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Avoid These Foods At All Costs PG 62 WARNING!

Your Smartphone Is Ageing Your Skin


Tasty Alternatives To Potato Chips


Sleep Tight Every Night By Doing This One Thing PG 33



Best Sweat-Proof Eyeliners For The Gym

The 15-Minute Pilates And Tabata Workout That’ll Sculpt Your Entire Body

April 2018 On The Cover 22 STAYING BALANCED Meet Stephanie Bovis, the energetic host, yogi and fitness model with a megawatt personality.


33 WRITE OFF INSOMNIA A researchbacked trick to help you doze of if you can’t fall asleep without counting sheep.

38 SMALL TWEAKS, BIG RESULTS Your cheat sheet to burning 100 extra calories with minimal efort.

44 FLAT ABS AT ANY AGE An expert guide to getting your best belly in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. 50 THE NEW CALORIE-CRUSHING PILATES The best of fat burning and body sculpting come together in one scientifically proven, crazy-fast workout. 62 FEELING BLOATED? A list of common foods worth avoiding because they are surprisingly hard to digest.

86 SNACK THE RAINBOW Healthy crisps that are guaranteed to be BFFs with all your fave dips.

90 HOLD THE LINE The Shape team tested the best-rated waterproof eyeliners in the market. Find out which ones survived super sweaty gym workouts.

96 THE TECH EFFECT Our devices post numerous risks to our skin. We’ve got a plan to help you protect yourself.

Blast Belly Flab 48 RAMP THINGS UP Your go-to workouts can double as tummy firmers with some quick adjustments.

48 2 | SHAPE APRIL 2018

60 INTRODUCING THE KETTLEBELL This cannonball-shaped cast iron weight works your core in ways no other tool can match.

April 2018 Shape Your Life 19 NEWS A surprising way to reduce stress, easy ways to boost your energy levels, and topics every couple should discuss in-depth before settling down.


28 CONFIDENCE TO SPARE How to build up your confidence, no matter what your starting point. 30 THRILLS AND SPILLS The newly revamped Forest Adventure treetop obstacle course will get your heart racing and adrenalin pumping.

Live Healthy 34 NEWS Our review of a therapeutic hot stone therapy that has a host of benefits, including easing aches and pains. Plus, must-dos for good vaginal health. 36 POWER-TRAIN YOUR BRAIN How to boost your grey matter through exercise.


Get Fit 65 NEWS Tips to help you stick to your fitness resolutions, how to prevent wrist pain during planks and push-ups, and the best running stride for you.

68 A FRESH SPIN Burn a ton of calories and have some fun with this dynamic jump rope and conditioning circuit. 70 THE STAIR WORKOUT All you need is a set of stairs to do this kick-butt highintensity workout. 72 “INFRARED YOGA CLEARED UP MY SKIN OVERNIGHT” Associate editor Estelle e gave infrared yoga a go to see whether it lived up to its promises of better sleep, reduced muscle aches, and brighter skin. 74 CHATTING UP… MARGRIET VONNO The Dutch diplomat talks about her love for cycling, and her secrets to looking and feeling great.

4 | SHAPE APRIL 2018

April 2018

Eat Right 77 NEWS The best broths to order at hot pot restaurant Beauty In The Pot, and an unexpected benefit of drinking a glass of wine every day.


80 ADVENTURES IN PASTA Tips to make your favourite comfort food a whole lot healthier.

Look Great 89 NEWS Multitasking skin balms we love, and an easy way to keep your complexion hydrated all day. 94 JUICY SWEET From matte to creamy and glossy, we’ve picked 10 of the best berry-coloured lippies this season.


98 HEADS UP! YOU MAY NEED A SCALP DETOX Ditching certain habits for a new clean routine can help your hair grow full, shiny, and strong.


Just for Shape readers… 18 JOIN OUR STRONG FIT SQUAD Get stronger, fitter and healthier with this special community. Sign up at



6 | SHAPE APRIL 2018


Group Editor-In-Chief Caroline Ngui ( Group Editor Dhylan Boey ( Editor Zarelda Marie Goh ( Associate Editor Estelle Low ( Writer Dawn Chen ( Executive Sub-Editor Sandra Campbell ( Art Director Ray Christian Ticsay ( Chief Photographer Veronica Tay ( Executive Photographers Frenchescar Lim ( Wei Te ( Photographers Angela Guo ( ODarren Chang ( Chin ( OVernon Wong ( OZaphs Zhang ( Videographer Gong Yimin ( Assistant Photographer Phyllicia Wong ( Photography Assistant Sherman See-Tho (sseetho@sph Editorial Support Executive Wendy Wong ( Brand Lab Director Ong Ting Nee ( Editor Grace Chua ( Senior Writer Nida Seah ( Assistant Project Manager Nurasyidah Abdul Razak ( Senior Art Director Neccol Woo ( Art Director Kim Wong ( Art Director Feng Ling ( Senior Manager, Administration and Editorial Support Unit Juliana Chong ( Editorial Support Manager Alice Han ( Editorial Coordinator Nor Liyana Khalis ( Managing Director Maureen Wee ( General Manager Diana Lee ( Head, Sales & Marketing Caron Chan Assistant Account Managers Jane Seah OPeh Chin Ee Senior Marketing Executive Teo Qian Qian Account Director Irene Tan Associate Account Director Jenny Ong Account Executive (Digital) Sacha Anastasia Head, Business Development (Women’s Network) Angela Lok Director, Commercial Projects (Regional Account Management & International Licensing) Alice Rappa For sales enquiries, e-mail Fiona Ong: For marketing enquiries, e-mail Florence Loo: Director, Product And Innovation (New Media) Faith Yoong Senior Executive (New Media) Zoe Yew Publishing Services Team Head Clara Ng ( Senior Publishing Services Executive Wendy Ong (

Chief Executive Oicer Loh Yew Seng ( Strategic Planning Director Foong Seong Khong ( Publishing Services Director Leong Tscheng Yee ( Corporate Communications Head Chin Soo Fang ( Vice-President, Human Resources Irene Lee ( SINGAPORE is published by SPH Magazines Pte Ltd, 82 Genting Lane, Media Centre Level 7, Singapore 349567 tel 6319-6319 O fax 6319-6345 O ad sales enquiries 6319-6281 O e-mail Distributed by Circulation Department, Singapore Press Holdings. Printed by Toppan Security Printing Pte Ltd, registration no. 199408108K SPH Magazines registration no. 196900476M O MCI (P) 047/01/2018 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed or implied in Shape are those of the authors or contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Call 6388-3838 for back issues or e-mail

Shape, Copyright © by Meredith Corporation and SPH Magazines Pte Ltd. All rights reserved. Shape is a trademark of Meredith Corporation and is under licence from Meredith Corporation. This trademark may not be used or reproduced without the permission of Meredith Corporation. Meredith Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Oicer Stephen M. Lacy Chief Development Oicer John S. Zieser International Director Mike Lovell

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Advisory Board

CARDIOLOGY Dr Goh Ping Ping, cardiologist and echocardiologist, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE Sebastian Liew, medical herbalist and naturopath, Sebastian Liew Centre Dora Ng, principal acupuncturist, Complementary Integrative Medicine Clinic, Tan Tock Seng Hospital DENTAL Dr Christina Sim, consultant, restorative dentistry, National Dental Centre DERMATOLOGY Dr Cheong Wai Kwong, consultant dermatologist, Specialist Skin Clinic Dr Eileen Tan, consultant dermatologist, Eileen Tan Skin, Laser & Hair Transplant Clinic EAR, NOSE & THROAT Dr Kenny Pang, consultant, Asia Sleep Centre EXERCISE SPECIALIST Joan Liew, director and personal trainer, Fitness Factory GASTROENTEROLOGY Dr Gwee Kok Ann, medical director and consultant gastroenterologist, Stomach Liver and Bowel Clinic GYNAECOLOGY Dr Tan Thiam Chye, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital Dr Christopher Chong, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Chris Chong Clinic NUTRITION Jaclyn Reutens, clinical dietitian, Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants Vanessa McNamara, dietitian, ONCOLOGY Dr See Hui Ti, senior consultant, Medical Oncology, Parkway Cancer Centre OPHTHALMOLOGY Dr Lee Sao Bing, medical director, Shinagawa Eye Centre

10 | SHAPE APRIL 2018

PSYCHIATRY Dr Adrian Wang, consultant psychiatrist, Dr Adrian Wang Psychiatric and Counselling Care SPORTS MEDICINE Dr Jason Chia, head and senior consultant, Sports Medicine & Surgery Clinic, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Dr Patrick Goh, consultant sports physician, Sports Medicine International Dr Ben Tan, sports physician, head and senior consultant, Changi Sports Medicine Centre; medical director, Singapore Sports Medicine Centre WEIGHT MANAGEMENT Adjunct Associate Professor Tey Beng Hea, senior consultant endocrinologist, Division of Medicine; consultant I/C, Weight Management Programme, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital; member of NUHS INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH Call 6389-2222 or visit NATIONAL HEALTHCARE GROUP Call 6496-6000 or visit PACIFIC HEALTHCARE Call the 24-hour hotline: (65) 6883-6966 or visit PARKWAY HOSPITALS SINGAPORE For information on Parkway hospitals – Parkway East, Gleneagles and Mount Elizabeth – call the 24-hour hotline: (65) 6735-5000. RAFFLES HOSPITAL/RAFFLES MEDICAL Call the 24-hour hotline: (65) 6311-1111 or visit SINGHEALTH Visit JURONG HEALTH SERVICE Visit Any views expressed by the Members of the Editorial Advisory Board in this magazine are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine, nor are they sanctioned by this magazine. Members of the Editorial Advisory Board do not, by virtue of their membership, endorse or support any product or service advertised, or articles featured in this magazine. The articles in this magazine are for your information only. Do not substitute them for the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner or professional advisor.

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From The Editor’s Desk

Balance is the key to a healthy life


Connect with us on

12 | SHAPE APRIL 2018

Facebook @shapesingapore and

Instagram @shapesingapore



aintaining a healthy weight over a long-term period can be a challenge. We might put on extra kilos when the festive season comes around or overindulge in good food when we travel. And, depending on your body type, you’ll carry fat in some areas more than others. For many women, fat goes right to their bellies, which can become a real problem, especially as they get on in age. This is likely due to a decreasing level of oestrogen, which appears to affect where fat is stored in the body. It also doesn’t help that women generally have six to 11 per cent more body fat than men, no thanks to our physiological makeup (the increase in fat is said to help during pregnancy). If you’re struggling to get rid of stomach fat, you’re in luck. This issue’s special covers the topic in great detail. A must-read is the piece Flat Abs At Any Age (pg 44). It has important tips on how to overcome hormone shifts and metabolism dips in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. Besides that, there are workout tips as well as diet advice, which zones in on surprising foods that cause bloating – another cause for concern if you’re trying to get a trimmer tummy. Also, it would be wise to avoid them if you have a sensitive stomach. Getting flatter abs (or achieving any other body goal for that matter) is possible through a combination of diet and exercise. It often does take time though, so don’t give up if you don’t see visible results immediately.


Cover girl Stephanie Bovis was such a joy to photograph and interview. Writer Dawn loved how down-to-earth and friendly she was. Stephanie shares her tips for a healthy lifestyle on pg 22.

Need something fun to do at the weekends? The revamped Forest Adventure treetop obstacle course might be up your alley. Intern Claudia had a blast when she was there. More on pg 30.

Associate editor Estelle Low did an infared yoga class at Jal Yoga. This new yoga style claims to reduce muscle aches, enhance your complexion and help you sleep better. Did it live up its promises? Find out on pg 72.




Follow us on social media for exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, the latest health, fitness, food and beauty scoops... and more! Baking can be therapeutic. Just don’t eat too many of your creations.

Raw & Wild pili nuts are yummy and healthy. Available at

Shape Fit Girl 2017 Victoria Pang (left) and editor Zarelda at a shoot.

Curel’s Aging Care Series combats fine lines, dehydration and more.

Team Shape checked out the Forest Adventure obstacle course. Read about our experience on pg 30.

Make veggies a must at every meal.

Follow @shapesingapore on Instagram for exciting giveaways.

14 | SHAPE APRIL 2018

The new Airzone playground in City Square Mall is worth a visit. It appeals to kids and grown-ups alike.

Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

Home-cooked breakfasts are always healthier.

We love Innisfree’s latest makeup collection.

This lipstick bouquet from Shu Uemura brightened our day. The Chocolight range from Venchi 1878 is said to be healthier than other chocolates as it’s sweetened with malitol.

You’re only one workout away from a better mood.

Indulge in your favourite sweet treats in moderation.

Once in a while, take the road less travelled.

Organising things at home is a great way to de-stress. It helps to declutter your mind, too.



In the April issue… Shape Your Life Celebrity

n a time when it seems as though everyone is busy keep ng up appearances Stephan e Bovis s refresh ngly candid There are no airs about her; what you see s what you get Arriving early at our oice w thout a scrap of makeup there s just someth ng nstantly l keab e about this 29 year old fitness enthus ast yogi model and host Maybe t s her warm sm le and two perfect


dimples Or perhaps it s how easy it is to talk to her It s as though we re catch ng up with an old fr end and soon we re chatt ng about everything from workouts to having her colon c eansed! Yes we went there



The Malaysian Chinese Briti h beau y ived in multiple count ies including Hong Kong India and England befo e set ling in Singapore Growing up she was already athletic but her time was p it between spo ts and music Stephanie played he piano flute and ce lo from a young age but eventua ly stopped pu suing music o dedicate mo e ime to develop her fitness pas ions She’s we l versed in many por s and exercises ke yoga Braz lian iu itsu and touch rugby and is now wo king towards completing her first half marathon in under two hours and 5 minutes his May Wi h a constan ly packed schedule and so much on her pla e just how does S ephanie juggle it all wi hout burning out? We find out he rules she ives by for a healthier fit er and mo e mindful year ahead

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE When the oppo tunity to ake part in the upcoming Osim Sundown Marathon came around S ephanie took it Completing a ha f ma a hon has always been on her bucket list even though running




isn’t normally her go to exercise “I wan ed to cha lenge myse f plus the quest of doing something ompletely new exci es me ” she says “I am not the mo t av d long distance runner so I’m aware that his w ll take a lot of prepa ation ” To condi ion her body Stephanie now includes short to moderate distanced runs wice or thri e a week She’s also fo lowing a unning plan from health and fitness app Active8me as a bui d up to her half ma a hon Prior o this the longest dis ance she’d ever clocked was a 10km fun run back in 2015 “I actua ly hought that distance was pre ty easy” says S ephanie “I felt as if I could have done mo e ” But before you dismiss her as just one of hose natural bo n runners know this her fitness level is something she’s wo ked hard to maintain over many years And her weekly wo kout schedule already includes s rength t aining or HI T cla ses every o her day and yoga three to four imes a week

TREAT YOURSELF A gi l who eats is a girl after our own heart Halfway th ough he shoot we b eak for lunch and it’s something of a curiosity for he team when we see our cover girl digging into pizza and mea ba ls “Some imes pizza just hi s the spot ” says S ephanie gleefu ly She loves her kombucha and warm turmeric water but has no qualms admitting that her favourite foods are a l carbs “I love carbs I love po atoes sweet po atoes pasta quinoa brown rice he works! I’m only strict with my diet f I’m preparing for a gig or a shoot l ke today’s ” she says “It’s about maintaining balance f I have a hambu ger for lunch I ll just pick some hing ighter for dinner”


Pg 26 Our cover girl demonstrates important post-run stretches every runner should do.

