Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mid-Life Fitness Training: Views From A Middle-Aged Singapore Personal Trainer

It has been almost 3 years since I officially reached and crossed the middle-age point of life (usually defined as being 40 years and above here in Singapore).

Thankfully, I have managed to retain most of my fitness, youthfulness and vigour (I've been told by some quarters that I can still pass myself off as someone in the early 30's or even in the late 20's; and I think my current fitness status is still comparable to someone in the mid-to-late 20s or so) - thanks in a large part to God's grace in my life, the active and rugged fitness lifestyle that I lead, and of course, the good genes that I've inherited from my parents .....

Me - warts and all, coming up to my 43rd birthday in a few months' time

Whatever it is, I'm incredibly thankful that up to now, I'm still in a position to pursue my passion in fitness both in my personal and professional life.

As I continue to look forward to life in my mid-forties and beyond, I can't help but notice that my overall fitness philosophy, perspectives and training approach have all drastically evolved through the years.

From someone who started out dabbling in bodybuilding and resistance training for fun more than two decades ago, to becoming a full-fledged fitness coach dedicated to providing mobile fitness and gym-free fitness to clients in varied and innovative settings, I've seen and experienced my fair share of life experiences in this relatively short fitness journey.

The following are some of my very own personal observations, lessons and experiences that I've learnt in my fitness journey so far:

1) Listening To My Body More

With the additional years clocked in, I've realized that it pays to listen more attentively to the signs and signals that my body sends out to me from time to time; and to tweak my training variables in accordance to how I feel from workout to workout. No longer do I "bash" my body with brute force as if there is no tomorrow, (not that I don't train hard any more, because I still DO. In fact, I still give 100% in intensity in most of my workouts) but I've learned to tamper my exuberance for training with a dose of wisdom, self-control and moderation. Also, rest, recuperation and recovery have become the 3R's that I've truly learnt to embrace and appreciate in my current mid-life situation.

2) Having More Realistic Fitness Goals

With age, I've also learnt to become more realistic with my fitness expectations. Though I still keep myself pretty much in great shape, maintaining a healthy body fat percentage of around 12% - 16% year round, I'm no longer fixated with superficial goals such as: attaining a super-muscular, "for-show-only" physique, or having clearly-defined "6-Pack Abs" just so to impress others, or even aim for unrealistically low body fat percentage (anything less than 10% - which is actually unhealthy in the long run). Fitness to me now - is being in good enough shape to carry out my day-to-day fitness duties effectively and efficiently as a professional fitness trainer and coach in Singapore, while still having a physique that motivates and inspires confidence in my clients.

3) Being More Open-Minded To Various Training Methods

From being someone schooled in bodybuilding philosophy, steeped deep in its culture and practices, and who ardently carried out "isolated muscle-part" training in the earlier part of my life; to become one who embraces and preaches Integrated, All-Round Fitness, I've since learnt the importance of training for TOTAL fitness as opposed to "isolated" fitness. I no longer subscribe to the concept of "building muscle purely for muscle's sake" or "looking good purely for looking good sake". Instead, I've learnt to open my mind to embrace the importance of training for ALL fitness components, elements and attributes. I've also learnt to glean and fuse the best practices of different training methodologies to form my own unique amalgamation of training methods - with COMPLETE fitness in mind. And that's why in my fitness sessions with clients, I've constantly incorporated elements of body-weight drills, athletic movements, plyometrics, gymnastics, kickboxing, and even dance aerobics into training sessions to constantly challenge and push my clients on while helping them to attain their fitness goals. Also, I've learnt the importance of using as many different types of functional training aids (such as medicine balls, suspension trainers, kettlebells etc) in my workouts with clients, to bring about new training responses and results.

4) Greater Empathy For All

With age and experience, I've also gained a deeper understanding of human nature and greater empathy for all the different types of fitness clients who come to me with their respective fitness needs. For instance, I've learnt how to relate better to younger, more fun-loving clients (having worked with kids/teenagers and having 2 of my own), to working with young mothers struggling with post-natal fitness issues (having seen my wife though 2 pregnancies), to empathizing with those struggling with middle-aged weight gain (being in the same mid-life status as them) and even catering to the older adults/senior citizens' fitness needs - many who come to me with their assorted aches, pains and other medical symptoms. Somehow, mid-life does have a miraculous way of opening one's eyes and heart to those around us in a truly fascinating way.

