Imagine being asked to speak at a service excellence themed event on a topic that is non-service related. Most people would probably think twice before accepting.

But not the organizers and myself. We agreed that it could be done and would be interesting.

Titled “Serving You, Serving Me”, the service excellence themed event at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Headquarters first kicked off with an award presentation ceremony honoring the most service oriented staff in the ministry under the “Serving You” category before proceeding with my portion on health and fitness which was billed under “Serving Me”. If you think it strange how a health and fitness talk can gel into a service excellence based event, think again. Only when one is fit, hale and hearty can he or she serve others and provide them with good internal or external service. It thus makes perfect sense for all of us to treat our bodies well as that’s the only way we can lead a quality lifestyle.

Today’s health and fitness talk at MOE HQ, held after the tea-break, attracted a big sign-up crowd of close to a 100, or so I was told. Encouraged by the response, I felt really relaxed from the moment I was handed the portable mike. Perhaps it’s because of the good vibes from the audience or the friendly banter I had with some of the participants (including the director) during the tea-break as I arrived early.

If you ask me why I continue to be excited each time I do a talk or workshop, it’s simply because I draw energy from the audience. When they show that they are more than willing to learn and exchange ideas, that’s when the session gets really fun.

We all have a responsibility to look after our bodies and not take it for granted. Just like how others such as the media and the people around us attempt to bombard us with their own agenda-driven messages, it is still up to us at the end of the day to decide what is best for ourselves. This is our health we are talking about. This is our fitness we are talking about. So if you know the true extent of your health and fitness levels, it makes the job of living a quality lifestyle a breeze.

Sharing this important notion with the participants, I taught them how to check the state of their health through various indicators. And through this process, there were of course mixed reactions in the crowd as some were pleasantly pleased while others heaved a sigh of relief…only to witness yet some others draw a frown on their faces.

Next up was the repeated emphasis on my part on the importance of meals to one’s diet. Just think about it – you may have had the best workout of the century a couple of minutes ago but if you check yourself in for a buffet meal or fast food joint just to reward yourself for your hard work earlier, you can bid farewell to that workout as it’s completely wasted. Yet diet doesn’t always mean having to deprive ourselves of food as we still need to eat. And eat we must. But eating smaller meals more often, think every three hours, is the way to go! Not only will your metabolism rate and sugar levels be kept constant, you will also feel less lethargic.
Ever heard of the saying “all talk and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? I’m sure you must have! And that’s why I specially added two simple, yet effective bodyweight exercises to bring the talk to a crescendo and for the participants to live with something concrete which they can implement immediately in their lives. Like the parting of the Red Sea, we all witnessed the swift moving of the chairs to the sides as the multi-purpose room was literally transformed into a mini exercise area. The only ingredients missing were volunteers and mass participation!

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After my demonstrations, one gentleman and one lady stepped forward to co-lead the group in the two bodyweight exercises. I love bodyweight exercises as it effectively kills three of the biggest, all-time excuses people have for not exercising. They are 1) no time, 2) no money and 3) no knowledge. With bodyweight exercises, you can do these exercises anytime, anywhere even in the comfort of your office cubicle or at home in front of the TV.

Remember everyone, even if you have never exercised for the last few years, fret not as it is never too late to take action to do something. Do something for yourself in the New Year and watch your health and fitness reach new peaks.

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