Shape Your Life Get Of The Couch


DIGITAL EXCLUS VE! Watch a video of Claudia’s Forest Adventure expe ience The digital edition of Shape is ava lable for download at the App Store and Google Play

The newly revamped Forest Adventure treetop obstacle course will get your heart racing and adrena in pumping.


t was a regular day at he oice when a message popped up on my Gmail Chat It ead “Are you afraid of height ?” I was a it le hesitant o eply I am not afraid of heights but dangle me from a cl f and it’s an entirely diferent s o y I responded wi h a “no” hoping that I wasn’t getting my e f into anything I would later reg et Turns out I had been invited o sign up for and check out the evamped Forest Adventure Singapore’s only reetop obstacle course where obstacles made of rope and wood a e suspended from platforms of varying heights among he trees of Bedok Reservoir Park The objective to move from one pla form to another unt l you each the end Forest Adventure is divided into th ee smaller courses of varying diicul y I signed up for he G and Course $50 per pax) with 44 obs acles the highest s anding at 9 3m above ground level and three zip ines above water Participants have to be at least 1 5m tall o do this course THE BIG DAY I ta ked Shape associate editor Este le and writer Dawn into joining me As we surveyed our surroundings we we e a nervous bunch as a l of us felt intimda ed by the obstacles that looked larger han the photos

Being cons an ly a tached to the afety ine a lows you to emba k on the obstacle course independently The instructors were encouraging and quick to respond when we d d need a helping hand THE OBSTACLES The Grand Course was broken up into Green Red and Black Loops a l at d fe ent heights and wi h d fe ent obstacles We started wi h the Green Loop which had 15 obstacles Our fi st obstacle was the Big U We had to walk through a series of cargo nets suspended in mid air Taking the fi st tep of he secure pla form was both terr fying and exh lara ing But once I got star ed I fo got my fears and focused on t ying to w iggle my imbs out of he ne ting o prog ess fo ward It was either move or get trapped mid air We a l op ed for the former Interestingly the ubsequent obstacles were easier I was often so engrossed in t ying to find my footing that I barely pa d attention to he po sibi i y of fa ling Perhaps it was ike what Azmi who has over eight yea s of experience at Forest Adventure sa d he hardest obstacle is the fi st one In fact some of the obstacles were even fun! My favourite

we saw on ine But he e was no u ning back Gene al manager and instructor Mohammad Azmi Bin Rosli welcomed us and gave us a 20 minute safety briefing whe e we learned to put on our harnesses it is mandatory o wear one th oughout the course Then we were int oduced o the initiation step where we learnt how to hook ourselves onto he safety line with our karabine s And we stayed connected to hat safe y line h oughout the cour e

was he Tibetan Br dge a su pension b idge assembled from ca go ne ting It was literally a walk in the park as we eased through it THE HIGHLIGHTS An average of two and a half hours is required o complete the initia ion and the three loops of the Grand Course We took a little longer han expected and spent close o an hour just on the Green loop We were ready to ca l it a day wi hout attempting the Red and Black loops but Azmi refused to let us leave wi hout trying he Tarzan Swing the high ight of he G and Course which is best described as a mini bungee jump Simply put it involved leaping of a 9 6m deck to swing 15m into a net But it definitely wasn’t all hat simple I took a step of the pla form and let out a squeak as I swung face first towards the net This one has thri l seekers wri ten a l over it Af er comple ing the Tarzan Swing Azmi challenged me to try out the Grand Course’s hardest obs acle Sherwood C ossing This involved a series of oc agonal planks suspended in mid air between two platforms The planks we e spread out and each was upported by a single

rope from above Not quite sure what to expect I went ahead I placed one foot on the wooden plank and it immediately flipped on its side The e was no way for me to get onto the plank without fal ing of I ended up hauling myself across he ob tacle wi h my arms Azmi later sha ed the secret to completing the Sherwood C ossing but I’m not sharing it because I don’t want to spoil your fun However I wi l say hat some of the ob tacles involved more s reng h and balance than o he s And a l had ome hing in common They gave us a sense of accomplishment as we got through each of them

THE FINALE We ended our day at Forest Adventure with The Big Zip a 300m zip ine ac oss Bedok Reservoir that ook over a minute o complete It was refreshing to feel the b eeze against my skin and the unobs ructed view of the reservoir was b eathtaking Even Dawn who has a fear of heights thoroughly enjoyed eve y second of zip lining across the reservoir The day after I was surprised to find my a ms aching The experience wasn’t hat tiring but do not let that fool you into hinking you won’t be both physically and mentally wo n out Despite that it was a day of firsts and overcoming fears that had us in great spirits afterwa ds For more informa ion on Forest Adven u e visit www forestadventure com sg



Pg 30 Watch a video of the Shape team’s experience at the Forest Adventure treetop obstacle course.

Get Fit DIGITAL EXCLUS VE! Watch a video of Shape’s Jal Yoga experience The digital edition of Shape is available for download at the App Store and Google Play

p etty o dinary Each panel was meant o be directly above a yoga mat However he mats were arranged more densely when Team Shape was he e and we were told hat his wouldn’t afect he overall experience Inst uc or Perlen sta ted the ha ha yoga session wi h a e ies of brea hing exercises With zen music in the background I closed my eyes and imagined myself sitting on the beach soaking in he goodness of the sun Sim lar to hot yoga he infrared heat had a therapeutic efect My usua ly cold hands and feet warmed up quickly along with the re t of my body And I got in o deep stre ching poses l ke s anding forward bend easily I also felt ready o do more Pe len our instructor incorporated a number of stre ching postures that argeted the back shou ders hips and hamstrings Good for st f oice workers l ke us I thought And hen although the poses were gentle I b oke in o a sweat wi hin 5 minu es This was a sure sign hat my body was working ha d to detox itse f I peeked at my neighbours editor Za elda and intern Claudia and saw that hey we e al o pe spiring By the time we got to he wheel pose I was dripping so much sweat that I had to line my mat with a towel to avoid s ipping

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yoga a go to see whether it ived up to ts promises of better sleep reduced muscle aches and a brighter complexion


don’t be ieve in quick fixes But when something p omises to bet er my complexion almost immediately be it ligh ening my da k spots brigh ening my dull skin or ge ting rid of occasional pimples I’m w l ing o give it a shot I’m ta king about infrared yoga which involves a yoga session hea ed with an infrared radiant hea ing sys em The invisible

rays emi ted f om panels above are sa d to confer health benefits including enhanced heart health and circulation reduced cancer risk and faster recovery from injuries as we l as improved sleep and better looking skin Sounds l ke a load of bo d promises righ ? I thought so too until a quick Google search made me ealise how p evalent (and possibly legit) inf ared heat echnology was It’s used in sauna baths heated garments and heat he apy lamps o name a few And I recently found out that he hot blanket and tummy w ap which I’d been using for years at my neighbourhood spa give of infrared rays oo Nume ous studies have tes ed the eicacy of infrared adiation So far the p oven benefits include improved endu ance quicker post workout ecove y

reduced joint pain as well as muscle aches and a refined complexion Not surprisingly most of these efects are attr buted to the increased circulation So when I found out Jal Yoga did inf ared yoga he yogi in me cou dn’t wait o t y it I d always enjoyed hot yoga because the heat made my mind and muscles come a ive After director Jasmine Loh shared hat one inst uctor who spent three to four hours da ly in the infrared tudio had noticeably fairer and clearer skin af er one month I knew I had to ry it o see f it could help put an end to the on of breakouts on my fo ehead THE EXPERIENCE I expec ed more fr lls but other than the 28 infrared panels that radiated heat f om the ce ling he infrared yoga oom was

THE VERDICT The ambience was so soothing that Za elda and Claudia both fell asleep du ing the final savasana (corpse pose) something Za elda a regular yoga practitioner sa d “d dn’t usua ly happen” So did inf a ed yoga live up o its promises? Anecdotally it checked a few boxes Zare da’s fi ne s t acker eco ded that she d experienced deeper leep that night Claudia who at ended yoga for the first time hat day and whose muscles were tight and achy from running said he felt much more elaxed and flexible af erwa ds As for my elf I was de ighted to see that my forehead zits had sub ided It was as f hey were never he e Befo e the inf a ed yoga ses ion they had been ra her persistent and esis ant to tea ree o l My next s ep w ll be to see f regular infrared yoga wou d ighten my pigmenta ion and give me hat glow Jasmine alked about Jal Yoga is located at 991 Alexand a Road #01 03A tel 6251 07 0 Other forms of yoga such as vinyasa and kinetic a e al o available for he infrared class Visit www jalyoga com g for mo e info


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFRARED YOGA AND HOT YOGA Though bo h types a e done in heated ooms inf ared yoga uses infra ed radiation as the name suggests wh le hot yoga doesn’t Infrared yoga is also not as hot The infra ed heat hovers be ween 35 and 36 deg C while hot yoga is 37 to 39 deg C Ano her big diference Infrared hea s objects di ectly and without warming up he sur ounding air This means you’d feel less stufy in an infrared yoga oom As Jasmine of Jal Yoga puts it “The inf ared heat is so comfortable you’ l feel as though you’ e sunbathing on the beach without the UV rays ”


Pg 72 Find out if infrared yoga lives up to its promises of a brighter complexion and other benefits.

Eat Right

Visit for more details. Now available at

Adventures in pasta



Pg 60 Get the recipes for hearty and healthy pasta dishes.





Get stronger, fitter and healthier with the Strong Fit Squad, a newly launched community that focuses on exercising smart, eating right and living well!


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Your Life Shape



Stress no more Feeling anxious? Snif your lover’s clothes. Research from the University of British Columbia found that women feel calmer after being exposed to their male partner’s natural scent. Following a stress test, the study’s participants had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after smelling their man’s T-shirt. Conversely, those who snifed a stranger’s scent had higher cortisol levels. For a longer-lasting, therapeutic efect, wear your guy’s tee, or sleep on his side of the bed.



Shape Your Life News

a cup of green tea. In comparison to cofee, green tea is less likely to interfere with your sleep cycle because it contains a smaller dose of cafeine. Additionally, green tea also contains heart-healthy polyphenols.



e’ve all been there. Regardless of how enticing a flash sale is or how intriguing that new movie is, you just don’t have the energy for it. If you are tired of feeling sluggish all the time, it’s time for a change. Skip the extra cups of coffee and try these five methods to boost your energy levels. CUT THE SMOKES Besides increasing your risk of conditions like lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, the toxins and tar in the smoke from cigarettes can also reduce the eiciency of your lungs. What this means is over time, there will be less oxygen transported around your body, which can make you feel lethargic.


YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE While hitting the snooze button might be a tempting option when your alarm goes of in the morning, you could be interrupting your hormonal cycle if you keep waking up and going back to bed. This, in turn, makes it harder to get going because you may not feel fully rested. Instead of hitting snooze, try setting your alarm for 10 to 15 minutes later and place your phone across the room so you’ll have to walk over to silence it. COFFEE OR TEA? Having a cup of joe can help to increase alertness and sharpen your mind. However, when consumed in large volumes or after lunch, it can cause insomnia. If you need a morning pick-me-up, swop your cofee for

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE When you laugh, you’re reducing stress levels and releasing feel-good hormones which can not only boost your immune system, but also give you an instant energy boost. Take this as your cue to go ahead and watch those funny videos. MAKE A TOAST TO MORE ENERGY You should never say yes to a nightcap because alcohol can prevent your body from entering REM sleep. So, even though you get plenty of sleep, you still don’t feel well-rested and energised. Also, alcohol is a diuretic. If you have a tipple before hitting the sack, your sleep might get disrupted because the alcohol can make you get up during the night to pee. If you do enjoy winding down with a glass of wine, make sure to drink within recommended guidelines. According to the Health Promotion Board, women should drink no more than one standard drink (with 10g of alcohol) a day and men should limit themselves to two standard drinks per day. Also, avoid having a drink too close to bedtime.



Think you’ve found your Mr Right? You may want to discuss these major issues before saying “I do”. O Parents, in-laws and family Conversations regarding parents are never going to be easy but they’re absolutely necessary. Before deciding to get married, make it a point to speak to your partner about everything related to external family matters. For example, while birthday celebrations for your in-laws are mandatory to attend, would birthday celebrations and other special events for cousins, aunties and everyone else be mandatory, too? While it might seem silly at first, everyone’s family is diferent and may have a diferent dynamic from yours. Plus, for some in-laws, not showing up at family events could be a point of contention and a sign of disrespect. It’s best to check and listen to what your partner has to say. O Finances For couples who have an income disparity with one another, talking about finances and how exactly you’ll split your pay is extremely important. Knowing just how much you’ll put aside for essential items like groceries and bills could help prevent arguments. O Career goals Say you see yourself working in a diferent city like Hong Kong in the future. Would your future spouse be comfortable with that? Being able to speak about your dreams and goals can help determine the course of the relationship and how things will work out. This way, if you spring the idea of working or living in

another city in the future or have a work goal that could afect the relationship, he’ll be completely aware of it. O Children or fur children For some, having children to carry on their legacy is a life-long goal. For others, simply having pets (or fur kids) is equivalent to having human children. Whichever you choose, know that your decisions are completely valid. And does he feel the same way? Knowing this could either make or break the relationship. O Religion Another extremely touchy

subject in our conservative Asian society, religion has always and will continue to be a point of contention for many couples and their families, especially since conversion in order to marry is a requirement for some religions. While such matters should only be between the parties involved in the relationship, pressure from families and in-laws could cause unnecessary stress and unhappiness. Whichever the case, it’s important to stay rooted in your decision as a couple and work as a team to come to a compromise or solution. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | SHAPE YOUR LIFE |








Shape Your Life Celebrity

n a time when it seems as though everyone is busy keeping up appearances, Stephanie Bovis is refreshingly candid. There are no airs about her; what you see is what you get. Arriving early at our oice without a scrap of makeup, there’s just something instantly likeable about this 29-year-old fitness enthusiast, yogi, model and host. Maybe it’s her warm smile and two perfect dimples. Or perhaps it’s how easy it is to talk to her. It’s as though we’re catching up with an old friend and soon, we’re chatting about everything from workouts to… having her colon cleansed! Yes, we went there. The Malaysian Chinese-British beauty lived in multiple countries, including Hong Kong, India and England before settling in Singapore. Growing up, she was already athletic but her time was split between sports and music. Stephanie played the piano, flute and cello from a young age but eventually stopped pursuing music to dedicate more time to develop her fitness passions. She’s well-versed in many sports and exercises, like yoga, Brazilian jiujitsu and touch rugby, and is now working towards completing her first halfmarathon in under two hours and 15 minutes this May. With a constantly packed schedule and so much on her plate, just how does Stephanie juggle it all without burning out? We find out the rules she lives by for a healthier, fitter and more mindful year ahead.

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONEWhen the opportunity to take part in the upcoming Osim Sundown Marathon came around, Stephanie took it. Completing a half-marathon has always been on her bucket list even though running

isn’t normally her go-to exercise. “I wanted to challenge myself, plus the quest of doing something completely new excites me,” she says. “I am not the most avid long-distance runner so I’m aware that this will take a lot of preparation.” To condition her body, Stephanie now includes short- to- moderate-distanced runs twice or thrice a week. She’s also following a running plan from health and fitness app Active8me as a build-up to her halfmarathon. Prior to this, the longest distance she’d ever clocked was a 10km fun run back in 2015. “I actually thought that distance was pretty easy,” says Stephanie. “I felt as if I could have done more.” But before you dismiss her as just one of those natural-born runners, know this: her fitness level is something she’s worked hard to maintain over many years. And her weekly workout schedule already includes strengthtraining or HIIT classes every other day, and yoga three to four times a week.

TREAT YOURSELF A girl who eats is a girl after our own heart. Halfway through the shoot, we break for lunch and it’s something of a curiosity for the team when we see our cover girl digging into pizza and meatballs. “Sometimes pizza just hits the spot,” says Stephanie gleefully. She loves her kombucha and warm turmeric water, but has no qualms admitting that her favourite foods are all carbs. “I love carbs. I love potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, quinoa, brown rice… the works! I’m only strict with my diet if I’m preparing for a gig or a shoot like today’s,” she says. “It’s about maintaining balance. If I have a hamburger for lunch, I’ll just pick something lighter for dinner.”



YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE A self-professed thrill-seeker, nothing fazes Stephanie. Skydiving? Check. Bungee jumping? Check. Eating insects? Check. (“Grasshoppers are delicious!” she adds.) She’s always up for an adventure and is all for living on the edge and pushing boundaries. “I love it because it’s insane,” she says. “I know that when I’m 60, I’m not going to want to do the crazy things I’m currently doing. And since we’re only in this world for a short time, we have to make the most of it.”

KNOW YOUR BODY Back in 2017, Stephanie embarked on an intensive two-week exercise and diet regime to get ripped for a fitness photo shoot. In order to look her best, she did HIIT exercises daily and drastically altered her macronutrient intake, sodium, and water levels prior to the shoot. “I remember feeling like a

carnivorous fiend when I had to do protein loading. I would eat a whole chicken, a Philly cheesesteak omelette, and a hefty protein shake – all in one day and all by myself,” says Stephanie. “That said, the hardest part of this crazy dieting was dehydrating myself as I neared my shoot day.” To achieve the most obvious muscle definition, abstaining from water is actually one of the quickest ways to get the body to appear leaner. Our cells hold on to water and dehydration not only dries up the skin, but also makes it stick tighter to your muscles, giving them a more defined appearance. Although the results may seem promising, Stephanie warns against adopting this as a weight management technique. “Honestly, living like that just isn’t sustainable,” she says. “I was moody and agitated all the time. It’s important for people to realise that body builders and physique models only maintain

that ‘peak body’ for a few hours. You only achieve that kind of definition through food and water manipulation, which oftentimes involves long periods of dehydration. It’s not healthy.”