5) Serving As A Motivation And Inspiration

I'm still working on this one, but I certainly hope that my fitness philosophy, approach and lifestyle will strike a chord with those whom I come into contact with, and will allow me to serve as an inspiration and motivation to all even long after I'm gone. Now, more than ever before, I'm absolutely convinced that a Natural, Functional approach to Total Fitness - is THE way to go - regardless whether ones ultimate goal is weight lossbuilding lean muscle mass, optimizing sporting performance or just enhancing general fitness. I look forward to the day when my passion for fitness will eventually rub off on a greater number of people here in Singapore so that more can truly benefit from it.

As a middle-aged personal trainer and fitness coach, I'm more than aware that there is still so much more to learn about life, exercise, fitness and nutrition out there.

And God willing, I will continue to learn and grow - both professionally and personally - as much as I can, for as long as I can.

Do wish me all the best in my fitness and life journey ahead, and all the BEST to each and every one of you too!

Warmest Regards,
Rick Wong
Singapore Fitness Professional

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fitness Training Dilemma: Aesthetics, Function Or Both?

Having had the privilege and honour to work with a large diversity of fitness clients throughout my 10-over years as a Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer in Singapore, I dare say I have encountered almost every conceivable fitness request out there (barring perhaps the most bizarre ones!!!).

If I were to freely generalize, my clients may be grouped generally into 3 main categories:
1) Those who come to me for purely aesthetic reasons,
2) Those come to me for functional (practical) reasons, and
3) Those who come to me for a little of both.

For those who seek out our fitness services for purely aesthetic reasons, are the individuals who are usually dissatisfied with how they look - their outward appearance and bodily-aesthetics - and are looking to transform themselves into a BETTER version of who they are now - usually into the ideal figure or physique that they have in mind. Many of these clients choose either an integrated weight-loss approach, a toning/shaping approach or even a specialized muscle-building program.

Your Choice: Training For Aesthetics Or Function
On the other hand, those who seek us out for functional or practical reasons are usually those acting on their doctors' advice based on certain heath/medical conditions, or those who need specialized training for sport performance purposes, and those who need to sit for vocation-related fitness tests and physical assessments (such as IPPT, NAPFA, BMT etc etc )

Of course, they are also some who fall somewhere in-between the above 2 categories and who come to us for a little of both.

Whatever it is, every single request or fitness need is deemed IMPORTANT and VALID, and is thus treated with utmost seriousness, respect and confidentiality.

At this juncture - I risk going out on a limb here - but in my personal and professional opinion, I dare say that BOTH aesthetics (outward appearance) and function (day-to-day fitness performance ) are equally IMPORTANT. In fact, I would like to think that one cannot do without the other, and vice versa.

Just pause for a moment and think about it: what's the point of looking good (aesthetics) but seriously lacking in simple everyday fitness skills (function)? Likewise, what's the use of having brute strength or superhuman endurance (function) but having a physique that you yourself can't even be proud of (aesthetics)?

Fortunately, with an integrated "out-of-the-gym"approach, or what I call a holistic multi-disciplinary approach, we are usually able to spare our clients the dilemma of choosing one over the other - as our unique approach is more than able to merge both aesthetics and function into a Holistic Balanced Program that allows our clients to enjoy the BEST of both worlds!

You Can Look Good & Be Strong At The Same Time!
So, when I  train my clients nowadays, even when we may seem to be focusing on the aesthetic elements, I always make sure that we are also essentially working on the functional element at the same time. And similarly, when building up my clients' functional performance, we also work simultaneously on the area of overall aesthetics too!

In fact, many people are often surprised by how scientific, methodical and systematic an Integrated Fitness Approach can be - compared to many other commercial fitness programs out there.

Starting from the initial planning/designing stage, right up to the actual implementation stage of the fitness program, we not only customize everything right down to the smallest detail for each client, but also make sure that on top of achieving their tangible fitness goals, our clients will also walk away with a host of other intangible benefits from our program.

And this is what I believe to be the REAL difference that we make to the lives of our clients - day-in, day-out.......

To find out more about our fitness programs, do feel free to visit today!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fitness Training When Vacationing Or Traveling

The recent Singapore school holiday period served up a great opportunity for me to practise what I always preach - in terms of fitness programming and working-out while traveling.

Being a great believer in improvised fitness programming - training WHEREVER you are - (especially with regards to vacation travels or while on the roads), I certainly relished the opportunity to put into practice what I always share with my clients in my Travel Fitness Program ....

