Ways to get your husband fitter, stronger and more manly

Ways to get your husband fitter, stronger and more manly
Left to right: Gavin Png, Farid Kamal Nordin and James Sim

We help you find ways to make Hubby healthier: Get ideas from our fitness challenge, know which diseases to look out for and see how you can stay active together. By Delle Chan and Sasha Gonzales


The Great Hubby Fitness Challenge

We asked the (not-so-fit) husbands of three Simply Her readers to sweat it out and improve their diet for four weeks, and tracked how they huffed and puffed their way to better health.

Gavin Png, 33, trainee teacher
Height: 170cm
ORIGINAL Weight: 88kg
Lost: 4kg

Gavin is a self-confessed foodie - he can polish off two square meals (think a bowl of wonton mee and a plate of rice with meat and vegetables) in a single sitting. This has caused the father of two to put on a fair bit of weight over the past few years. "He's training to be a Mathematics and PE teacher, but his physical build doesn't reflect that," wife Vanessa Chew confided.

We signed Gavin up for thrice-weekly Bootcamp classes at 7Cycle, a boutique indoor cycling gym.

These high intensity interval training-style classes saw Gavin alternating between short bursts on the bike and several bodyweight and plyometric training exercises like lunges, battle ropes, box jumps and push-ups - all within 35 minutes. Talk about intense!

"Our Bootcamp classes are designed to help participants improve their muscle tone, stability, agility, power and strength. They're also great for weight loss - Gavin can expect to burn a minimum of 400 calories per session. He'll definitely see the inches come off if he watches his diet carefully," said Bootcamp instructor Naz Osman.

Gavin says: "The first week was a killer! I could barely finish the first session - I had to take several breaks halfway. My body ached so much, too. However, my body slowly adapted to the workout, and I was soon able to complete sets without feeling as breathless as before.

"Sticking to a healthy diet was the toughest part - I craved my usual portions of rice. I'm glad I had a trainer because I don't think I could have pushed as hard if I were doing it alone. "After four weeks, I've managed to shed 4kg, and my skin and digestion have improved. I'm also getting used to eating clean - it's something I will strive to continue doing."

Farid Kamal Nordin, 36, IT architect
Height: 171cm
ORIGINAL Weight: 88kg
Lost: 4kg

Farid used to play basketball and competitive tennis back in school. This changed when he started working - the long hours meant his fitness took a back seat. "We started playing an hour of badminton weekly only recently. Unfortunately, Farid doesn't exercise much besides that," wife Vanessa Leo shared.

For our challenge, Farid attended physical conditioning classes at Grit, a no-frills gym that subscribes to the Training for Warriors (TFW) system, an established physical and mental training programme originally created for combat athletes. He was put through a series of strength and metabolic conditioning workouts thrice a week to help improve his overall fitness - think functional exercises like kettlebell deadlifts, medicine ball slams, assisted pull-ups and more. "He can expect to see an improvement in his stamina and muscle tone after four weeks," trainer Gene Leong said.

"Of course, this has to be coupled with dietary changes. For a start, we recommend cutting down on refined carbohydrates, skipping deep-fried food and sugary snacks, and consuming more green vegetables."

Farid says: "It was very tough initially, as I felt drained when I cut down on carbohydrates. Every workout was a challenge in itself - Gene would increase the weight or intensity if he found that I was taking it easy.

"I've noticed that my fitness has improved significantly. During my first week, I had trouble climbing the three flights of stairs to the gym. By the third week, it felt effortless!

"My wife also thinks that I look fitter, so that's a good thing! I think that my target goal weight of 75kg is well within reach. "I've really enjoyed training and I'm seriously contemplating signing up with Grit to continue my workout. I might even persuade my wife to do the same!"

James Sim, 33, marketing manager
Height: 175cm
Weight: 86kg

According to his wife Fiona Wan, James loves streaming movies online and playing computer games. These pursuits, coupled with late nights at work, have fuelled his snacking habits - he often munches on chips, cookies and chocolates. And while he plays badminton and football regularly, his weight hasn't budged.

We persuaded James to sweat it out three to four times a week at Trifecta Martial Arts, a mixed martial arts academy that conducts age and skill-specific classes. James grappled, arm-locked and parried his way to fitness through Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a popular combat sport. "Brazilian jiu-jitsu will provide James with a good cardio workout, with an element of strength," co-founder and programme director Arlene Lim said. "It's a physically demanding sport, but very practical as well - you never know when self-defence might come in handy. With the right diet and commitment, we expect James to get fit pretty quickly!"

James says: "I've tried muay thai before, but Brazilian jiu-jitsu was something new for me. I was surprised at how exhausting it can be! My entire body ached after the first session. At the start, I also needed to take a nap before each workout so I could have enough energy.

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