STRIKE A BALANCE Turning to alternative therapies was the norm for Stephanie around four years ago. For a while, she was a huge believer in meridian points, chakras and sound therapy, and even had regular cofee enemas, which meant shooting a specially brewed cofee concoction up the anus to cleanse the colon and detox her system. “It was introduced by friends in my meditation community and I did it three or four times a week,” says Stephanie. When her body had an adverse reaction to the practice and she broke out in pimples and sufered from inflammation and bloating after weeks, she stopped doing this. In recent years though, she’s learnt to not blindly follow such new-age practices. “I’ve definitely changed as a son and I’ve become more grounded,” ays. “My partner influenced me in od way. He’s an extremely logical rson yet very respectful of my beliefs. Itt was only when he asked me things like why is the heart chakra green?’ that I ‘w realised my head was probably stuck in the clouds. I couldn’t answer him properly and I realised that I actually didn’t know anything about what I believed.” These days, Stephanie describes herself as having a much healthier relationship with reason and the unknown. “It’s okay to believe in alternative practices,” she says. “But it’s also good to take a step back and not base your entire life on it.”

BE KIND TO YOURSELF “I am a firm believer of adjusting my wellness regime according to the phase of my cycle,” says Stephanie. “Women need to realise that our bodies undergo massive changes in a month, thanks to hormonal fluctuations.” As such, she has no qualms scaling back her workouts if she doesn’t feel good and treating herself to her favourite foot massages if she’s feeling crappy. Slowing down doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It’s normal to have good days and bad days.


Celebrity Shape Your Life




Take the time to quieten your mind and ask yourself how you’re honestly feeling. Find an outlet to organise your thoughts. “As an emotional person, I tended to lash out at others when I was upset. Nowadays, I’ll write down what I’m feeling point by point in order to process my thoughts. By doing so, I can decide if I want to just let it go or turn the situation into something bigger than it really is.”








Living life in the fast lane can sometimes feel like a mad rush, which paves the way for burn out and carelessness. “Something I’m really working on this year is to stop rushing through things,” says Stephanie. “I normally finish my meals in just three to five minutes, but I’m currently in the process of learning to move, eat and do things slower.”

In our social-media-obsessed world, it’s easy to start living in a digital bubble where everything is a post or a status update. It’s important to disconnect once in a while. There shouldn’t be pressure to share and constantly update your feeds just to maintain a certain image. When in doubt, ask yourself who you’re really trying to impress, says Stephanie, whose Instagram account was set to private at the time of our shoot. “I just don’t post as much anymore. I want to be more present with people instead.”

You don’t have to please everyone. It’s really okay to say ‘no’ sometimes. “Know your own bandwidth,” says Stephanie. “There were times in the past where I’d pack my schedule with back-toback gigs and projects. In the end, I felt like I wasn’t giving my 100 per cent.”



Shape Your Life Celebrity





Engages the glutes, quads and core while improving balance and stability. This helps to activate the muscles in the lower body before a run. [A] Step backwards into lunge. [B] Twist upper body towards direction of front knee. [C] Return to starting position and repeat other side.


Works the entire body. This is a great warm-up exercise for any runner to wake up the hip flexors and hip extensors, and train endurance in the quads. It can help lengthen a runner’s stride as well. [A] Position hands at a 90-degree angle from body. [B] Lift legs one at a time so knees touch palms. Repeat as fast as you can.








Strengthens the adductors and abductors, and helps with stability. This activates the muscles in the legs that are often neglected in traditional lower body exercises. [A] Start in side lunge position. [B] Repeatedly switch sides as fast as you can.


Strengthens quads, hamstrings and glutes. Do this if you want to target and load weight on a specific leg. [A] Start in squat position. [B] Shift body weight onto left leg so hips are above ankles, and then stand. [C] Lower body into squat again and shift weight back to centre. Repeat on other side.







Many runners tend to neglect strengthtraining exercises, preferring instead to focus on just clocking longer distances and working on endurance. However, strength-training is equally important. “It helps to protect your joints and increase muscle awareness so that you’re activating the right muscle groups during your run,” says Stephanie. Here are the top eight moves every runner should do in order to finish faster and stronger. Do as many reps of each move in good form as possible for 30 seconds per side. Do this sequence at least thrice weekly for best results. Additionally, make sure you stretch and include neck, shoulder and ankle rotations to warm up and protect your joints before runs as well. Aim to do five rotations per side slowly every day.







Strengthens the arms and core, and improves motor coordination skills and balance. This helps to activate the muscles in the upper body before a run. [A] Start in plank position. [B] Do push-up. [C] Transition into side plank. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.




Strengthens the muscles in the upper body and activates the core. This is a great exercise for runners to warm up the upper body. Even doing as little as two or three reps will yield benefits. [A] Get into downward dog position. [B] Shift weight forwards and flow into upward dog without letting your body touch the floor. [C] Push back into downward dog, again without letting your body touch the floor.






Works the entire body. This warm-up exercise is especially good for the hamstrings. [A] Put hands behind butt. [B] Kick legs backwards one at a time to touch palms. Repeat as fast as you can.



A dynamic stretch and mobility exercise, leg swings are important for runners because they warm up the hip joints and can prevent future injury. [A] Kick leg forward and [B] back as high as you can in one movement. Swing arms as you do so to maintain balance. [C] Kick legs side to [D] side, and as high as you can.








Shape Your Life

It makes you happy and successful, and how much you have is totally within your control. Here’s how to build it up, no matter what your starting point.


o get what you want – at work, in the gym, in your life – it’s crucial to have confidence, which is something we’ve all learned through experience. But the degree to which that mindset matters when driving your success may surprise you. “Confidence is on par with competence when it comes to achievement,” says Cameron Anderson, a professor in the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley. When you feel good about yourself, you are willing to take risks and better able to rebound from setbacks. You also think more creatively and push yourself harder, he says. Confidence even helps you harness the positive power of stress, according to research from the University of Chicago. People who are unsure of themselves are more likely to see symptoms of tension (like sweaty palms) as signs that they’re about to fail, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Confident people aren’t bogged down by such negativity and can reap the benefits of the stress response (like sharper thinking) and perform better under pressure. “Genetics account for up to 34 per cent of confidence,” Cameron says. You control the other two-thirds. How confident you feel is based on calculations your brain makes by weighing factors like past experiences against traits like optimism. Improving your confidence means mastering that equation. These tips will help.

HEED THE POWER People who have what experts call “growth mindsets” – the belief that anyone can become good at something, regardless of their initial skill level – tend to be more confident than those who think skills are innate, Cameron says. A growth mindset incites you to move past failures and take more encouragement from success. To adopt this positive-thinking style, he suggests paying attention to small wins. “These will build your belief in your abilities, so when you’re confronted with more diicult tasks, you’ll feel more selfassured,” he says. Celebrating those minor achievements also helps you see all your progress as you work toward a goal. BUILD YOUR MENTAL STRENGTH Working out is one of the most powerful things you can do to increase confidence, says Louisa Jewell, author of Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt. “When you exercise, your brain receives messages from your body that say, ‘I’m strong and capable. I can lift heavy things and run long distances’,” she explains. Exercise releases energising, moodboosting endorphins, relieves tension, and distracts you from negative thoughts, says Oili Kettunen, an expert in health exercise at the Sport Institute of Finland. To benefit, do at least 180 minutes of exercise a week, or 30 to 40 minutes five days a week, she says. And work out in the morning if you can swing it. “The lasting sense of accomplishment you get will influence your behaviour all day,” Louisa says. POWER UP WITH YOGA Certain poses may help you build confidence, according to new research in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The mountain pose (standing with your legs together and spine as well as chest lifted) and eagle pose (standing with your arms raised to shoulder height and crossed in front of the chest) boost energy and feelings of empowerment. Why? Other research shows yoga may

When you feel good about yourself, you are willing to take risks and better able to rebound from setbacks.

stimulate the vagus nerve – a cranial nerve that runs from the brain to the abdomen – and increase stamina, well-being, and self-esteem, says study author Agnieszka Golec de Zavala. The changes were evident after just two minutes, she adds. Her advice: “Do yoga regularly. It may have long-lasting benefits. It can afect the central nervous system in a profound, enduring way to improve energy and build confidence.” REWRITE YOUR STORY People create narratives about their abilities, says Louisa. “That’s when you tell yourself, I’m not the CrossFit type, or I’m terrified of public speaking,” she explains. But you have the power to redefine how you self-categorise to blow past those mental barriers. Start with the way you talk to yourself. When you’re thinking about an area of your life that triggers self-doubt, use third-person pronouns: “Jennifer is nervous” instead of “I’m nervous,” researchers from the University of Bufalo suggest. It sounds silly, but it works. People who used the technique before giving a speech felt more positive about their performance than those who didn’t. Third-person thinking may create a sense of distance between you and whatever is igniting your insecurity. It lets you reinvent yourself as someone more accomplished. WATCH YOURSELF WIN When you imagine or visualise yourself doing something, your brain reacts as if you were really doing it, research from the University of Washington shows. That helps when you’re training for a specific event, like running a race or giving a wedding toast. But certain visualisation exercises also help increase your overall selfesteem. Start by picturing a situation where you feel most confident, suggests Mandy Lehto, a UK-based personal coach. Make the scenario as specific as possible. How are you standing? What are you wearing? Do this for a couple of minutes once or twice a day, Mandy says. It works because it lets you practice feeling self-assured, strengthening the brain circuits that tell you you’re prepared and capable. After a while, you’ll be able to draw on those positive feelings whenever you need them. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | SHAPE YOUR LIFE |


Shape Your Life Get Of The Couch

THRILLS AND SPILLS The newly revamped Forest Adventure treetop obstacle course will get your heart racing and adrenalin pumping.


THE BIG DAY I talked Shape associate editor Estelle and writer Dawn into joining me. As we surveyed our surroundings, we were a nervous bunch as all of us felt intimdated by the obstacles that looked larger than the photos


Claudia on the Big U obstacle.

we saw online. But there was no turning back. General manager and instructor Mohammad Azmi Bin Rosli welcomed us and gave us a 20-minute safety briefing where we learned to put on our harnesses – it is mandatory to wear one throughout the course. Then we were introduced to the initiation step, where we learnt how to hook ourselves onto the safety line with our karabiners. And we stayed connected to that safety line throughout the course.

The Grand Course at Forest Adventure.


t was a regular day at the oice when a message popped up on my Gmail Chat. It read: “Are you afraid of heights?” I was a little hesitant to reply. I am not afraid of heights, but dangle me from a clif and it’s an entirely diferent story. I responded with a “no”, hoping that I wasn’t getting myself into anything I would later regret. Turns out, I had been invited to sign up for and check out the revamped Forest Adventure, Singapore’s only treetop obstacle course, where obstacles made of rope and wood are suspended from platforms of varying heights among the trees of Bedok Reservoir Park. The objective: to move from one platform to another until you reach the end. Forest Adventure is divided into three smaller courses of varying diiculty. I signed up for the Grand Course ($50 per pax) with 44 obstacles – the highest standing at 9.3m above ground level – and three zip lines above water. Participants have to be at least 1.5m tall to do this course.

Azmi doing the safety briefing for the Shape team.

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE! Watch a video of Claudia’s Forest Adventure experience. The digital edition of Shape is available for download at the App Store and Google Play.

Dawn taking the Big Zip across Bedok Reservoir.

Being constantly attached to the safety line allows you to embark on the obstacle course independently. The instructors were encouraging and quick to respond when we did need a helping hand. THE OBSTACLES The Grand Course was broken up into Green, Red and Black Loops, all at diferent heights and with diferent obstacles. We started with the Green Loop, which had 15 obstacles. Our first obstacle was the Big U. We had to walk through a series of cargo nets suspended in mid-air. Taking the first step of the secure platform was both terrifying and exhilarating. But once I got started, I forgot my fears and focused on trying to wriggle my limbs out of the netting to progress forward. It was either move or get trapped mid-air. We all opted for the former. Interestingly, the subsequent obstacles were easier. I was often so engrossed in trying to find my footing that I barely paid attention to the possibility of falling. Perhaps it was like what Azmi, who has over eight years of experience at Forest Adventure said: the hardest obstacle is the first one. In fact, some of the obstacles were even fun! My favourite

was the Tibetan Bridge – a suspension bridge assembled from cargo netting. It was literally a walk in the park as we eased through it. THE HIGHLIGHTS An average of two and a half hours is required to complete the initiation and the three loops of the Grand Course. We took a little longer than expected and spent close to an hour just on the Green loop. We were ready to call it a day without attempting the Red and Black loops, but Azmi refused to let us leave without trying the Tarzan Swing, the highlight of the Grand Course, which is best described as a mini bungee jump. Simply put, it involved leaping of a 9.6m deck to swing 15m into a net. But it definitely wasn’t all that simple. I took a step of the platform and let out a squeak as I swung face first towards the net. This one has thrill seekers written all over it. After completing the Tarzan Swing, Azmi challenged me to try out the Grand Course’s hardest obstacle: Sherwood Crossing. This involved a series of octagonal planks suspended in mid-air between two platforms. The planks were spread out and each was supported by a single

Estelle was so relieved after completing the Tarzan Swing.

rope from above. Not quite sure what to expect, I went ahead. I placed one foot on the wooden plank and it immediately flipped on its side. There was no way for me to get onto the plank without falling of. I ended up hauling myself across the obstacle with my arms. Azmi later shared the secret to completing the Sherwood Crossing, but I’m not sharing it because I don’t want to spoil your fun. However, I will say that some of the obstacles involved more strength and balance than others. And all had something in common. They gave us a sense of accomplishment as we got through each of them.

THE FINALE We ended our day at Forest Adventure with The Big Zip, a 300m zip line across Bedok Reservoir that took over a minute to complete. It was refreshing to feel the breeze against my skin, and the unobstructed view of the reservoir was breathtaking. Even Dawn, who has a fear of heights, thoroughly enjoyed every second of zip-lining across the reservoir. The day after, I was surprised to find my arms aching. The experience wasn’t that tiring but do not let that fool you into thinking you won’t be both physically and mentally worn out. Despite that, it was a day of firsts and overcoming fears that had us in great spirits afterwards. For more information on Forest Adventure, visit www.

All smiles after conquering Forest Adventure. That’s art director Ray on the left. He directed and shot the video.





Healthy Live


Write off insomnia


If you can’t fall asleep without counting sheep, here’s one trick that seems worth a shot: writing a to-do list. Researchers at Baylor University in Texas conducted a study that was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. The experiment had 57 healthy participants between 19 and 30 spend the night at a sleep lab. All were given a five-minute writing assignment before hitting the sack. Half were asked to write about the things they needed to do over the next few days (to-do list), while the others were asked to write about the things they’d completed over the past few days (completed list). Results showed that those who wrote to-do lists fell asleep by an average of nine minutes faster than those who wrote completed lists. Researchers think the act of offloading one’s mind through writing probably helps to ease bedtime worry, so go ahead and pen down tomorrow’s tasks before hitting the sack!



Live Healthy News

Dawn and Estelle were all smiles after their hot stone therapy session.

is actually the most comfortable position for me as I frequently have gut issues. The heat from the stones warms my tummy. It feels as though I have a giant hot water bottle draped across my belly. It’s also recommended that you spend some time lying on your sides to target the lymph nodes in your armpit areas. Lymph nodes help to filter and drain toxins from your body. Stimulating them is supposed to help speed up this process.



n a gist, ganbanyoku – “rock bathing” in Japanese – is a treatment where you lie on volcanic stone slabs that are heated to 45 deg C, and said to release far infrared rays (FIR) and negative ions to help boost the release of toxins from the body through perspiration. As they do not contain UV rays, FIR are very safe, ofering benefits that include improving blood circulation, aiding detoxification, easing pains, and regulating digestion. As I frequently have shoulder aches and a weak gut, I was game to give it a shot. No harm trying, right? Associate editor Estelle and I went for a session recently. Here’s what to expect. THE EXPERIENCE When you first arrive, you’ll have to change into the provided top and bottom for the treatment. You’re expected to strip down (no undies or bras) for maximum eicacy. If you’re uncomfortable with that, wear yours but do bring a spare pair to change into post-treatment since you’ll likely be sweaty. Disposable ones are not provided. Each person will also be given two towels. You can use these to wipe down after the treatment or to lie on during the


hot stone therapy if the heat becomes unbearable. And, before entering the room, you’ll be given a cup of water to drink. Due to the heat, you’ll lose a lot of water during the treatment so it’s normal to feel thirsty. The key is to stay hydrated throughout. You’re also allowed to bring in a cup of water. Inside the treatment room, the temperature is comfortable. The heat is nowhere near that of a sauna or steam room. The ganbanyoku stones are maintained at roughly 45 deg C and they’re comfortable to sit on. When you first step on the hot stone slabs, warm your extremities first (by placing your feet and palms flat on the stones). Once you’re ready, slowly lower your body and lie flat on the hot stones. There is a little pillow provided to support your head. Alternatively, you may also roll up one of your towels and use it as a pillow. It’s recommended that you stay in one position for roughly 10 minutes before moving on to the next position. Somehow, as time goes by, the stones do feel hotter and I jump when my bare skin touches the slab. That said, the heat definitely helps to soothe achy muscles. After spending 10 minutes on our backs, we flip over to warm our abdomens. This

THE VERDICT My body was covered in a light layer of perspiration by the end of the session. I left the room feeling relaxed – and very hungry. Over the next few days, I noticed that my hands weren’t as cold anymore (they used to turn icy in the oice). The morning after ganbanyoku, Estelle and I also had no problems emptying our bowels (normal for me but very unusual for her). Perhaps there’s some truth in the detoxing bit. While there’s no scientific way of knowing for sure how efective it was, ganbanyoku was a comfortable treatment. The most immediate benefit is the rosy glow you get once you come out of the heated room. Skin will feel noticeably softer, too. Give ganbanyoku a try if you’re curious. At just $20 per session, it is pretty afordable and at the very least, you’ll leave the session feeling more relaxed! - DAWN CHEN Open from 10am to 9pm daily, Ganbanyoku Hot Stone Therapy is at #02-29 Far East Plaza, tel: 6208-9357.

