who will nag and hold you accountable.
Have motivation – why do you want to these habits?


The motivation for it, the people who will motivate you, all these will help.