With so much travel and a jam-packed social calendar, it can be difficult to maintain a disciplined fitness routine here in Singapore – which is why personal training often proves to be a great fitness solution for so many expats. Here, EL readers share their own experiences with one-on-one fitness training and who’s been the top personal trainer for them.
Ultimate Performance Singapore – Nathalia Lossovska
Looking to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight after having her third child, Ukraine-born Nathalia turned to Ultimate Performance Singapore (UP) for guidance. Since January 2020, Nathalia’s been working with trainer Kenneth three times a week, focusing predominantly on weight lifting – complemented with nutrition support. When she’s not working out with UP, she’s running, cycling, taking brisk walks or doing other types of cardio to keep up her physical activity.
Why she loves it
Diet is the key when you want to get toned or lose weight, while the exercise is the necessary accessory. UP combines the two into one perfect concoction. I have to log in and send the photos of all my meals to my trainer, which keeps me accountable and prevents me from slacking off. Throughout my UP journey, Kenneth has been very diligent in adjusting and revising my meal plans to accommodate my wants and needs, while not losing track of the end goal of getting to my ideal weight. I’m certain that I couldn’t have achieved these results in such a short span of time without UP.
Kenneth pays very close attention to my form while gradually increasing the weight every other session; this ensures that I continue to build up muscle mass. I also love the fact that the gym is not overcrowded, and everyone at UP is very committed and focused on bettering themselves.
Circuit Breaker Success
I trained virtually with Kenneth once a week and we had catch-up calls in between to ensure that I was still “on track”. During the rest of the week, I did my own weight training and running. I did have some physical setbacks (an ankle injury that caused problems, and stiff shoulders from working on my laptop the whole day) – not to mention major cravings, where I would plunder the kitchen for anything containing chocolate. I made it a point to be honest about these setbacks with my trainer, and it paid off because he had skillfully guided me through the difficult times by adjusting my diet and exercise routine.
I now feel confident and energetic, and more toned than I’ve been in my whole life, which feels amazing. I feel strong and healthy, and can finally run seven kilometres and not feel suffocated after five minutes; I have developed a “can do” mentality when it comes to fitness.
On the diet front, I’ve discovered that I used to overeat at meals; I now know that knowing what you eat, and planning your meals ahead, is key.
My friends and family who had not seen me during the Circuit Breaker period were amazed to see the results; in fact, some of them told me that seeing my transformation had motivated them to start pursuing their own fitness goals.
ATP Fitness – Janna Jalla Umetin
Looking to develop healthier nutrition and fitness habits at the start of 2020, Filipino-American expat Janna turned to ATP Fitness, where she began working out with Jacqueline three times a week. Now, more than six months in, Janna is down more than 15 kilograms (35 pounds). Needless to say, she has seen incredible results from her one-on-one sessions, which incorporate lots of weightlifting and conditioning to build strength and promote fat loss.
“I had tried many times to make an overall lifestyle change, but didn’t have the energy or bandwidth to educate myself. I knew that getting help from a professional would be much more impactful and efficient, especially trying to balance my career, my social life and adjusting to living in a new country,” she says.
Why she loves it
ATP is truly a tailored experience. Each person has different goals, genetics and levels of experience when it comes to their history with exercise and training. ATP learns about you first, then approaches it from a consultative perspective – giving you their best, most efficient way of helping you get there. They give you the tools you need to continue this lifestyle beyond your time with them, too. Also, they encourage clients to approach their training from a well-rounded standpoint, taking into account our daily routines to reduce stress, optimise sleep and maximise training time.
My absolute favourite part about working out with Jac at ATP is seeing my strength develop week after week. It’s incredibly satisfying to continuously break my own personal records with squats, Romanian deadlifts, trap-bar deadlifts and more. In addition, Jac puts a heavy emphasis on form, making sure I perform exercises correctly. She also makes sure that I am being challenged, but to a point where I maintain my health. She motivates me to push myself, but also celebrates every little success with me as well!
Circuit Breaker success
Janna’s been able to transform both her body and her lifestyle – even during the Circuit Breaker. In fact, she says it was one of the best ways to keep herself busy and really focus on her goals. I was lucky enough to have purchased adjustable dumbbells, resistance bands and a mat prior to Circuit Breaker, which made it easier to continue home workouts. Jac was very much in touch and continued to create a home training workout programme for me. We kept track of my progress to make sure I was continuing to build my strength and endurance; Jac made sure she checked in on my mental health and wellbeing too, given that the Circuit Breaker was a sensitive time for everyone. She was able to accommodate my fitness needs and my priorities during that time.
Overall, I’m much more active in my day to day, whether it’s training at ATP, working out from home, running, or cycling all over Singapore – I make it a priority to move my body one way or another day to day. I cook more healthy, nutrient-packed meals at home, but still indulge in treats once in a while. I’m much more mindful of how I treat my body, and how I take care of myself. We only have one body, so we have to make sure we’re doing our best to nourish ourselves!”