STAY HEALTHY DOWN BELOW Good bacteria, the same types that are in your gut, are essential for sexual health too. Here’s how to keep them in sync.



hey’re tiny but powerful. Bacteria help to make your entire body healthy – even below the belt. “The vagina has a natural microbiome that’s similar to the one in your gut,” says Dr Leah Millheiser, a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Stanford University. It contains good bacteria that keep everything running smoothly and bad bugs that can lead to issues like yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. And, just like the bugs in your GI tract, certain meds and other factors can cause the vaginal microbes to fall out of balance, increasing your risk of infection or irritation. Keep your good bugs – and your vagina – healthy with these sciencebacked strategies.

DON’T BE A CLEAN FREAK Most of us know that douching is not a good idea. However, a recent practice called vaginal steaming, where you sit over a pot of steaming water filled with medicinal herbs, has been getting attention. Fans say it does several things, including “cleansing” the uterus and rebalancing hormone levels. Still, you should ignore the buzz. “Douching or steaming can get rid of good bacteria,” Dr Millheiser says. If you’re worried about odour, it’s fine to occasionally use wipes after exercise or during the day, but stick to unscented ones and don’t overuse them; one swipe is plenty. Dr Millheiser also says to stop immediately if you experience burning or irritation.

POP A PROBIOTIC Choose one that contains at least two strains of lactobacillus, like GNC Probiotic Solutions Women’s ($93.50), which can increase healthy vaginal bacteria levels. So, can probiotic yogurt – eating it or, if advised by your doctor, delivering it straight to the source. “If a patient has a yeast infection and is taking oral antifungal pills, I’ll occasionally suggest using a syringe or an applicator to place two tablespoons of plain, probiotic-rich yogurt into the vagina,” Dr. Millheiser says. (Again, check with your physician before trying this.) DO A QUICK CHANGE Many of us sit in sweaty gym clothes while grabbing a bite or running errands. “That creates a

warm, moist environment known to lead to the overgrowth of yeast,” Dr Millheiser says. Change before you leave the gym. If you can’t, wear underwear with a cotton gusset. It’s breathable, so you’ll stay drier, giving yeast and unhealthy bacteria less opportunity to overgrow.

PICK LUBRICANT WISELY Avoid one that contains glycerine. It’s a common ingredient, but it breaks down into sugars, which may encourage bacteria or yeast overgrowth. Look for glycerine-free options, and never use petroleum jelly; women who did so were 2.2 times more likely to have bacterial vaginosis, the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology reports. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | LIVE HEALTHY |


Live Healthy



ou know exercise is great for your body and mood. But new research is showing that it can have an equally profound efect on your thinking skills. “Working out is one of the most powerful things you can do to strengthen the brain,” says Wendy Suzuki, a professor of neural science and psychology at New York University. “A single workout triggers physiological changes that improve mental function,” she says. You don’t have to go all out, either. “Taking a walk stimulates the release of serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and endorphins and makes you feel calmer and happier,” Wendy explains. Those efects last for several hours,

but if you hit the gym regularly, they may persist long term. Exercise trains you to push yourself when your body is telling you to stop, and that may help you remain calm when under pressure, research from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, found. Working out also triggers the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that builds the brain’s resilience to stress. The efects of exercise are so powerful, in fact, that some research indicates it could regulate mood as successfully as antidepressants. A 20-minute bike ride raises levels of glutamate and GABA, two neurotransmitters that help the brain

bounce back from negative emotions, a recent study at the UC Davis Medical Center in California found. Along with making you happier, your workouts are growing your brain – literally. As you sweat, fatty acids in your system break down into ketone bodies. These molecules activate the gene responsible for producing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), according to research from New York University. “It spurs the creation of new brain cells, helps nerve cells communicate, and strengthens brain synapses to improve reaction time, memory, and decision-making,” says study author Moses Chao. Exercise also increases volume in the

hippocampus, an area of the brain that regulates memory, by 2 per cent each year, researchers from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana report. “The new cells and increased neural connections improve long-term and short-term memory,” says study author Arthur Kramer. People who didn’t exercise lost 1.4 per cent of volume in the same area. Bottom line: Being sedentary may be as risky for your mind as having the Alzheimer’s genes, he says. Make your brain the sharpest and strongest it can be with these mind- and muscle-building strategies.

Dr Helen Lavretsky. “It also reduces stress and inflammation.” You’ll score extra points for activities that require you to think on your feet, like a dance class. They make your white matter even healthier, according to the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. “When you learn new moves or memorise choreography, your brain changes – an efect neuroscientists call plasticity,” Moses says. “As we grow older, our circuits tend to become less plastic, but doing something diferent can help stimulate your mind to keep it stronger and sharper.”


RUN THE GAMUT For the biggest brain benefits, mix up your routine. Cardio produces feel-good neurotransmitters, BDNF, and grey matter, while “resistance training protects white matter – specialised brain cells that pass messages from one part of your brain to another,” says Teresa Liu-Ambrose, a professor in the department of physical therapy at the University of British Columbia. Yoga has its own perks: When combined with meditation, an hour a week improves memory, multitasking, and mood, one study found. “Yoga increases connectivity in parts of the brain involved in memory, language skills, and attention,” says researcher

in PLOS One found that after spending three days in the wild, hikers performed problem-solving tasks 50 per cent better. Getting active outdoors has a recuperative efect as well. “Being in nature allows the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s command centre, to dial down and rest,” says David Strayer, a professor of cognition and neuroscience at the University of Utah. “Your brain needs rest days just as your muscles do, and getting outside delivers that.”

“Do your workouts when you need the brain boost most, like in the morning, to help you focus, learn, and retain new information,” Wendy says. You’ll also feel more alert and positive for the day ahead. And push yourself out of your comfort zone. “The perks of a 45-minute moderate or intense workout will last for several hours,” she says.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE Doing your routine outdoors may be even better for your mind. Sunlight increases serotonin, which makes you feel happy and awake, studies reported in Environmental Science & Technology found. Getting active outside also boosts critical thinking: A study

Eat a snack that has 20g of protein and 35g of carbs up to 90 minutes after a low- or moderate-intensity workout. If you exercise harder, go for 30g of protein and 55g of carbs. In addition to repairing your muscles, protein delivers tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates production of a neuropeptide that makes you feel more alert, a study in the journal Neuron found. The carbs replenish your stores of glucose for energy for your brain and body, says Michele Olson, a professor of sport science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.

DRINK UP Weigh in before and after your workout, then drink 500ml of water for each 0.5kg you lose, suggests Lawrence Armstrong, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut. This is the most efective way to rehydrate, which is essential if you want to tap into the brain boosts from exercise. Lawrence’s research found that even mild dehydration can leave you feeling low and fatigued. “Every cell in our body needs water to function, but the brain appears to be one of the most sensitive to water loss,” he says.


FIND A WORKOUT BUDDY When you exercise with a friend, you tend to push yourself harder and feel happier afterwards, research shows. And the social interaction has special benefits: spending time with a pal increases cognitive performance, according to research at the University of Michigan. Hanging out with others warms up the mental processes needed for other problem-solving tasks, the researchers say. A gym buddy also motivates you to stick to your gym routine, so your brain can continue to grow and get stronger. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | LIVE HEALTHY |


Live Healthy





et’s face it, sticking to a weight-loss plan can feel like a bore sometimes. We get that it’s tough following a strict diet and exercise regime. Instead, aim to create a sustainable calorie deficit where you constantly burn more calories than you consume to shed those stubborn kilos. It may not seem like much, but these small tweaks will help you torch an extra 100 calories a day – after all, every bit of effort adds up! *Calorie calculations are from Calorielab, and based on a 55kg woman.

know it, an hour would’ve passed and you’d have negated 170 calories. Score!

• STAND UP Instead of sitting, stand. Doing so for two hours a day means you’ll burn an extra 110 calories. Sounds tough? Well, just give up your seat during bus rides and MRT commutes and you’ll be right on track.

• CURB YOUR SNACK HABIT The easiest way to burn of 100 calories is to not eat snacks in the first place. Swop your midday candy bar for a healthier snack like fruits or nuts to easily slash of those extra kcal.

• GO SHOPPING A mall workout? Yes, please! Spend two hours going through the racks and indulging in some retail therapy to negate 144 calories.

• FIDGET Are you always tapping your foot or twiddling your thumbs? You’re in luck! According to research by the Mayo Clinic in the US, fidgeting can help you burn an extra 100 to 150 calories every single hour. Every. Single. Hour.

• COOK Instead of ordering in, make a meal from scratch. Dicing, prepping and pottering around the kitchen for 75 minutes will already burn 104 calories before dinner is served, plus you’ll be able to control how much salt, oil and sugar goes into your food.

garden. You can grow some herbs at home or prep some indoor plants for the oice. An hour of gardening will torch a good 165 calories, plus being around plants is said to have a calming efect on your body and mind.

• REORGANISE YOUR HOUSE Give your home a mini makeover by redecorating it. Just 15 minutes of shifting and carrying items around will already burn a neat 110 calories.


• BABYSIT Take the chance to bond with

Put on your favourite tunes and boogie at home for 30 minutes to burn 152 calories. Bonus: you’ll have so much fun that you’ll want to keep grooving for longer!

your tots or volunteer to take the load of someone by babysitting their children. You’ll torch 110 calories by playing with kids for half an hour.


• TAKE A STROLL After dinner, go on a

Instead of cafe hopping over the weekend, why not make your way to an art jamming studio? You’ll have a chance to release your creative side – which is a great stress reliever by the way – while zapping 193 calories as you paint for an hour.

leisurely walk with your bae to digest your food and bask in couple time. Before you

• PLANT SOMETHING Spend some time over the weekend to cultivate your own mini

Aim to create a sustainable calorie deficit where you constantly burn more calories than you consume to shed those stubborn kilos. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | LIVE HEALTHY |


Live Healthy

• STRETCH IT OUT Spend 75 minutes stretching or doing yoga to burn 104 calories daily. You don’t have to do this all at once – just spend 10 minutes in the morning doing a simple flow sequence to energise yourself and five minutes every hour stretching and relieving tension in your shoulders and back when you’re at work.

• WALK YOUR DOG Owning a dog can be good motivation to lead a more active lifestyle. Take your pooch for a walk or run around the ’hood and you’ll burn an easy 136 calories in an hour. When you’re home, give him a shower to zap an additional 34 calories.

• RENT A BIKE With so many bike sharing options in Singapore these days, it’s easier than ever to make cycling a regular part of your day. If the route permits, consider cycling to work. If not, rent a bike over the weekend and cycle to your brunch spot instead of taking a cab there. An hour of cycling will burn 385 calories, plus your body will benefit from the exercise!


• TAKE THE STAIRS An oldie but

• DO HOUSEWORK Nobody likes doing

goodie. Taking the stairs instead of the lift is one of the easiest ways to burn more kcal in a day. Walking up and down the stairs for 20 minutes already torches 128 calories – that’s just four five-minute trips in a day.

household chores, but our homes aren’t going to clean themselves. At least you can take comfort in the fact that housework actually burns a fair bit of calories. After an hour of vacuuming and ironing, you’ll burn a collective total of 210 calories.





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Beat Belly Flab


 Have you been looking for ways and means to trim your tummy? Help is here. Start with the piece on how age affects the amount of fat stored on your belly, no thanks to changes in your metabolism and other factors. Then read the three ďŹ tness stories: The ďŹ rst is on how to adjust your existing workouts so they can help tone your tummy. The second is a pilates-inspired sequence that sculpts your body, and particularly your core. The third is on the beneďŹ ts of incorporating the kettlebell into your ďŹ tness routine. End with the story on healthy foods that actually cause bloating, because diet has a big part to play in your quest for a atter stomach.



Beat Belly Flab

There are ways to overcome hormone shifts and metabolism dips to shrink ab fat. Just follow this expert guide to getting your best belly in your 20s, 30s, and 40s.





In theory, these should be flat-ab glory years. Though your metabolism starts to drop by 1 to 2 per cent when you cross from your teens into your 20s (that means, if you’re burning 2,500 calories a day in your teens, you’ll burn 25 to 50 fewer calories a day in your 20s, which is why most people gain an average of 0.5kg per year at this age), it’s still high, says endocrinologist Dr Scott Isaacs, author of Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight by Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism . You’re also continuing to churn out large amounts of hormones, like oestrogen, which peaks in your late teens or early 20s. It guides your body to store fat in the hips, butt, and breasts instead of the midsection, and the human growth hormone releases fat from its stores in the body so it can be delivered to your muscles for energy, Dr Isaacs says. Still, even with all this in your favour, four years of late nights may have left you with a post-grad gut, and those poor eating and drinking habits have a tendency to linger. “After graduation, people tend to spend more time sitting at a desk, and this sedentary lifestyle can lead to more weight gain, especially if you’re still drinking a lot and not keeping close tabs on your diet,” Dr Isaacs explains. This is particularly true if you

consume a lot of carbs. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that large amounts of processed carbs (the higher-carb participants in the study were eating 55 per cent carbs, 18 per cent protein, and 27 per cent fat) raise the body’s level of insulin, which prevents fat from being unlocked from abdominal fat stores and burned of. Another factor: “Many 20-somethings haven’t hit their fitness stride yet; they’re doing too much steady-state cardio and not enough strength training and cranking out old-school crunches, a particularly inefective combination for chipping away at belly fat,” says Holly Perkins, a strength and conditioning specialist and author of Women’s Health Lift to Get Lean: A Beginner’s Guide to Fitness & Strength Training in 3 Simple Steps. FLAT-AB FIX Start by shifting your eating habits away from carbo loading. “Help keep insulin at a healthy level by following a moderate carb diet, in which most of your carbs come from nutritious unprocessed sources like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables,” says nutritionist Lisa Young, author of The Portion Teller Plan: The No-Diet Reality Guide to Eating, Cheating, and Losing Weight Permanently. The participants in the Journal of Nutrition study, who were given a moderately low-carb diet (43 per

cent carbs, 18 per cent protein, and 39 per cent fat), lost 11 per cent of their abdominal fat after eight weeks, compared with those on a low-fat, higher-carb diet, who lost only 1 per cent ab fat. And because the goal is to burn flab, you need to choose calorie-incinerating workouts. “It’s important to incorporate steady-state cardio, interval training, and strength training,” Holly says. She recommends doing two 35- to 40-minute steady-state cardio sessions a week at a pace that’s about a seven out of 10 on the intensity scale; two 30-minute interval workouts (go for two minutes at moderate intensity followed by two minutes at an almost-all-out pace) to maximise growth-hormone secretion and fat burning; and two days of strength training to build lean muscle mass, which ups your calorie burn. Any type of strength training will be efective, as long as the programme gets progressively harder (more weight, more reps) so that you continue to challenge your body. If you’re not up for sweating six days a week, you can double up and do the strength training on your cardio or interval days. “Twenty-somethings still have metabolism and hormones on their side, so they just need to develop a definitive fitness strategy that includes a balance of cardio and strength training to kickstart their burn and firm,” Holly says.



