Training

Eileen Lui Wants to Help You Develop an Awesome Fitness Programme (Part 1)

by On Oct 19, 2016

Eileen Lui may as well be a rockstar because the Lethwei ring boxing, cross fit and certified training Renaissance woman has earned a cult following. Now, she’s sharing her favourite workouts with you!

Eileen Lui Wants to Help You Develop an Awesome Fitness Programme (Part 1)

You can’t always get to the gym, so you’re plagued with guilt. Your social life takes priority over the conditioning schedule you promised to keep.

What’s to be done about matching your great intentions with the reality of your crazy schedule? Simple. Adopt Eileen.

Okay — so maybe you don’t want to adopt fitness pro Eileen Lui whose certifications and skills kick serious butt, but you will want to adopt her tried-and-tested methods for exercises guaranteed to fit your lifestyle.

We’ve asked Eileen to share her secrets in this first segment of our 3-part feature. Even if you only adopt a few suggestions, you will not just enhance your running skills but acquire an entire way of life that requires nothing more than adding a single move to your schedule every week.

Eileen calls herself a marketing communications chick by day, writer by night and a coach and mentor in-between her other professional demands. We think she sleeps. We’re just not sure when she manages to do that. Ready to change from a caterpillar to a butterfly using Eileen’s programme?

Week 1: Air Squats

Type of move:

Functional; a full-body muscle and joint workout that’s effortless and painless.

How to perform it:

  • Stand with feet apart at shoulder-width
  • Allow your hips to move down and back so they’re lower than your knees
  • Pay attention to your lumbar curve as you hold your position; your neck and back should form a straight line
  • Air Squats

  • Keeping your heels on the floor, thrust your chest out and bring your arms up
  • Double check to make sure your knees line up with your toes
  • Air Squats

  • Hold this position as long as you like before returning to your original standing position.

Eileen’s tips: Refer to my photos to help guide you and don’t worry about perfection as I’m still mastering my squat form. As a matter of fact, a fitness colleague of mine is still working on hers after four years! By the way, this is the ideal exercise to do while you’re brushing your teeth. It’s not like you’re doing anything with the rest of your body at this time, right?

Week 2: Push-ups

Type of move:

This functional move is the quintessential body strengthener. Do it right and you literally “activate” every muscle of your body.

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If you’re feeling a bit timid, take a deep breath because we won’t be asking you to emulate Singapore commandos doing their rigorous versions of the push-up! You might say that this is a kinder, gentler push-up.

You could even learn to like doing them if you give them a chance.

How to perform it:

  • Position your arms so they are shoulder-width apart as shown on the accompanying photo below
  • Push Up 1

  • Maintain a neutral spine, imagining your hips, back and neck in a totally straight line
  • Emulate my pose in the photo below by bringing your chest to the floor while your elbows hug your body
  • Push Up 2

  • When you come back up from your push-up, your spine should remain neutral; knees on the floor
  • Move into a hand-release push-up starting from a normal push-up position…
  • But as you go down, release both hands momentarily while pushing back into the standard push-up position
  • Double check to make sure your elbows remain as close to the body as possible.

A video posted by Eileen Lui (@eileenlui) on

Eileen’s tips: Push-ups may seem daunting, but they’re really mind over matter. If you think you can do them, you can — and my methods aren’t the sort you will run into if you happen to wind up in a brutal boot-camp environment. You’re invited to contact me after you’ve tried the Eileen Push-up on Instagram (@eileenlui) to let me know how it went. Oh, and I don’t mind if you complain to me, either, so have at it!

Week 3: Burpees

Type of move:

Eileen never makes fun of exercisers who find the that word “burpees” reminds them of someone with indigestion because she thinks that name is pretty dumb, too.

But this combination of squat and push-up is no laughing matter, which is why so many fitness buffs hate them and often confide that their coaches make them do them out of revenge!

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In fact, burpees build strength, endurance and endow exercisers with anaerobic capabilities that other exercises don’t. Looking to vanquish fat? Burpees do this job, too.

How to perform it:

  • Stand up straight (this is the easy part)
  • Burpee 1

  • Bend over and place your arms on the floor shoulder-width apart
  • Burpee 2

  • Kick both of your legs back straight in one powerful, swift motion to assume the form shown on the photo below
  • Burpee 3

  • With your spine in neutral position and abs constricted, perform a chest-to-floor push-up on the floor
  • Burpee 4

  • Substitute a hand-release push-up for a regular one if you love to challenge yourself
  • Burpee 5

  • Straighten up and bring both legs and arms back or try a full-stretch air jump to reach as high as you can.

A video posted by Eileen Lui (@eileenlui) on

Eileen’s tips: It’s okay to hate burpees as much as I do, but I still manage to perform about 450 a day; three days a week. If I can do it, you can, too (and nobody’s insisting that you do 450!). Instead, how about taking my 5-minute burpee challenge by doing 5 burpees every 30 seconds.

If it takes you less than 30 seconds per move, shake your legs and regain your breath and then begin anew until you complete a 5-minute stint. Need to whine? Use the #iStillHateBurpees to purge your hatred. Your heart will thank you big time.

Week 4: Running

Type of move:

Bet you never thought we’d get to the exercise you love most in the world. In fact, Eileen’s like a running doctor, prescribing a good run even when the heat beats down because every environmental change gives you an opportunity to test your determination and willpower.

She recommends a training schedule of 2 short and 1 long runs weekly as a matter of routine. Super Woman Eileen likes to follow up a “leisurely” 18km run with 5km speed intervals on the treadmill. Holy fitness routine!

How to perform it:

  • Prep your mind before every run; ask yourself, will today’s run be fast, slow or a tempo my body craves?
  • Once you set a pace, use Eileen’s mind-engaging strategy: play games along your route. For example, challenge yourself to reach a corner before a street light turns from green to red
  • Keep adding more mind games. Reward yourself with a slower pace, play new tunes or promise yourself a treat
  • Get actual work done as a regular part of your running ritual. Eileen’s creative juices are triggered by endorphins that prompt brainstorms that reward her clients with innovative ideas they can take to the bank. See if you don’t find yourself getting a jumpstart on your job, even before you shower and arrive at the office!
  • Stay safe. You mind may run overtime as your earbuds crank out your favs, but never compromise your safety in the name of creativity. Stay visible, scan the horizon non-stop, check out the road ahead (one pothole could sideline you!) and err on the side of caution when approaching corners where cars may lurk.

Eileen’s tips: I encourage runners to listen to their favourite music for myriad reasons, not the least of which is that it adds so much pleasure to a run, even when fatigue sets in.

I also encourage the people I coach to greet others they meet along their running routes because after a while, they’ll get to know them just by sight.

My biggest tip? I must credit my husband with this one: always carry taxi fare just in case. I’ve never had to use it, but there’s always a first time!

Eileen can't wait to offer you more of her delightful, sage advice, so keep your eyes on these pages for Part 2, coming soon. What can you expect? Even more training tips from our guest expert on all things fitness-related!

If you could ask Eileen just one question about how to improve your personal fitness programme, what would it be?

Aidan is the Editor-in-chief of RunSociety. His focus is to oversee RunSociety’s Creativity Channel, spanning a wide range of inspirational and enriching topics daily to the running community. Get in touch with him if you something to say, or want to weigh in on an interesting topic at hello@runsociety.com.

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