Options Pilates – Twyla Hartnell
As an active person who enjoys tennis, boxing and other sports, Canadian expat Twyla has always loved adding Pilates into the mix to help maintain overall mobility and strength. So, when she moved to Singapore earlier this year, she began training four times a week with Options Pilates. It offers a variety of private and group classes at its Orchard Road (International Building), Oxley Rise (One Oxley Rise) and Bukit Timah (Sime Darby Centre) studios, as well as at the American Club Singapore.
Since March, Twyla has not only achieved toned abs and arms, but has also experienced less back pain, improved posture and increased body awareness, which, in turn, has made her workouts – both inside and outside the Pilates studio – more efficient.
And, while she had previously placed total emphasis on toning during her Pilates practice, Twyla says her training sessions with Options have shifted her priorities toward reaping the holistic benefits from her workouts – everything from strength and stabilisation of the spine to physical coordination, balance, injury prevention and improved posture.
Why she loves it
Primarily, I enjoy the wide range of benefits that Pilates brings – from increased muscle strength and tone to improved flexibility. Much like yoga, Pilates movements have breathing patterns and require concentration, therefore providing meditative effects; I always leave more relaxed than when I got there! Pilates also has a large emphasis on correct form – more than any type of workout I’ve done – so it’s great for people with injuries or rehabilitation requirements. The Pilates movements themselves are slow but challenging, and I find it to be a really fun workout!
The wide variety of movements in a Pilates session addresses muscles I don’t work in other forms of activity, which I think helps with prevention of future injuries. I also achieve very quick toning results through these sessions because the movements are catered to my specific requirements.
One-on-one Pilates training sessions work best for me because I can work on anything I need to at the time. The individual attention ensures that I’m doing every movement with the perfect form – that means I take away the most I can from the workout.”
Circuit Breaker Success
” I really enjoyed the experience of training virtually because I’d previously always focused on equipment-based Pilates rather than spending much time doing mat work. During the Circuit Breaker, I took virtual mat classes with Options and gained some foundation that I can now bring to the reformer.
In terms of quality of workout, I felt it was the same as if I’d been in the studio; however, I did still miss the studio space and face-to-face interaction. More than anything, I was just grateful to have an option to keep myself moving while inside!
Going forward, I’ll continue to focus on reformer because I feel there are more options for advanced movements and resistance toning. But I’ll also attend Options’ Mat & Reformer Fusion class regularly as a way to mix it up.”
UFIT – Erik and Chloe Barreto
French expat Erik had already enjoyed some UFIT group classes, so, when his wife, Australian expat Chloe, wanted to enlist the help of a personal trainer to get back in shape and regain strength after having a baby, he was more than happy to join in. The couple has been training privately with their UFIT instructor Amelia Kernstine twice a week since March, alternating circuit training (cardio and resistance training) and weight training – and adding UFIT bootcamp sessions into the mix on days they’re not training with her. With Chloe back in her pre-pregnancy jeans and Erik down eight kilos, the couple is feeling fitter and stronger, and ready to take on parenthood!
Why they love it
We really enjoy training together, and Amelia is great at multitasking to ensure we’re both reaching our goals. She pushes us way more than we would ever do if we were exercising by ourselves, and we love the variety of exercises. She does like to throw in a challenging finisher, which means we always leave the gym sweating!
As new parents, we weren’t training as much as we would have liked and personal training allowed us to be focused and efficient. The workouts are tailor-made for us, and we can tell a lot of time and thought has gone into each one. Amelia really listens to us and, if we’re feeling sore from carrying a heavy baby around, she’ll work around it to create exercises that will help strengthen the right muscles to support those weaknesses. It’s great to have someone holding us accountable, ensuring we keep up our training no matter how busy our schedules are.
Circuit Breaker Success
During lockdown, Chloe and Erik trained with UFIT four to five time a week – a combination of online personal training and virtual group classes.
Erik says: Both were great and we loved that our workouts kept structure in our days. The online PT sessions were also great for Chloe, as she could do them anytime, and Amelia structured the workouts by working around the equipment we already had at home.
Now back to in-gym sessions at UFIT One-North, Erik and Chloe are feeling healthy and strong.
Erik says: We had indulged a lot during lockdown and the online workouts really kept us on track. So, when we got back in the gym we were still strong and ready to pick up where we left off. Improving my fitness and mobility with personal training has allowed me to get back into other sports I hadn’t played for a number of years. I’ve also been doing physio sessions at UFIT One-North and have noticed a massive improvement in my shoulder mobility after only a few sessions.
Chloe says: I feel so much stronger since starting, which is important for a new mum with a now 9.5kg baby! It feels great being able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes again and my body is strong enough to support my busy life. My fitness goals now feel very achievable, whereas when I started, I felt like I had a long way to go.
Throughout September, EL readers can get free nutrition sessions for any 25-or 50-session personal training packages purchased with UFIT.
UFIT Club Street, One-North and Orchard
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