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, three EL readers share their own one-on-one training experiences, and one reader tells us what it took to become a personal trainer herself.
British expat Tracy has been training with Sharon at Options Pilates for about four years now. Working once a week at Options’ Oxley Rise studio, Tracy does a mix of mat and reformer Pilates, “depending on what hurts that day!” In addition to one-on-one sessions, Options offers group Pilates classes including prenatal and postnatal, as well as Core Suspend and Matwork classes, and Pilates education and certification courses.
Why she started: “I do a lot of running and CrossFit, and I found I needed to stretch more; that’s why I started looking for a Pilates instructor.”
Why she loves it: “I like the way Pilates makes my body feel. I feel so much lighter, leaner and taller when I leave the studio – like my posture has been realigned – and, of course, Sharon and I put the world right while we are training! I really enjoy her training style and her knowledge of the body. I have a lower back problem that Sharon is aware of, so she tailors my sessions accordingly. “Pilates has made me realise that I don’t have to run a marathon or lift 100 pounds to get a feel good sense of exercise.”
“I think this form of exercise really complements the other types of training that I do. Running and weight training can leave me with sore, tight muscles so it feels good to stretch them out with Pilates; I come out of my sessions feeling relaxed, with my muscles feeling stretched and pliable again – I can move freely! It’s really good for my physical wellbeing.”
Results: “Pilates has made me realise that I don’t have to run a marathon or lift 100 pounds to get a feel-good sense of exercise. The sessions make me feel energised and good about my body. Pilates has also made me more aware of my body, especially my core. I sit up straighter and stand taller, and I think that, combined with everything else I do, Pilates has helped sculpt my muscles.”
Options Pilates has studio locations at International Building (Orchard), Sime Darby Centre (Bukit Timah), One Oxley Rise and The American Club Singapore. optionspilatesstudio.com
Videlina Georgieva Australian expat Videlina has been training with Ultimate Performance for the past year, working with her trainer Raymond two to three times per week. Weight training is the main focus, though they mix it up with some cardio and resistance training, focusing on the main muscle groups including legs and back. UP trainers take a “holistic, global” approach, customising realistic solutions for each client’s individual lifestyle – from advice on diet and supplements to travel health, and stress and sleep tips. And, while UP is primarily based on one-on-one personal training, they do offer a small selection of group classes, too.
Why she started: “I needed someone who could motivate me and mentor me to success.”
Why she loves it: “I love the focus it takes, and the feeling of being strong and fit. I also enjoy the interaction with my personal trainer – we always discuss something interesting and useful related to nutrition and exercise. The fact that my trainer is personally invested in my development and committed to achieving my goals with me is probably the most important and biggest differentiator to other personal training gyms.”
Results: “I have lost 20kg – I’ve literally changed my life; I feel stronger, I’ve established a positive body image and feel happier overall. Most importantly, my positive body image means that I am no longer focused on ‘dieting’ but rather I’ve changed my lifestyle as a whole, which has been incredibly rewarding and much easier to sustain in the long run. Only now that I’ve become leaner is it becoming more challenging to lose more weight, so I’ve supplemented with outside activities such as 5km runs.”
Charlotte Freeman For the past 14 months, British expat Charlotte has trained with UFIT, doing one-on-one sessions with trainer Lachlan three to four times a week, complemented by UFIT’s group bootcamp on Sundays at Tanjong Beach. UFIT, which has five gym locations throughout the city, offers everything from tailored personal training and women’s-only SHEFIT programmes to bootcamps and CrossFit, plus special fitness retreats – something for everyone, really. Meanwhile, UFIT Clinic offers physiotherapy, massage therapy, osteopathy and nutrition services, plus dedicated prenatal programmes.
Why she started: “I needed to lose weight and I wanted to get fit. After trying to do this on my own, I realised I just wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted. So, I decided I needed to do something different and make an investment into my health and fitness. A friend of mine who was looking great recommended her trainer, Lachlan Hay at UFIT on Amoy Street. The next day I had a trial session and have never looked back.”
Why she loves it: “What I love most about our workouts, hands down, is the variety. I never know what I’m going to be doing when I walk into the gym. We cover a variety of exercises from weight lifting and HIIT to Strongman training and Muay Thai; there’s always something different. I also like the fact that having a trainer pushes me to do more than I ever would on my own. I really enjoy working out with Lachlan, even at 6am. He puts a lot of thought and time into designing sessions that he knows will challenge me and are fun to do.”
Results: “Where do I start? In the last 14 months, I’ve lost 25kg, run three half marathons and lifted weights that I never imagined were possible. I feel fit, strong and, most importantly, healthy. I’ve achieved my original goals and way more. Also, I’ve learnt two things: firstly, we’re able to achieve anything if we want it enough and, secondly, we’re capable of way more than we think we are.”
UFIT has gym locations at Amoy Street, Galaxis Building (One-North), OG Orchard Point (Orchard), Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar; UFIT Clinic is located at Raffles Quay and Galaxis Building (One-North). ufit.com.sg
Amanda Wilson Looking to become a certified personal trainer, Australian expat Amanda looked to FIT Singapore to reach her goal. Aimed at educating and empowering fitness professionals, FIT offers an extensive range of certification courses, including ACE (American Council on Exercise) Personal Trainer certification classes – conducted as a six-day ProGrade intensive or 11-week Personal Trainer Development programme – among other specialist accreditations and a wide range of continuing education courses, from preand postnatal, rehabilitation and senior fitness to nutrition and weight-loss.
Why she enrolled with FIT: “I enrolled in FIT’s personal training course to boost my knowledge so I can design effective programmes for a range of client fitness levels. I’m honoured to have recently come on board as a trainer with Momentum Bootcamps, where all of the trainers are fully certified. So, the personal training course I completed with FIT was perfect for my needs, as I completed the ACE Personal Trainer certification. I also wanted to help women achieve their fitness goals at various stages of their lives so I enrolled in the Women’s Fitness Specialist course.”
Why she loved it: “As a certified trainer, continuing education is important so I always look forward to hearing about the latest batch of new courses on offer. FIT does a good job of bringing educators from all around the world so that we get to learn from the gurus! Also, I really like how the personal training course facilitators weren’t purely focused on helping us to pass the exam – they made sure we walked away from the course armed with the right skills and knowledge we need to be successful trainers.”
So, you’d recommend FIT? “Yes, definitely, and I have already – my bootcamp colleagues recently used FIT for continued education, with two having recently completed the Metafit certification course.”
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Photography Ken Tan