Beat Belly Flab


For many women, their 30s are the time to have babies. Pregnancy can cause your rectus abdominis muscles (six-pack muscles) to stretch to the point of separation, a painless condition called diastasis recti, which Brazilian researchers found afected 68 per cent of women above the belly button and 32 per cent below, when measured at up to eight weeks postpartum. “The muscles usually move back together on their own,” says Dr Mary Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynaecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine. “In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair the separation.” Otherwise, you’re probably just dealing with some leftover fat and ab muscles that became stretched out during pregnancy. That doesn’t mean they can’t snap right back, but it takes some efort. Luckily, you still have a respectable metabolism in your 30s. While it drops another 1 to 2 per cent from the first small dip in your 20s during this decade, that’s not really going to catch up to you for another decade or so. Oestrogen levels can start to drop for some women in the late 30s as fertility


diminishes, but less oestrogen isn’t an issue until you are well into your 40s. And you can still cash in on your growth hormone production for now, too. FLAT-AB FIX Getting your pre-baby belly back requires a two-pronged approach. You need to melt the flab covering your abs and strengthen your stretched-out muscles. Trainer Sara Haley, creator of the Expecting More pre- and postnatal exercise DVD programmes, suggests the following time-saving high-intensity routine, which has you moving fast enough to keep your heart rate up to torch calories and incorporates moves designed to tone and tighten your whole core; these exercises are safe for those with diastasis recti, as long as it’s not severe. After warming up, do each of the following moves for one minute: high knees (run in place), plank squats (start in a plank, then jump feet forward and pop up into a squat), knee repeaters (get into a low lunge, clasp hands over your head, and bring your back knee up to your chest while simultaneously bringing your hands down to meet the knee; do one minute per leg), and dead bugs (lie face up on the floor with your

legs raised, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, arms raised towards the ceiling, and flex your feet as if you’re pushing something away with them while focusing on pulling your belly button into your spine). Rest for one minute, repeat the circuit twice more, and cool down. As much as you may want to throw a crunch into the bunch, don’t. Crunching and twisting movements can make any separation worse because they repeatedly open and close the abdominal muscles, Sara says. And while juggling work, kids, and a relationship don’t leave a lot of time for slumber, make sure you get as much shut-eye as you can (shoot for seven to nine hours per night) because sleep deprivation jacks your level of the stress hormone cortisol, which encourages ab-fat storage. If the kids keep you up at night, a Pennsylvania State University study found that a two-hour afternoon nap can ofset the efect that a bad night’s sleep can have on cortisol. “Even a short nap – if only for a half hour – may have a small beneficial efect,” Dr Isaacs says.

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WHEN YOU’RE IN YOUR . . . The levels of sex hormones, including oestrogen, begin to dip at this age. “Until now, the oestrogen receptors’ inuence on fat deposition in the breasts, hips, and butt have been more powerful than the receptors controlling how much fat is stored inside and outside the abs. As oestrogen declines in your 40s, the receptors in the abdomen begin to exert more power, so you start to preferentially gain weight there,â€? says Dr Pamela Peeke, author of Fight Fat After Forty: The Revolutionary ThreePronged Approach That Will Break Your Stress-Fat Cycle and Make You Healthy, Fit, and Trim for Life. Not only does the metabolism drop by another 1 to 2 per cent from when you were in your 30s – one study found that people can lose as much as 8 per cent of their calorie-burning muscle mass from age 40 to 50 if they haven’t been taking preventive steps – but the growth hormone also dwindles. In fact, one University of Virginia study found that there’s about half as much at 45 as

there is at 25. FLAT-AB FIX There’s not much you can do on your own about the loss of oestrogen, but a sure-ďŹ re way to boost the growth hormone is to go hard at the gym. “Moderate- to high-intensity programmes with multiple sets, high reps, short rest intervals, and exercises that target multiple large muscle groups at one time produce substantial acute growth hormone responses,â€? says Nicholas Ratamess, a professor of health and exercise science at the College of New Jersey, who suggests working out intensely at least three times a week for 30 minutes. A review of research in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that in 25to 43-year-old women, regular highintensity aerobic exercise resulted in a twofold increase of growth hormone release over 24 hours. As for muscle loss, it’s somewhat preventable. “If you’re staying physically active and lifting weights, you should be holding on to about the same muscle mass you had in your 30s,â€? Dr Peeke

says. Research in The Physician and Sportsmedicine suggests that cardio can also be efective at helping you pack on muscle or maintain it. The study found that intense aerobic exercise (running, biking, or swimming four to ďŹ ve times a week) reduced muscle loss in athletes aged 40 and up as regular exercise stimulates protein synthesis (repair and maintenance of muscle) and boosts muscle mass and strength. You can also help build and maintain muscle mass by eating 50 to 60g of high-quality protein a day; a nice mix of sources could include a cup of cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, legumes, and a piece of ďŹ sh or chicken. Finally, no need to get discouraged: Keep in mind that you can start reversing age-related ab issues at any time in life. “If you exercised in your 20s and 30s, your 40s will be a breeze,â€? Dr Peeke says. “The great news is that you can start in your 40s and start seeing long-lasting results – it’s never too late.â€?



Beat Belly Flab

Your go-to workouts can double as belly firmers. Just try these quick adjustments.





Got a few minutes before class? Don’t waste them! Do these three one-minute standing ab moves from Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and author of Beat the Gym: Personal Trainer Secrets – Without the Personal Trainer Price Tag. March in place with arms overhead, and draw both elbows down towards your knee with every lift. Next, alternate bringing one elbow to the opposite knee. Finally, alternate lifting one straight leg in front as you reach for the toes with your opposite hand. “These moves target your core and provide a great warm-up,” he says.

BRACE YOURSELF To rock a midrif-baring top – like Taylor Swift (left), Sarah Hyland, and Joan Smalls – you needn’t suck it in for that tight-abs efect. A study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that bracing the abs – contracting them as if you were about to be punched in the stomach – did a better job of activating both the rectus abdominis and deep transverse abdominis muscles than hollowing (drawing your belly button towards your spine) did while standing, sitting, and kneeling as well as during certain plank moves. All those poses come into play during strength exercises, too, so brace yourself as you do your reps.


“During your run, throw in a few sets of carioca running drills throughout the workout,” Tom says. Lift your arms out to the sides. Twist from your midsection as you move laterally to the right, stepping your left leg across and in front of your right leg. Then bring the right leg back out to the right, so your hips are square again, and step your left leg behind your right leg. Continue, then switch sides and repeat. “This simple technique adds some quality core work,” Tom explains.

arms should always be resisting the barre, never just passively holding it.”

“When doing bicycle crunches, look at your rear elbow to increase the contraction in your obliques,” says Michele Olson, a professor of sport science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. For example, when you twist to the left, look at your left elbow as you bring the right elbow to touch your left knee.



REALLY GO HANDS-ON AT THE BARRE “Use the barre to get a

Several yoga poses – think locust, cobra, and sphinx – emphasise the lower back muscles (also part of your core), but even those allow for some extra ab work. “We can target the abs in every yoga pose, including when you’re lying prone on the belly,” says Lisa Ash Drackert, owner and director

stronger abdominal contraction by pressing your hands or forearms into it, and drawing your shoulder blades down your back as you pull the abs in and up,” says Tracey Mallett, creator of the Bbarreless and Bootybarre gym classes across the US. “Your

as you lower into a squat, and exhale through your mouth as you come up. “That exhale technique helps your deep abdominal muscles,” says Natalie Yco, a Los Angeles celeb trainer. “The same applies to boxing. Exhaling when you punch stabilises your core and gives you more power.”


of Westport Yoga KC in Kansas City, Missouri. When you’re face down, try to lift your belly button of the floor, which turns on the deep transverse abdominis muscle. “Imagine a fishing line tied to your middle, pulling you up to the ceiling,” Lisa says.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FEET “Most people do planks or pushups without thinking about what their feet are doing,” says Nika Eshetu, pilates master instructor and owner of Atomic Pilates and Sports Fitness in North Hollywood. “During a plank, keep your feet close together and press your heels back instead of being forward on your toes. This slight shift takes some of the weight out of your shoulders and fires more abdominal muscles.”


Doing strength moves like squats and

lunges with your arms extended overhead (whether you’re holding weights or not) changes your centre of gravity, says Cindy Present, the fitness and activities director at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas. “Your body has to work harder to stabilise your torso, and that escalates the challenge for your core.”

GET LOW IN CYCLING CLASS “Moving the bike’s handlebars lower triggers more core engagement,” says Susan Schwartz, owner of Blazing Saddles Indoor Cycling in Sherman Oaks, California. Next time you spin, try dropping the bars one or two notches lower than the height you usually choose. You’ll know that you have gone too low if you feel pinching in your neck as you’re trying to look at the instructor. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | BEAT BELLY FLAB |


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PILATES This mash-up brings the best of fat burning and body sculpting together in one scientifically proven, crazy-fast workout.



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abata and pilates couldn’t be more diferent. The former is four minutes of pure, super high-intensity sweat (alternating 20 seconds of all-out efort with 10 seconds of rest), while the latter is a steady-paced series of core cinchers – many of which you do while you’re lying down. But they have one very important thing in common: They’re the absolute best at what they do. Nothing out-burns Tabata per minute, and nothing outfirms pilates for abs, says Michele Olson, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama, who has done years of research on both. But it wasn’t until recently that a light bulb went on. What if you

combined the two into a single, tothe-max routine? “Mixing Tabata with pilates is the perfect way to squeeze the most calorie burning you can out of a cardio workout and also deeply strengthen, tighten, and sculpt individual muscles, especially in the core,” Michele says. With that, she created Tabatalates. You’ll kick of the workout with a Tabata round made up of squat jumps – “I chose that exercise because it burns a whopping 12 calories per minute,” Michele says – and push-ups. Give those sets 110 per cent, and your metabolic rate will stay elevated straight through the slower half of the session. “Plus, your muscles will have extra

blood flow, which will allow them to receive the nutrients and oxygen they need to firm the most fibres,” Michele says. That’s key for the rest of the workout, which includes three topperforming pilates waist whittlers, one lower-body exercise, and one upper-body move to sculpt you from head to toe. Repeat the entire sequence and, in just 20 minutes, you’ll burn 200 calories as well as earn a bonus afterburn of another 100 calories. “You would have to run for at least 30 minutes and clock of at least three miles to burn 300 calories,” Michele says. “And even if you did, you wouldn’t get as deep into your core muscles or net any afterburn.”



Beat Belly Flab

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You need to work really hard for only four minutes to stoke your metabolism for hours.

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Beat Belly Flab

HOW IT WORKS Start with the warm-up. Do at least 2 to 3 sets of 20 reps of each of the following: high knee march, air jump rope, high knee lifts, jumping jacks. Next, do Part 1’s Tabata sequence before Part 2’s pilates ab exercises. You’ll finish up with Part 3, which includes one move for your lower body and one move for your upper body. Repeat once. Do this routine 3 or 4 days a week on alternate days. TOTAL TIME Up to 15 minutes YOU WILL NEED Free weights





[A] Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Squat, bringing hands together at chest with arms pointed downwards. This is your starting position. [B] Jump as high as you can, scooping arms around and up so fingertips touch each other overhead while you bend legs out to

sides to touch heels (arms and legs both form diamond shape). Land softly in starting position. Continue as quickly as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Sets 2 Reps AMRAP




[A] Start on floor in plank on palms. [B] Bend arms back at 45-degree angle to lower body towards floor until chest grazes floor. Push back up to starting position. Continue as quickly as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Sets 2 Reps AMRAP F


This powerful combo will condition muscles from head to toe and improve your balance.

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Beat Belly Flab

Michele tapped into her nine years of pilates lab research to handpick the best ab krmers to pair with Tabata.

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PART 2 3


[shown] Lie face up on floor with arms by sides and legs long. Curl head, neck, and shoulders of floor. Let arms hover about 20cm above floor, and left leg about 10cm above floor, while extending right leg up. Point toes to start. Inhale through nose for 5 counts, forcefully pumping arms about 10cm downwards 5 times. Immediately switch legs. Exhale through mouth for 5 counts, pumping arms 5 times. That’s 1 set of 10 reps. Sets: 10 Reps: 10



[shown] Lie face up on floor holding weight in each hand with arms by sides and legs bent with feet flat. Extend arms over chest with palms facing forward, and left leg out at a 45-degree angle (keep thighs pressed together); point toes and inhale to start. Without moving legs, exhale as you curl torso up of floor, pushing weights towards ceiling. Slowly lower to start. Sets: 1 Reps: 10 per side



[shown] Lie face up on floor with arms by sides and legs long. Curl head, neck, and shoulders of floor, lift right leg to hover about 10cm above floor, then exhale as you pull bent left leg towards chest with left hand grabbing outside above left ankle and right hand grabbing inside of left knee. Inhale as you switch sides; repeat. That’s 1 rep. Continue alternating sides. Sets: 1 Reps: 10



Beat Belly Flab




[A] Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding weight in each hand with arms by sides. Step left leg behind and across right leg, bending both legs 90 degrees to start. [B] Stand, shifting weight onto right leg as you lift left leg behind you at diagonal. Return to starting position. Sets 1 Reps 20 per side






[A] Stand with feet together, holding weight in each hand with arms by sides. Bend arms 90 degrees wide to sides; palms will face backwards. Maintain 90-degree bend as you rotate palms forward and up. [B] Then jump right foot forward and left foot backwards as you press weights overhead. Reverse movement to return to starting position. Switch sides; repeat. Sets 1 Reps 10


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Beat Belly Flab

     À This cannonball-shaped cast iron weight works your core like crazy – sculpting, strengthening and trimming in ways no other tool can match.


BUILT-IN AB TIGHTENING k at it, you dn’t guess that imple kettlebell h a fitness both a superior ie burner and an ttener in one. ks to its unique ics, it can elicit burn and firm other forms istance.


KETTLEBELL CARDIO Typical kettlebell moves are calorie guzzlers. Take the snatch – a onearm lift in which, from a quarter-squat position, you fluidly move the kettlebell from the floor to directly overhead as you stand, bell flipping up and over to rest atop your forearm. It burns some 20 calories per minute when performed at an as-many-reps-aspossible (AMRAP) pace, according to a recent American Council on Exercise study at the University of Wisconsin– La Crosse. Exercisers in the study did a 20-minute workout of 15-second AMRAP intervals of kettlebell

snatches followed by 15 seconds of rest. “It’s a total-body exercise,” says lead author John Porcari. By engaging the entire posterior chain (back, butt, hamstrings, and calves) plus the chest, shoulders, and arms, the kettlebell snatch and its variations work more muscle groups than other forms of HIIT, such as biking or running, which use primarily the legs and glutes. Do high-intensity kettlebell intervals like those in the study, and you’ll also be dispatching more ab fat into your calorie-burning furnace than if you do steady reps of swings.

Swinging a kettlebell calls for a braced core throughout and an added contraction of abs and glutes at the top of the swing. This pulse-like abdominal contraction stifens your core and stabilises the spinal column to help control the heavy, dynamic movement. It’s also where women looking to cinch and strengthen their midsection can really cash in. A recent study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that when exercisers quickly squeezed their abs at the top of a swing, their

obliques contracted more than 100 per cent of their maximum potential. Those who didn’t perform the contraction? They saw only a 20 per cent side-abs engagement. “Adding a fast, explosive abdominal contraction like this allows your obliques to engage far beyond what they normally would, because every ounce of your muscles’ power is needed to stop such powerful movements,” John says. “And when your muscles contract at a higher percentage, you’ll get greater strength gains faster.”

BALANCE CHALLENGE BENEFITS Beyond the swing thing, a kettlebell’s bottom-heavy weight distribution ofers added corefirming options. Instead of using dumbbells, Dasha Anderson, founder of Kettlebell Kickboxing in New York City, ups the ante on presses and lifts by flipping the kettlebell bottom up so the bulky centre teeters on a much smaller base. “Your body has to work harder – core included – to balance this and compensate for any instability,” Dasha says. Her go-to ab blaster is the Turkish get-up: You fluidly raise your body from lying face up on the floor to standing while holding a kettlebell overhead with one arm the entire time. “Throughout the Turkish get-up, it’s the core that holds it all together,” she says. Even carrying one kettlebell upside down by the handle at shoulder height (arm bent down)

provides this ab-flattening bonus. Stuart McGill, author of Back Mechanic and multiple studies on kettlebell workouts and their efects on the spine, says that carrying weight on only one side of the body calls on the core to compensate, and the instability of the inverted bell challenges the core more than a dumbbell would. “It is a wonderful way to condition your core and also improve your motor control,” Stuart adds. And it does all of this without beating up on your body. “Its resistance builds muscles with enough intensity that we can really burn a lot of calories, but because we’re standing in place or at least not jumping, there’s no pounding on the joints,” says Steve Cotter, director of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation in San Diego. In other words, more ab trimming, less wear and tear. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | BEAT BELLY FLAB |


Beat Belly Flab


BLOATED? Surprisingly, these healthy foods might be to blame.

ve you been eating clean only find that you’ve woken up ith a pot belly overnight? hile you can take comfort in nowing it is not due to weight ain, your bloated stomach is nough to start your day on a ad note when you feel sluggish, eavy and uncomfortable. Who ould have guessed that lurking ehind some of the healthiest ods are substances your body ruggles to digest? Consider voiding these foods. 62 | BEAT BELLY FLAB | SHAPE APRIL 2018

GARLIC AND ONIONS Both popular ingredients in cooking, garlic and onions contain a fibre known as fructan that your small intestine cannot digest. This leads to increased gas production in your body that can cause serious bloating.

