8 Secrets to Attaining Optimum Fitness and Keeping it that Way

How do you maintain an active lifestyle? Alvin Ho learns that keeping fit is more mental than physical.


If there’s one thing that I have learned from more than a decade of working out, it is that keeping fit is more mental than physical. Everyone has the potential to achieve their fitness goals – if they put in enough effort to do so. It is, in fact, the mind that needs to be hardwired to consistently put in this effort. In order to attain and maintain this mental tenacity, it is crucial as to how we can coax ourselves to banish away the amenities of a sedentary lifestyle and work towards adopting an active one instead.

1. Feel good effect

This is considered the main impetus in my pursuit for fitness. I agree that the prospect of having to undergo a session of gruelling physical activity might deter many, however, I urge to not dwell into the process but look forward to the post effects of training. The sense of achievement to have completed what I have set out to do, coupled with the feel of gaining a tougher body after every training session are the key factors that drive me through my weekly regimes.

Research also show that exercise induces the body to release Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that necessitates the feelings of pleasure and happiness in the brain. The bottom line is, it always feels good to have exercised, keep that embedded in your mind and I reckon it will give you that extra push to grind through your training sessions and come out stronger than ever.

2. Concern for the future

Rather be embraced in the comfort of the couch, picture your body screaming incessantly to be indulged in physical activity. The benefits of adopting an active lifestyle are many. By conditioning the heart, strengthening the muscles and bones, it is undeniably the sure way to defend against ailments and undesired health issues.

It is never too early or late to start, pick up a suitable sport or activity for your age and stick with it. Just like how the saying goes, “prevention is way better than cure”, always keep in mind that what you do today will determine how thankful or bitter your body will turn out to be in the future.

3. No shortcut to success

Rather than feel discouraged, I would like to reiterate about managing expectations when leading a healthy lifestyle. I have come across many people who query as to the length of time it takes to build that perfect body or run their fastest race: “Will three months be enough?”, “Will half a year be adequate?”

My answer will typically be that fitness is a life-long commitment, even if you can successfully build a great body within a short period of time, it will take a lifetime to maintain the result. I am, in no way, trying to bring across the “If you are not up for it, then don’t bother” mentality. Viewing from another angle, I would tend to use this mindset to push myself and not slacken from any training session, this is because, reverting back to square one has and will never be an option.

4. Fitness is never a burden

I have had countless encounters with people who lament that they can never have time to work out. Work and family commitments have taken up so much of their 24 hours that they probably need another two to three more in order to slot physical activities into the mix. On the contrary, keeping fit does not require hours on end, a good 30 to 45 minutes of quality workout will suffice.

Moreover, fitness and gyms are two independent entities, you can gain your fair share of activities outside the gym. Either furnish your home with simple equipment such as dumb bells and resistance bands or you can spend the time at a nearby workout station. My advice will be to shorten the time spent in front of the TV or computer and strap on your workout gear. Before long, I am sure that it will manifest into a habit – a way of life.

5. Start small so as to gain big in the future

Rome wasn’t built in one day, I remember mentioning this phrase in my very first post. Even though the ambition to excel is key in achieving optimum fitness, but patience is an even more essential virtue. Progressive training bolsters confidence and ensures that the body is properly primed before proceeding to the next level of training.

Do not force yourself to run a marathon when you have not gone through the necessary training needed to even complete a fraction of it. Not only will the body be exposed to unnecessary injuries, I have seen some who give up altogether after succumbing to utter frustration and disappointment. Picture physical wellbeing as a huge majestic Lego castle, in order to achieve the final product, it requires one to carefully piece up those nondescript building blocks one after another.

6. You are what you eat

Yes, you have just completed 30 laps in the pool or ran a good 15 km and now you are famished, what would you reach out to curb that hunger? A choice of a wholesome healthy meal or comfort food which you tell yourself you have earned the right to eat it.

I believe all fitness trainers would agree to the fact that exercising is only the tip of the iceberg, the key to attaining fitness goals still very much rely on what we put on our plate. If you are not satisfied with your progress after some time, I would suggest that you re-evaluate your diet plan and see if more adjustments can be made. Dietary discipline is as, if not more, important than the determination to pursue an active lifestyle.

7. Prioritize 

I doubt any of us will absent ourselves from an important meeting, especially if you are chairperson. This is exactly the mentality that should be translated towards every training session. If you have already planned for gym in the evening, then don’t miss it for the world (unless something more urgent crops up).  Even if there are occasions where you would have to skip one or two, always ensure that makeup sessions are arranged thereafter. It might not be easy to adopt such a mentality at the start, but as you press on, I am sure it will eventually evolve into a need rather than a hassle.

8. Breaking the cycle

Adding variety into your exercise regimes can not only create new found momentum into your stride, it can even help break through your plateaus. The key is not to stick to one training plan for too long, as this will cause the body and mind to grow used to the repetitiveness, which in turn, can potentially impinge growth, making efforts counterproductive. With this in mind, the next time you hit the gym, think of new exercises that you can incorporate for each body part. You can also try taking a different jogging route for a change in scenery, who knows, you might like the new one better. The crux is to vary your workout plan every now and then so that the process remains fresh, thereby preventing interest from tapering off.

There might be more ways to encourage one to stay healthy, but the bottom line is that, in order to achieve and sustain a strong body, the key lies in priming the mind to pursue fitness as one of the major priorities in life.


Alvin Ho is a certified fitness trainer and entrepreneur with a passion for bringing the notion of living healthy and actively to the masses.



Comment (0)

RUN Singapore is the first flagship title created by Bold Ink Magazines in 2012. Positioned as the only running magazine in Singapore, the publication has since built its strong reputation within the running/sports industry. With almost 80% of all leading sports brands advertising with the magazine and a fast growing subscriber base, the publication is set to be the leading running magazine in the region.


Bold Ink Magazines Pte Ltd
8 Kaki Bukit Avenue 1
#01-01/02 Singapore 417941

Email: enquiry@runmagazine.asia