CORN During the occasional fast-food cheat day, swopping fries for a side of corn may seem like a good idea. However, each kernel’s external coating contains high levels of cellulose, a fibre the human stomach cannot break down. Eating too much of it can cause you to feel bloated.


RAW CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, arugula, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower are rich in vitamins and fibres. However, as your body lacks the ability to produce the enzyme needed to break down rainose, a complex sugar found in such vegetables, it is fermented by gut bacteria, resulting in gas that can cause you to feel swollen and uncomfortable.

BEANS Soya beans, lentils, white beans, split peas, pinto

beans, kidney beans, black beans, and navy beans are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. They also contain large sugar molecules known as oligosaccharides that cannot be broken down or digested in the small intestine. The undigested sugar is transported to the colon where it undergoes fermentation to produce gas.

MUSHROOMS Mushrooms contain both rainose and fructan. Small amounts probably will not do much damage, but enjoying dishes with mushrooms being a key ingredient, like mushroom soup or risotto, could be the culprits behind excessive flatulence and bloating.

APPLE Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Apples are often associated with abundant health benefits, like improved cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol levels. However, apple skin contains an insoluble fibre that your body struggles to break down. Apples also contain fructose, which will ferment in the large intestine and produce gas.

NUTS Bingeing on nuts

because they are often recommended as a healthy snack might not be a good idea. While they are a great source of protein and fibre, they also contain phytic acid, which slows down your body’s natural absorption of minerals like iron and zinc. This may leave you feeling gassy, bloated or constipated.

WHEAT Found in bread and pasta, this is indispensable in many of our diets. But wheat contains short-chain carbohydrates as well as sugar alcohols – organic compounds derived from sugars – that encourage gas production. You can cut down on wheat by using quinoa as a substitute for grains and zucchini noodles for pasta.

DAIRY PRODUCTS Those who are lactose intolerant may find themselves sufering from indigestion, bloating, cramps and flatulence when they consume dairy products. But even if you are not lactose intolerant, you may sufer the same symptoms if you consume too much dairy, and your intestines are unable to produce enough lactase, an enzyme that breaks lactose down.




Stride right


We’re always on the lookout for the best running stride, but researchers have found that the body naturally settles into a stride that works best for it. According to a study in the International Journal of Exercise Science, researchers found that your body is capable of self-optimising your stride length for the best running economy (the amount of oxygen you need to run a distance at a fixed pace). So, if you’re trying to find your most ideal stride, there’s no need for that – just stick to what you’re most comfortable with.



Get Fit News

MAKE YOUR GET-FIT PROMISE STICK like a muscle, you can strengthen your promise over time and develop it into one of your assets. The stronger your promise becomes, the more probable it is that you’ll be able to commit to reaching your goals, whether that’s to move more, eat better, or finally sign up for a race. STEP 2: TRAIN THE POWER OF YOUR WORD I first experienced this concept when I promised myself that I wouldn’t eat dessert

in restaurants. I focused on one dinner at a time. It felt a little low-impact in the moment, but looking back, it was the just-right start – a small, clear goal that was surprisingly hard for me to accomplish. I told no one about this, which forced accountability and strength to come from only me. I made it through that week. And I used this small exercise to prove to myself that I could trust myself. This dessert challenge marked

the end of my empty promises. My confidence grew every time I kept a promise I made to myself. Whenever I failed, I used that as information about where my system was faulty and applied it to the next opportunity to fulfill my promise. STEP 3: KNOW THAT YOUR WORD MATTERS Every time you stay true to your word, you’ll find that each challenge becomes less daunting because you’ll know that your word has substance and that it leads you closer towards reaching your big-picture goal: that exciting life you want to lead. This creates a self-powered momentum. Each accomplishment builds on the next, and suddenly, before you know it, you are unstoppable!


STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR IMPORTANCE Why are the promises you make to yourself the easiest ones to break? Is it because the only person you’ll end up disappointing is yourself? Or that you’ve prioritised pleasing others over your goals? Either way, you deserve better than that. Think of a promise as a powerful muscle – like the glutes or lats – that can afect how your body looks, moves, and feels. Just


“My wrists bother me during planks and push-ups. Any tips?” First, focus on using your entire upper body to share more of the load. It’s common during those movements to put all your weight into your wrist joints instead of engaging your chest, triceps, back, and lat muscles. If that doesn’t do the trick, try using dumbbells: place them on the floor (where your palms would typically be) so you can grab them like handles and skip flexing your wrists altogether.

“I took a class with practically no rest between all-out bursts. Is that too intense?” Not at all. Putting yourself through diicult workouts gives your body a chance to be challenged – and therefore changed. Many interval classes are structured to save the rest until you’ve done a full circuit of, say, six back-toback moves. It’s just a way to extend the higher-intensity push to build your cardio capacity and endurance. That doesn’t mean you should be going at 1,000 per cent with reckless abandon, though. Instead, figure out what makes the most sense so you can go consistently strong – maybe that’s staying at 80 to 90 per cent of your max efort (or whatever you can maintain) during class.

Mind before body

JUST SAY YES I pride myself on my passion-filled lifestyle, but the reality is that, most days, I operate on autopilot. We all do. But you can turn that awareness into an opportunity to make a small change that has a big impact on your day. Hear me out: I once wore a pair of new teeny, lacy underwear that was a gift – not my typical go-to. Saying yes when I had always said no made me feel more open to things. I took a yoga class I’d never tried. I had a fruity tea instead of my Americano. To my surprise, I loved both. Now you try it. For example, choose the front row in your next fitness class, then watch it shift your mind-set. YOU’LL RISE TO THE CHALLENGE There’s a level of accountability when you’re front and centre. I can promise you, knowing that the

instructor and other people behind you may be watching means you’ll work harder and better. Plus, your efort may inspire someone else to do the same. YOU’LL FIND YOUR SWAGGER When you walk out of there, you’ll be happier and more confident. I want you to use that energy in the rest of your day. Crush your work meeting. Rally friends for drinks later. Work whatever room you w alk into. YOU’LL BE MORE ADVENTUROUS Like me, you probably also cook the same things out of habit. Go ahead, experiment a little. New tastes can expand your palate and give you ideas for reinventing old favourites. You’ll see that there’s so much out there that you can try – and so much more you’re capable of cooking! SHAPE APRIL 2018 | GET FIT |


Get Fit

nd h ave e som me ffun un w ith Burn a ton of calories aand have some with this dynamic jump rope and conditioning circuit.

umping rope is one of the best cardiovascular full-body workouts on the planet,” says Christa DiPaolo, a creator of The Cut: Jump Rope, a new high-intensity class at Equinox gyms in the US. It’s also a convenient one-stop session for building speed, agility, and coordination. Christa codeveloped the class to crank your heart rate and metabolism with a mix of diferent jump rope intervals (you’ll burn an impressive 13 calories per minute) followed by sculpting moves to condition your body. So no worries about monotonous, non-stop hopping.


All you’ll need to do this routine is a trusty jump rope – or two if you’re up for an extra challenge and an even bigger burn. Christa designed this workout with cues for using a lighter speed rope and a weighted power rope as you’d do in her class. A light rope lets you go faster, accelerating your heart rate, while a heavy rope (we recommend one that’s 900g) activates more of your upper body muscles and core, Christa says. And while the heavy rope is more of a challenge in some ways, it’s actually great if you’re rusty at jumping rope

because the added heft slows down the rotation, giving you more time to catch air and get into rhythm. A few pointers before you begin: “Keep jumps as low to the ground as possible, landing gently on the balls of your feet, with elbows pulled into the rib cage at either a 90- or 45-degree angle,” Christa says. Turn the regular rope with your wrists. If you’re using a weighted rope, engage your forearms to keep stress of the wrists. Whether you stick with one rope or switch between two, expect to get breathless!

YOUR WORKOUT INTENSITY Hard RPE*: 8 or 9 (out of 10)

TOTAL TIME 27 minutes CALORIES BURNED 269 (this calorie burn is based on a 63.5kg woman).

YOU’LL NEED A regular jump rope (also known as a speed rope) and an optional *Rate of perceived exertion; see weighted rope. sg/rpe

HOW IT WORKS Start with the warm-up, then do three 7-minute rounds that alternate between timed intervals of jumping rope and as many reps as possible of conditioning moves. See below for quick how-tos for each jump listed.

WARM-UP Fold speed rope into half twice and take one end in each hand. Do 20 seconds each of: calf raises, holding the folded rope with arms extended overhead; squats with rope starting overhead, then swinging down to shins as you lower; walking lunges with rope starting overhead, then diagonally chopping in the direction of the lead leg as you lunge; and alternating side squats while tracing circles overhead with the rope. Then unfold the rope once. Bounce in place as you hold it in your right hand and swing it in a circle next to you. Switch sides; repeat. Repeat entire sequence.

ROUND 1 AGILITY If using two ropes, use the speed rope here. 1 minute basic jumps 30 seconds walk-out push-ups: Standing with feet hip-width apart, squat, place palms on floor, and walk hands forward to get into plank. Do push-up. Walk hands back to squat. Stand up; repeat. 2 minutes side-straddle jumps 30 seconds walk-out push-ups 2 minutes side-straddle jumps

1 minute burnout jumps: Move as fast as you can and get breathless. Recover for 1 minute WSCALE DOWN Omit push-up during walk-out push-ups. V SCALE UP Do 2 push-ups during walk-out push-ups. During side-straddle jumps, travel forward for 3 counts, then backwards for 3 counts.


If using two ropes, use the weighted rope here

JUMP KEY Side straddle Jump feet hipwidth apart for one jump and back together for the next. Skiers Keeping feet together, jump from side to side on each rotation of the rope.


Double-unders Do one jump for every two rotations of the rope. Use wrists to increase rope speed so it passes under feet twice as you’re in midair. Criss-crosses Cross at the forearms and perform a single jump, then open arms back up and perform another single jump. Continue alternating. High knees Bring one knee up towards chest with each rotation of the rope, alternating knees.

1 minute basic jumps 30 seconds squats with alternating front push kicks: Do single squat, then kick right leg forward as you stand, flexing foot and driving with heel, hands in front of chin. Switch sides; repeat. 2 minutes skier jumps

30 seconds squats with alternating front push kicks 2 minutes skier jumps 1 minute burnout jumps Recover for 1 minute V SCALE UP During skier jumps, travel forward for

4 counts, then backwards for 4 counts.


If using two ropes, use either here. Stick to basic jumps if using weighted rope. 1 minute jumps: Try double-unders, criss-crosses or high knees, or repeat side straddles or skiers. 30 seconds toe taps: Place rope on floor in circle. Going clockwise, alternately tap toes of each foot around circle. Switch directions. 1 minute jumps of choice 30 seconds toe taps 1 minute jumps of choice 30 seconds in-and-out squat thrusts: Place rope on floor in circle. Stand facing circle and jump both feet into

centre and then out. Do a squat thrust, placing palms on floor outside circle, jumping feet back to get into plank and jumping them forward to return to squat. Return to standing facing circle. Repeat, jumping feet into centre of circle again. 1 minute jumps of choice 30 seconds in-and-out squat thrusts 1 minute burnout jumps V SCALE UP Turn squat thrust into burpee,

adding a push-up after plank position and vertical jump after squat. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | GET FIT |


Get Fit

THE STAIR WORKOUT No matter where you are, you can squeeze in this kick-butt high-intensity workout. All you need is a set of stairs



HOW IT WORKS Find a set of stairs with at least three steps. Repeat each mini circuit three times before moving to the next one. t’s no wonder that stair workouts are a coach fave – they make for exceptional conditioning. And the beauty is that you don’t need skyhigh flights or bleachers to net their magic. “You’d be surprised by the highintensity training you can get on a flight of stairs,” says Hannah Davis, a strength and conditioning coach and the creator of Body by Hannah online fitness programs. “You can add a challenge to almost any move you do on flat ground, improving your power, cardio capacity, and agility,” she says. Simply bounding up steps is a hit of plyometrics, which burns an unreal 484 calories in half an hour, while the tiered levels let you go super low for things like single-leg squats (since your raised leg can go down below your platform). And switching things up from your usual gym drill to see some sky can make this recharge all the more potent. A recent study published in PLOS One found that taking a brisk walk outside instead of on the treadmill was more efective at decreasing anxiety and fatigue, and boosting happiness and calm. Hannah created an allin-one cardio and strength workout for Shape using just three stairs. You’ll get that burst of plyometrics, plus the built-in core tightening that comes from taking totalbody exercises to a whole new level.





Standing on ground facing steps, jump onto first step, landing with right foot. Then jump both feet out, landing in squat on same step. Repeat, jumping to second step, landing with left foot. Continue to top, alternating sides. Walk back to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Stand on first step, facing right. Step left foot onto third step, coming into uneven squat. Push through right heel and lift left leg, landing left foot on ground behind and diagonal to right foot, coming into curtsy lunge. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

B DIPS AND REACH Sit on bottom step with knees bent, feet flat on ground. Place hands on edge of step with fingertips pointed forward, then lift butt so it hovers just above and in front of step. Bend elbows to lower butt towards ground. Push back up. Straighten left leg as you reach right hand to tap left foot. Return to start. Repeat left. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps.


Repeat Circuit 1 three times.

Repeat Circuit 3 three times.

Balancing on right leg, hop up to first step. Hinge at hip, extending left leg behind you and reaching down to second step with left hand. Return to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 5 reps, continuing up steps. Turn so right side is facing stairs and do high knees laterally down steps to ground. Switch sides; repeat.

CIRCUIT 2 A BULGARIAN LUNGE Facing away from steps, place top of right foot on first step. Bend both knees until back knee almost touches ground. Return to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

B TRAVELLING PLANK Start on ground in plank on palms with steps in front of you. Walk one hand at a time up to first step, then second, maintaining plank position. Reverse movement back down to ground, one hand and one step at a time. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Repeat Circuit 2 three times.



Get Fit The infrared heat is pretty gentle and soothing.

“INFRARED YOGA CLEARED UP MY SKIN OVERNIGHT” yoga a go to see whether it lived up to its promises of better sleep, reduced muscle aches, and a brighter complexion.


don’t believe in quick fixes. But when something promises to better my complexion almost immediately – be it lightening my dark spots, brightening my dull skin or getting rid of occasional pimples – I’m willing to give it a shot. I’m talking about infrared yoga, which involves a yoga session heated with an infrared radiant heating system. The invisible


rays emitted from panels above are said to confer health benefits, including enhanced heart health and circulation, reduced cancer risk, and faster recovery from injuries, as well as improved sleep and better-looking skin. Sounds like a load of bold promises, right? I thought so too until a quick Google search made me realise how prevalent (and possibly legit) infrared heat technology was. It’s used in sauna baths, heated garments and heat therapy lamps, to name a few. And I recently found out that the hot blanket and tummy wrap – which I’d been using for years at my neighbourhood spa – give of infrared rays, too. Numerous studies have tested the eicacy of infrared radiation. So far, the proven benefits include improved endurance, quicker post-workout recovery,

reduced joint pain as well as muscle aches, and a refined complexion. Not surprisingly, most of these efects are attributed to the increased circulation. So, when I found out Jal Yoga did infrared yoga, the yogi in me couldn’t wait to try it. I’d always enjoyed hot yoga because the heat made my mind and muscles come alive. After director Jasmine Loh shared that one instructor, who spent three to four hours daily in the infrared studio, had noticeably fairer and clearer skin after one month, I knew I had to try it to see if it could help put an end to the on-of breakouts on my forehead. THE EXPERIENCE I expected more frills, but other than the 28 infrared panels that radiated heat from the ceiling, the infrared yoga room was


ESTELLE LOW gave infrared

pretty ordinary. Each panel was meant to be directly above a yoga mat. However, the mats were arranged more densely when Team Shape was there, and we were told that this wouldn’t afect the overall experience. Instructor Perlen started the hatha yoga session with a series of breathing exercises. With zen music in the background, I closed my eyes and imagined myself sitting on the beach, soaking in the goodness of the sun. Similar to hot yoga, the infrared heat had a therapeutic efect. My usually cold hands and feet warmed up quickly, along with the rest of my body. And I got into deep stretching poses, like standing forward bend, easily. I also felt ready to do more. Perlen, our instructor, incorporated a number of stretching postures that targeted the back, shoulders, hips and hamstrings. Good for stif oice workers like us, I thought. And then, although the poses were gentle, I broke into a sweat within 15 minutes. This was a sure sign that my body was working hard to detox itself. I peeked at my neighbours – editor Zarelda and intern Claudia – and saw that they were also perspiring. By the time we got to the wheel pose, I was dripping so much sweat that I had to line my mat with a towel to avoid slipping.

Pardeep Fogat, founder of Jal Yoga

The 28 ceiling panels emit infrared heat while you do yoga.

The Superman pose tones the shoulders, legs and glutes.

Estelle stretching (and sweating) it out.

THE VERDICT The ambience was so soothing that Zarelda and Claudia both fell asleep during the final savasana (corpse pose) – something Zarelda, a regular yoga practitioner, said “didn’t usually happen”. So, did infrared yoga live up to its promises? Anecdotally, it checked a few boxes. Zarelda’s fitness tracker recorded that she’d experienced deeper sleep that night. Claudia, who attended yoga for the first time that day, and whose muscles were tight and achy from running, said she felt much more relaxed and flexible afterwards As for myself, I was delighted to see that my forehead zits had subsided. It was as if they were never there. Before the infrared yoga session, they had been rather persistent and resistant to tea tree oil. My next step will be to see if regular infrared yoga would lighten my pigmentation and give me that glow Jasmine talked about. Jal Yoga is located at 991 Alexandra Road, #01-03A, tel: 6251-0710. Other forms of yoga, such as vinyasa and kinetic, are also available for the infrared class. Visit for more info.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFRARED YOGA AND HOT YOGA Though both types are done in heated rooms, infrared yoga uses infrared radiation, as the name suggests, while hot yoga doesn’t. Infrared yoga is also not as hot. The infrared heat hovers between 35 and 36 deg C, while hot yoga is 37 to 39 deg C. Another big diference: Infrared heats objects directly, and without warming up the surrounding air. This means you’d feel less stufy in an infrared yoga room. As Jasmine of Jal Yoga, puts it: “The infrared heat is so comfortable, you’ll feel as though you’re sunbathing on the beach – without the UV rays.”



Get Fit


Margriet Vonno At 52, the Dutch diplomat is a picture of health, thanks to cycling.


OWhat do you love most about cycling? “It changes the way I think about things. I’ve noticed that it gives me time to ponder, and problems tend to shrink in size.”


OWhat are you favourite places to cycle in Singapore? “I like biking to Marina Barrage. I also enjoy cycling at East Coast Park.” OWhat’s your fitness routine like? “I usually cycle on the weekends. Depending on my schedule, I might do a short one-hour route or take a longer ride. I swim 1,000m every other day. I also enjoy walking, jumping rope and playing table tennis.” OWhat’s your diet like? “Being Dutch, I am very fond of dairy products. I love cheese and yogurt. As the daughter of a greengrocer, I’ve also always eaten a lot of vegetables and fruits. I enjoy the tropical fruits here a lot. Typically, I have cofee with milk and fruit for breakfast. Lunch is usually a soup and salad. For dinner, I alternate between fish, chicken, and a vegetarian main course. For carbs, I alternate between potatoes, rice, and noodles. I always also have a salad at dinner. If I eat at a hawker centre,

I opt for chicken rice. That’s my favourite Singaporean dish.” OAny indulgences? “Chocolate. To be more specific, milk chocolate.” OWhat are your favourite and least favourite body parts? “I like my legs. Cycling has shaped them well. My least favourite part is my nose. It’s relatively long, but I would never do a nose job. I like diversity.” OHow has your active lifestyle influenced your loved ones? “I guess my husband, who owns six bicycles and cycles a lot more than I do, has influenced me more than I have influenced him. Our whole family favours active holidays instead of lying on a beach. We’ve had nice cycling holidays in Europe.” OWhat are the three most important things in your life? “My family, my health, and connecting people.”


onsistency is the key to staying fit for life, and Her Excellency Margriet Vonno, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Singapore and Brunei, is an advocate of this philosophy. The 52-year-old diplomat has been cycling since she was a young child, and still does it regularly today. The sport is very much part of Dutch culture and bike lanes are aplenty in the Netherlands. “I always cycled to school and to parties when I was a student. The bicycle was the cheapest and most convenient means of transport,” says Margriet. “At that time, I did not cycle to stay fit, but it did help a lot.” As an adult, she cycled to and from her oice when she was working in The Hague, a city in South Holland (one way was almost 10km). She’d even cycle to meetings at other locations. During a typical week, she’d easily clock about 110km! She’s been a diplomat since 1990, and has lived and worked in other parts of the world before moving to Singapore last year with her husband Martin, 55, and their daughter, Leda, 12. The experience has been wonderful so far and Margriet loves how everyone here is friendly and engaging. She also loves the great infrastructure, from roads to sports facilities, and the local cuisine. “I now have one more reason to exercise: so I can enjoy more food,” she says. While cycling to and from work isn’t quite an option right now, she usually cycles during the weekends. She and her family use the park connectors. Here, Margriet expounds on her love for cycling, and her secrets to looking fabulous.

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Eat Right


Cheers to quicker thinking


Moderate red wine intake (about a glass a day) may actually help keep your brain sharp as you get older. And new research has discovered that you may have your microbiome to thank for that. The bacteria in your gut turn the polyphenols in wine into various compounds. Some get into your bloodstream and travel to your brain, where they work to keep it healthy, the study’s authors found.



Eat Right News

GET SAUCED We still love tomatoes, but there’s a whole world of other healthy, decadent toppers for your pasta-eating pleasure. Make your own or hit the store – either way, we have some great ideas. our first step is to hunt down the highestquality ingredients that you can get,


says Nathaniel Cayer, executive chef at Dolce Italian in Chicago. “San Marzano canned PESTO

tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, farm-fresh vegetables: These are the building blocks that make a great


dish.” Then, just play around to invent new flavours – swop red wine for rose or ground


beef for lamb. That’s sauces so good that you want to eat them right out of the pot.


He shares some of his favourite creations here.

BE THE COOK Chef Nathaniel’s recipes are luxurious, hearty, fresh, and easy to whip up. 78 | EAT RIGHT | SHAPE APRIL 2018

TRUFFLE PAN SAUCE Saute garlic and shallots in olive oil, then shave truffles (fresh or canned) into the pan. When the smell is intense, add chicken stock, butter, chives, lemon juice, and salt and pepper; cook until it’s silky. Serve with a filled pasta like cappelletti or tortellini to add another dimension.

BEET PESTO Use a high-powered blender to puree raw beets, basil or parsley, walnuts, orange juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss it with fusilli; the twisted shape will grab onto the sauce.

LAMB RAGU Brown ground lamb and take it out of the pan, then saute mirepoix (chopped celery, carrot, and onion) with garlic, sage, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme in the juices. Add the meat back with a touch of tomato paste, then add wine, stock, oregano, and cinnamon. Simmer for an hour, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with rigatoni.


how Nathaniel creates

Delicious, wholesome broths Hot pot restaurant Beauty In The Pot, known for its nourishing soup bases, has opened its third outlet at OneKM mall. The 288-seater restaurant is the perfect place for a gettogether with your girlfriends. Its pink furnishings, rose gold charging points and marble floor tiles won us over immediately. Starting at the condiment bar, we got to concoct our own sauces ($3.80 per pax with unlimited servings of fruits), such as Beauty Sesame Dip and Crispy Soybean Spicy Dip, based on simple recipes shown on the wall. If you like your condiments simple, go for the pre-prepared Appetising Thai Dip, which happens to be our favourite. A nice blend of sweet and spicy, it went well with all the dishes. Known for their myriad of health benefits, Beauty In The Pot’s broths really delivered. With six diferent ones to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice. And, thanks to the quadruple pots, you can have up to four flavours at once.


THE BROTHS The crowd favourites are the Signature Beauty Collagen Broth and Signature Spicy Nourishing Soup (‘Mala’), but we enjoyed the lighter flavours of the Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth. Simmered for over two hours, the herbal aroma from the chicken broth carried a taste of home. It is said to improve blood circulation and strengthen one’s immunity. Other flavours include the tantalising Cooling Coconut

Beauty In The Pot is located at #03-38 OneKM mall (6284-8820). Broth. Your taste buds are in for a treat with this broth made with real coconut flesh and juice, spare ribs, chicken and snow fungus – all to nourish the lungs and soothe your throat. Veggie lovers will be pleased to know that they can choose between Longevity Wild Pine Mushroom Broth and Vitamin C Tomato Sweet Corn Broth.

THE INGREDIENTS At Beauty In The Pot, ingredients are prepared in-house daily to maintain freshness. One

of the highlights is the Ebiko Prawn Paste. The little bits of crunchy and juicy ebiko from the handmade paste added texture and dimension to the dish. The Signature Homemade Fish Tofu tasted more like fish cakes, but we had no complaints. The soft texture melted in our mouths quickly, and left us wanting more. Made with a blend of yellowtail fish, soya bean and egg white, it comes in adorable fish-shaped pieces. Meat lovers, rejoice with the wide selection here. From

sliced pork belly (from $7.50) to US Wagyu beef (from $24.50) everything is thinly sliced, and takes just a few minutes to cook.

THE VERDICT The lovely interior, nourishing broths and fresh ingredients are more than enough to make us return for more. Another plus: The outlet uses specially imported pots that are equipped with an exhaust system to contain the fumes, so you won’t end up all greasy and smelly after your meal. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | EAT RIGHT


Eat Right

Adventures in pasta 80 | EAT RIGHT | SHAPE APRIL 2018




Eat Right

THE NEW NOODLES Welcome to the age when almost anything delicious and healthy is being turned into pasta. To go veggie heavy, there are beet, fennel, ramps, chilli pepper, saffron, and roasted garlic versions to play with. Wheat-alternative pastas, like quinoa, farro, and rice, will give you heartiness plus extra nutrients like magnesium and zinc. Chickpea, lentil, and bean varieties are earthy and protein packed. They shine in salads or no-cook sauces, which preserve their texture.

Beet Fusilli With Charred Spring Onions, Capers, and Feta

Make it bolder These pastas love being paired with a hit of intense flavour: đ lemon slices đ bacon đ anchovies đ salty Parmesan or feta đ chilli flakes or harissa


Pappardelle With Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce and Spiced Almonds

SAUCES THAT SING When you’re craving creamy: Puree roasted or steamed root vegetables like butternut squash, carrots, and parsnips with olive oil, salt, pepper, and pasta water. For a new take on pesto, try: kale + pecorino + walnuts, broccoli + pistachios + anchovies, collard greens + pecans + garlic, or parsley + almonds + Parmesan. Or go heat-free: Try no-cook puttanesca, salsa verde, garlicky tahini, or grated raw vegetables and olive oil. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | EAT RIGHT |


Eat Right

Squid-Ink Casarecce With Fennel, Chilli, and Whole Lemon

BUILD A BETTER BOWL The balance has shifted: Use more veggies— like leafy greens, mushrooms, and squash—and less pasta. Aim for a 2:1 ratio.


THE FINISHING TOUCH Secret weapon: your pasta water A splash or two of the starchy water the pasta was cooked in will help you create a glossy, rich sauce that coats noodles and pulls it all together.

As the grand finale, a sprinkle, a toss, or a handful of one of these will add the indulgent quality you crave in a great pasta dish: toasted nuts, seeds, garlicky breadcrumbs, freshly chopped herbs, grated lemon zest, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or agrodolce sauce.

Rice Noodles With Shrimp, Tahini, and Citrusy Herb Salad




Eat Right

SNACK THE RAINBOW Fruits, vegetables... if you can pick ’em, you can chip ’em. These healthy crunchies are guaranteed to be BFFs with all your fave dips.


irst there were kale chips. Now chefs are asking “Why stop there?” and crisping up just about any kind of produce. “Everyone loves a good potato chip, of course,” says executive chef Jennifer Puccio, who serves fried, seasoned brussels sprout leaves at Marlowe in San Francisco. “But lemon, radish, and carrot versions are prettier, healthier, and more fun to eat.” Jennifer schools us on making six types of chips in just minutes.

4 5



1 RADISH Slice radishes very thin and fry in rice bran oil at 150 deg C until crispy. Use them to add crunch and an extra layer of flavour to a salad.

3 2


2 BRUSSELS SPROUTS Peel the leaves and fry them in rice bran oil at 180 deg C (use a splatter screen) or toss with oil to coat and bake at 205 deg C for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Sprinkle with your favourite spice blend, like lemon zest and sea salt, dukkah, and curry powder, or shichimi togarashi

(also called Japanese seven spice). 3 CARROT Slice carrots very thin or use a peeler to make strips. Deepfry at 150 deg C or toss with a 3:1 blend of canola oil and olive oil, and bake at 180 deg C for about 15 minutes or until crispy. Sprinkle over a creamy soup for a hit of crunch. 4 PEAR Use a mandolin to slice pears very thin and then crisp in a dehydrator. Serve with cheese or salty appetisers, like nut butter or prosciutto.

5 LEMON Slice lemons very thin and fry in rice bran oil at 150 deg C or toss with oil to coat and bake at 150 deg C for 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy. Use the chips to scoop up hummus or baba ghanoush, or serve them topped with balls of burrata. 6 ESCAROLE Toss leaves with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake in a 230 deg C oven for five to 10 minutes or until crispy. To amp up the flavour, puree some garlic with olive oil, and rub it into the leaves before baking.





Double up! In hot and humid Singapore, it’s normal to gravitate towards lighter, oil-free products to rid skin of that sticky, greasy feeling. However, most of us spend a good number of hours in air-conditioning, and this can be seriously drying for skin. What’s a girl to do then? Easy. Continue using your water- or- gel-based serums and essences, but just make sure you apply them twice. By layering these treatment steps, you’re allowing the active ingredients to penetrate deeper into your skin to increase their eicacy. The second layer of serum and essence helps to lock in the first application. Afterwards, follow with the rest of your skincare as usual and say hello to a plumper, more hydrated complexion over time.



Look Great News



5 3




stay put on me. We tested these eyeliners while doing five super sweaty HIIT workouts. Using a diferent eyeliner each time, we did intense, fast-paced exercises for at least 30 minutes to make sure we were dripping sweat.


so it should work for girls with drier lids. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($36) The unanimous favourite! This seriously stayed on all day and was the only one that didn’t smudge on Zarelda. The applicator was also easy to use and allowed for smooth and crisp black lines.





Hourglass Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner ($56) This stayed put on Estelle and me, but feathered on Zarelda. The applicator was pretty uncomfortable. It was hard and pokey, so you might want to steer clear of this if you have really sensitive eyes. Pigment-wise, this was a winner, and it went on smooth, sharp and intensely black.

Urban Decay Perversion Waterproof Fine Point Eye Pen ($35) This ofered a strong colour payof, but was the smudgiest of the lot. It took a long time to set and smeared on both Zarelda and me. It was also rather diicult to remove, and kept migrating around our lids. However, this didn’t budge on Estelle,

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner ($32) One of my favourites, it’s my current go-to eyeliner because the applicator is really fine and soft. This didn’t budge on Estelle and me, but feathered slightly on Zarelda. It’s good for those who do not want such a harsh line as it isn’t as pigmented as some of the other eyeliners. Too Faced Sketch Marker Liquid Art Eyeliner ($32) The design of this was inspired by Japanese calligraphy pens and is pretty easy to control – even for beginners. That said, this almost completely rubbed of on Zarelda by the end of her workout. - DAWN CHEN


hen it comes to finding your ideal eyeliner, you might want to make sure that it draws on easily and gives you that perfect flick every time. Secondly, with Singapore’s humidity, you will want one that is also smudge-resistant and waterproof. In the Shape team’s bid to find the best waterproof eyeliner there is, we scoured the web for beauty reviews and asked industry experts to recommend their best-rated products. Zarelda, Estelle and I also decided to put them to the test ourselves by applying them before going into a workout – because we know how many of you still can’t hit the gym without your trusty liner on – to find out just how ef fective they were, and whether or not they really lived up to the hype. Just so you know, Zarelda has really oily lids and so far hasn’t been able to find a waterproof eyeliner that worked for her. Estelle is just the opposite. With dry skin and dry lids, she hasn’t had a problem finding a smudge-proof eyeliner. I’m somewhere in between with my combi skin. My lids aren’t crazy oily and most eyeliners

Your one-stop for fashion, beauty, trends and boys!

Look Great News

Multitasking marvels I nstead of loading your beauty pouch with a multitude of products, keep things simple with a single, multipurpose balm. This is usually packed with a host of hydrating ingredients and tends to have a slightly thicker consistency to deeply moisturise. You can usually use it as a skin salve for itchy spots, too. Here are five great picks to try.

The Gentle Label Organic Healing Balm ($22, Two key ingredients in this organic salve are pawpaw and calendula – both of which are known to be skin soothers. The 100 per cent natural Organic Healing Balm is gentle enough for even babies to use. Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly (from $2.10, leading pharmacies) Old, but gold. This is one of the first multipurpose balms I’ve ever used, and it helped to rehydrate my severely dry lips after a bad reaction to a lipstick. Marketed as a skin protectant, this


is also recognised by the US National Eczema Association as a suitable remedy for dehydrated, itchy skin. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Original ($41) This is already a cult classic in the beauty world. The therapeutic balm helps soothe abrasions, chapping, scrapes, dryness, and roughness, It is formulated with an antiinflammatory beta hydroxyl acid and vitamin E to promote skin healing.  Sulwhasoo Essential Balm ($48) Use this on chapped lips or to soften dry areas like your elbows. Made with nutrient-rich safflower extract, it helps to boost cell renewal. It also comes in a Deep Relax version with ginger oil, rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender to soothe the body and mind. 


“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.” EMMA STONE, AMERICAN ACTRESS


True Organic of Sweden All You Need is Me ($29, Chock-full of natural organic ingredients, this salve is made with shea butter, vitamin E, and olive as well as blueberry seed oils. You can also apply this to relieve minor sunburn, cuts and insect bites.





Get guidance from the experts on understanding your sensitive skin

Expert Advice Dr Mark Tang, consultant dermatologist, The Skin Specialists & Laser Clinic

Decoding and managing sensitive skin through different stages in life.

Dr Karen Soh, medical director, Prive Clinic

Sensitivity in ageing skin – how to recognise the signs and care for such skin.

Mr Chan Joy Seng, director & accredited nutritionist, Alive Nutrition Consultancy

Common myths about how food affects sensitive skin, and how to read food labels.

Date April 7 (Saturday)

Time 1-4pm Place Expert tips on managing sensitive skin  Understanding and managing sensitive skin through the different stages of life – from baby eczema to oily, sensitive skin, to dry, ageing skin.  In-depth understanding of sensitive, ageing skin, including recommendations from a top dermatologist.  Busting myths on how food affects sensitive skin, and tips on reading food labels.  Step-by-step guide from Shape writer Dawn Chen on face yoga, and how this can help in the care of ageing skin.  Beauty tips from the Her World and Shape beauty editors on how to look and feel good from within.

The Luxe Art Museum, 6 Handy Road (opposite Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, Exit A or B, beside The Cathay)

Registration Sign up at http://campaign.herworld. com/hwxshapexcurelevent by April 4, 2018.

Fees $8 for one person $12 for two people Light refreshments included

Look Great Shop



he raspberry colour’s neutral undertone makes it universally flattering for all skin tones – and appropriate for every occasion. From matte to creamy and glossy, we’ve picked these to suit your every preference.



MODERN AND MATTE Every woman in this day and age should have a matte lipstick. Popularised by Kylie Jenner, many beauty brands have since introduced their own line of matte lippies. Here are five to try.



1 Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Miss Argentina ($31, Sephora)


2 Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment in Give It Up ($40) 3 Burberry Beauty Liquid Lip Velvet in #33 Magenta ($46)


4 Dior Rouge Dior Liquid in #788 Frenetic Satin ($50) 5 Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick in #211 Aloof ($50)






EASY-TO-WEAR CREAM FINISH If you find matte too drying and glossy lips too OTT, the cream finish is the perfect in-between. These three go on super easy and keep your lips moisturised, too.

A TOUCH OF GLOSS Dab it onto the middle of your lips and blend outwards for a devil-may-care look. It’s more forgiving on dry lips as it masks the appearance of fine lines. Here are two of the best. 6 Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur in #6 Framboise ($50) 7 Etude House Lip Rich Vivid Tint in PP501 ($20.90)

8 Mamonde True Color Lip Stick in #6 Miracle Pink ($24, Tangs) 9 Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Hydrating Cream Lip Color in 368 Rose Lancôme ($46)


10 Laneige Two Tone Lip Bar in #12 Maxi Red ($34) SHAPE APRIL 2018 | LOOK GREAT |


Look Great


t’s becoming increasingly clear that we can’t live without our phones. A University of Missouri study found that we’re nervous and less happy, and even perform worse cognitively when we’re separated from them. However, we can’t exactly live with them either as they’ve been blamed for everything from sleeplessness to loneliness. Now there’s a new scourge to add to the list: our devices pose numerous risks to our skin that no Instagram filter can fix. Here’s the news – and your new protection plan.


PAIN IN THE NECK Walking and texting isn’t just lifethreatening, it can deepen the lines around your neck prematurely.


Our screens are not friendly to our cells, emitting rays and doing other damage. Luckily, we found face-saving advice.

Your screen time is ageing you The culprit is the blue light – or high-energy visible (HEV) light – from your TV, computer, and smartphone, and it’s said to penetrate the skin more deeply than UV rays, depleting collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. There is also evidence that the light may also worsen pigmentation problems, such as melasma (brown splotches). Evidence tying it to skin cancers and deep wrinkles is scant, and due in part to the subject being too new for longterm study results. Unfortunately, even if you use sunscreen daily, many formulas don’t protect against HEV light. The key ingredient for this is a vegetable-derived form of melanin (the pigment that makes skin tan), which is showing up in new products designed for tech rays, such as Dr Sebagh’s Supreme Day Cream (US$186.68 or S$244.70, com) and ZO Skin Health’s Ossential Daily Power Defense Anti-Aging Formula ($237.90, It’s smart to play it safe, dermatologists say, but there’s no need to panic. “I don’t think we’ve reached the point where HEV light is an emergency yet,” says Dr Elizabeth Tanzi, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University Medical Center. Right now, derms think that we should still prioritise protection against UV rays. “We know the efects of the sun are so much more damaging than anything else, so it’s crucial not to forgo sunscreen in favour of an HEV guard,” Dr Tanzi says.

The blue light from your TV, computer, and smartphone is said to penetrate the skin more deeply than UV rays, depleting collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin.

Blame those breakouts on your phone

HELP FOR HEV LIGHT IS HERE! These moisturisers are worth the investment as they do double duty, hydrating skin and protecting it from HEV light.

Tech neck is real Looking down at your smartphone daily can cause wrinkles – and not just the ones on your forehead that you get in disbelief over what you’re reading on Twitter. We’re talking permanent wrinkles around your chin and neck, plus sagging skin and drooping jowls. “Any repetitive movement over time can do this, particularly on the face and neck,” Dr Tanzi explains. She says she’s beginning to see tech neck, plus wrinkles in the jowl area, in women in their 30s. Until recently it was most common in women over 50. No product can prevent this, and the problem is diicult to reverse once it happens, requiring aggressive treatments, like fillers and lasers. Instead, focus on prevention: hold up your phone instead of looking down. “Nobody does this, but they really should,” Dr Tanzi says. And avoid walking and texting. Need more incentive? Constantly looking down while in motion may be hurting our necks, causing excessive wear and tear that could require surgery, according to a 2014 study published in Surgical Technology International.

Cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats, according to Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist. This makes them something of a technological petri dish for tens of thousands of germs, thanks to the heat that phones generate (microbes multiply in warm places) and the bacteria on our hands that transfer to our devices and then to our faces. But even the cleanest phone (use a simple disinfectant wipe on yours) can bring on acne. “Anything that causes repeated friction if you’re acne-prone can produce blemishes,” Dr Tanzi says. “If you’re sticking your phone up against your face all the time and pushing it into your cheek, it can irritate and clog pores.” The pressure encourages oil glands to secrete more oil and also forces bacteria, dirt, and makeup into pores, where they get trapped. And you get pimples or even deep acne cysts, those large, painful bumps that can scar if you pick them. Solution: Use the speaker button or a hands-free microphone, or simply hold your phone away from your cheek.



Look Great

Heads up! You may need a scalp detox Ditching certain habits for a new clean routine can help your hair grow full, shiny, and strong.

ou’ve heard it hundreds of times! Extending time between shampoos (and making do with dry shampoo) preserves your colour, lets your scalp’s natural oils hydrate the hair, and minimises heat-styling damage. Problem is, what’s good for your hair isn’t necessarily good for your scalp, and an unhealthy scalp eventually affects the quality of new hair growth. “I’ve seen a steady uptick in patients who come in complaining of chronic scalp irritation, hair breakage, and shedding issues largely rooted in under-washing and overusing styling products,” says Dr Shereene Idriss, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. So how you do reconcile the needs of your hair with the care of your scalp? It’s not that hard. Start by following our regimen here.


STEP 1 KEEP IT CLEAN “You “Y wouldn’t go for days without washing your body, then sprinkle powder on your forearm and consider it clean,” says Dr Shani Francis, a medical director at Ashira Dermatology in Evanston, Illinois, who says calling dry shampoo shampoo is a misnomer. To keep your scalp healthy, you must treat it as you do your facial skin and remove impurities regularly – as in every three days at a minimum. “Styling products should not be left on your scalp for days and days,” Dr Francis says. If they are, the scalp skin will become irritated, pre-existing conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dandruf will flare up, and you will impede hair growth. David Adams, an Aveda colourist and owner of Fourteenjay Salon in New York City, describes it like this: “When you don’t shampoo regularly, product build-up becomes so dense, it blocks the opening of hair follicles, limiting the number of strands that can get out. This means a follicle that was once growing three or four strands may now sprout only one or two.”

FIRST AID Rene Furterer Complexe 5 Regenerating Plant Extract ($80.60, leading pharmacies) is a pre-shampoo treatment that provides a deep but gentle cleanse while Kerastase Specifique Bain Vital Dermo-Calm Cleansing Soothing Shampoo ($29.90, is designed to treat oily and irritated scalps.

STEP 3 DRINK UP “J “Just like the skin on the rest of your body, the scalp needs moisture to function eiciently,” Dr Francis says. But lubing up daily like you do on your face or hands is impractical and unnecessary. Hydrating once or twice a week should suice, says Dr Idriss, who says you can simply massage a little conditioner into the scalp, post-shampoo, while you condition your hair. There are also easily absorbed leave-in scalp serums and tonics that can be applied right after shampooing to hydrate and rebalance the scalp. FIRST AID Alterna Haircare Caviar Repair RX Lengthening Hair & Scalp Elixir (prices vary, and Sachajuan Scalp Treatment ($62, nourish the scalp and provide it with extra moisture.


STEP 2 SLOUGH OFF THE DEAD STUFF “R “Removing dead skin cells from the scalp improves the health of your epidermis, stimulates hair follicles, and promotes more robust hair growth,” Dr Idriss says. It also gets rid of stubborn sticky or oily product buildup that may not be completely broken down by shampoo or even a clarifying formula. “If your hair and scalp are in good condition, exfoliating once or twice a month is plenty,” David says. But if your scalp is flaky or itchy – or you’ve been going long stretches without shampooing – up the ante to weekly exfoliation for the first month. As for shedding methods, the simplest one is to just “manually exfoliate the scalp skin using a brush with soft rubber tips,” says Temur Dzidziguri, a hairstylist with Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon in New York. Massage the scalp with the bristles to loosen dead skin and grime, then step into the shower and shampoo it out. Another option: Add a teaspoon of sugar to a quarter-size drop of shampoo to make your own cleansing scrub. FIRST AID The Aveda Pramasana Exfoliating Scalp Brush ($46) lifts away scalp build-up without tangling hair. L’Oreal Paris Everfresh Micro-Exfoliating Scrub ($19.90, Guardian) and The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Refreshingly Purifying Cleansing Hair Scrub ($29) provide a mild physical exfoliation to rid your scalp of dead skin cells.

STEP 4 USE PR PROTECTION Shielding the scalp from UV rays whenever possible is key, says Dr Idriss, who adds that UV-related actinic keratosis damage to the scalp can cause hair loss – and lead to skin cancer. Consider using a powder sunscreen on areas where the scalp is exposed. If you are at the pool or beach, treat an oily sunscreen as a scalp protectant and styler. After spritzing it on, slick hair into a chignon. FIRST AID Peter Thomas Roth Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral SPF30 ($60, www. can be dusted undetectably into hair. Phytoplage Protective Sun Veil ($35, functions equally well for scalp protection, hair treatment, and styling. SHAPE APRIL 2018 | LOOK GREAT |




OVERNIGHT GLOW MOVE AND GROOVE With testimonials from celebs like Madonna and Natalie Portman, barre workouts that make use of the ballet barre to combine balance with dynamic movements to strengthen and sculpt bodies are gaining more recognition worldwide. Expect to experience a workout like no other at Webarre where the techniques of ballet, yoga, pilates and strength training are combined in one class. Even better, you do not have to be a ballerina to attempt this workout. It is suitable for people across all fitness levels. Priced at $40 for single drop-in classes. Visit

Save time on exfoliation and let CNP Cosmetics’ Peeling Cream Mask work its magic while you sleep. This easy-to-use sleeping mask is a lifesaver for dull and rough complexions. Simply apply it before bedtime and its main ingredient polyhydroxy acid, a chemical exfoliant, will gently dissolve and remove dead skin cells overnight. The mask also forms a layer over your skin to retain moisture. The overall result? Smooth, radiant skin by the morning. Priced at $42.80 for 80ml at www. and Guardian stores.



Here’s one brand that prides itself on producing shoes that are both stylish and comfortable: MBT. Its latest Malindi Recovery Sandals are no diferent. Their uniquely curved midsoles were designed to hug the arches of your feet for the best support. The soles are also made of MBT’s very own propriety cushioning material so your feet will never get sore. What’s more, the depth of the sandals cradles and supports your heels for maximum comfort. Available at $109 at MBT in Paragon and Suntec City Mall. Visit

At Orangetheory, technology meets fitness. Participants do high-intensity interval training workouts while tracking their progress in real-time using heart-rate monitors. All you need to do is make sure that you push yourself hard enough for an hour and your body will continue to torch fat for the next 36 hours. You will be burning calories without even lifting a finger. With technologically advanced equipment and experienced coaches, the environment at Orangetheory is perfect for you to reach your fitness goals. Try it out in a complimentary class redeemable online or at the studio. Classes start from $55. Visit www.robertson-quay. or www.tanjong-pagar.

MIND AND BODY Pure Yoga’s latest outlet at Suntec City Mall spans over 1,022 sq m and houses four studios. Its weekly classes feature more than 20 yoga styles, including hot yoga and yoga wheel. Whether you are a beginner or are at an advanced level, the yoga instructors will be able to cater to your abilities. To end your yoga session, freshen up under the rain showers in the spacious changing area. You can also curb post-workout hunger pangs at the food juice bar, which does healthy smoothies and snacks. Register for classes at #01-501 Suntec City Mall North Atrium. Visit

WELL-RESTED SKIN This night cream from Eversoft doubles as a sleeping mask to revitalise your skin overnight while the soothing scent of lavender essential oil ensures you get the beauty rest you need. Also formulated with natural antioxidants, bamboo extract water and vitamins to deliver nutrients and moisture, the brightening and hydrating efects of Eversoft Skinz Hydra Nature Radiant Lullaby Pack (100ml) will leave your skin feeling fresh and supple. Pay just $37.70 (UP $41.90) in the month of April at leading supermarkets or online at and

RUN WITH EASE The Skechers GOrun Ride is back with its seventh generation. Its Flight Gen cushioned midsole provides the optimal impact protection for your feet so that you feel stable and secure during runs. Comfortable and lightweight, Skechers’ Gorun Ride 7 trainers are sure to make clocking in those kilometres even more efortless. What’s more, the pull tab feature makes putting on and removing your shoes more convenient. Plus, the seamlessly designed, breathable two-toned knit material keeps feet fresh and dry. Priced at $139 at key Skechers concept stores. Visit

ALL-IN-ONE True Fitness caters to both yogis and fitness junkies. With eight locations islandwide, you are bound to find one nearby whenever you need a quick workout. You can choose from yoga, spinning and even dance classes, or simply utilise the wellfacilitated gyms for a workout. More good news: The cardiovascular training equipment comes with TV and iPod links to keep you entertained while you sweat it out. The spacious area for free weights and stretching also gives you the flexibility to vary your workouts. If you need help, personal training programmes can be tailored to your needs and abilities. Enjoy a special price of $55 per month from now till June 30 this year when you present this snippet to the counter. Visit


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102 | SHAPE APRIL 2018




PLUS! Enjoy a premium organic facial treatment of your choice from Organi worth $179. Ofer limited to the first 35 subscribers.


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