As it is, during the recent June holidays, as part of our "Bi-Annual Family Get-Away" ritual, my wife and I decided to bring the kids over to neighbouring Malaysia - Genting Highlands - for a cool retreat, away from the sweltering heat that had engulfed Singapore for the past few weeks.

Aerial Overview Of Genting Highlands As Seen On A Post Card

Though the trip was for less than a week, still I knew I had to get my travel workout routine planned out so as to make the best use of the time available.

Faithfully referring to my trustworthy pile of  travel fitness notes, I designed and planned a fitness workout program that I felt would be workable under the specific conditions, and could be taken along and performed easily - without any equipment, and without eating too much into our family vacation time.

Initially, part of my ambitious plan involved getting out of the Genting Resort area and tackling the winding slopes of Genting Highlands - with Interval Runs, Hill Sprints and other Outdoor Fitness Drills.

However, after doing some research on the Internet (which revealed an unfortunate number of fatal accidents along the treacherous Genting stretch) - I decided to ditch my initial plan in favour of something less risky and more "family-friendly".

And hence - my plan for a Totally-Indoor Hotel Workout Routine - was hatched.

Confidently armed with my travel workout program, backed with my professional knowledge in fitness training, I was prepared to kill two birds with one stone : work my body to the max, while still getting to enjoy some quality time with the family during the vacation.

Unfortunately, as we all know, things generally do NOT always turned out as planned........

From constantly having to adjust and modify our schedule to cater to the kids' incessant and increasing demands for more adrenaline-pumping rides, activities and other fun-filled stuff at the Genting Theme Park ( and there are many of these, to be quite honest), to having to live up to my promise to do "some" holiday shopping with the wife, as well as other little hiccups that happened along the way (including my workout shoes suddenly breaking-apart with no prior warning) - before I knew it, half the vacation time was gone!

Me with the kids after a game of "Catch" at the Hotel's Outdoor Garden

Fortunately, instinct (or perhaps an innate fear of de-conditioning ) kicked in, and I had to convince myself to squeeze in a workout no matter what.

Without going too much into specific details (i.e. rep schemes, tempo, actual exercise sequencing etc) the following is a gist of what I finally managed to do right in the comfort of our hotel room - totally equipment-free:

Hotel Room Workout Program

After an initial full body warm-up for about 5-min, I dived straight into the following:

Wall Squats (incorporating static holds)
Door Pull-Ups (with towel draped over bathroom door of hotel)
Jumping Jacks
Decline Push-Ups (with feet elevated on luggage bag)
Mountain Climbers
Side Bridge

All-in-all, I managed to squeeze out 3 rounds or 3 full circuits of the above stuff.

And guess what?? At the end of it all, I actually felt pretty GOOD - both physically and emotionally!
Not only did I get manage to get a Full-Body Workout and a great PUMP all over, I also worked up a good sweat, got my heart rate well up, worked off some travel stress, and flushed my system full with endorphins and other feel-good hormones!!!

And more importantly, I got the immense satisfaction of having got my workout done during the trip (although it was still less than what I originally planned)!

The kids getting a "workout" too, with a run-along at an outdoor maze

As my above experiences showed, workouts SHOULD, CAN and ARE entirely possible for anyone contemplating vacation or travels - as long as you have deliberately factored in time for exercise, and are committed enough to see it through.

Like it or not, there are going to be unforeseen circumstances, trying situations and other hiccups that will threaten to derail your workout plan, or even force you to modify or adjust your expectations....

But still, if you are committed to your exercise regime, and disciplined enough to see it through, you are bound to get something done during your trip - Guaranteed!

For those who want to know how to get MORE out of their vacations and travels, and would like to learn how to program their own fitness regime or exercise routine while on the roads, please feel free to check out our Travel Fitness Services.

Equipped with the right knowledge and skills in travel fitness, you'll never have to fear your exercise routine falling-apart again, or your fitness and body tone deteriorating, just because of another overseas trip....

And guess what? Your vacations and travels are also going to be much more meaningful, more productive and more satisfying than ever before.

All the BEST!

Rick Wong
Singapore Fitness Blogger & Exercise Professional

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day Thoughts: Fitness And Parenthood In Singapore

I may be dead wrong, but from my observations, I have noticed that parenthood often seems to sound the death knell of one's fitness goals and aspirations for the majority of women and men here in Singapore.

From time and again, I've noticed in quite a number of friends, acquaintances, relatives and even clients - how parenthood often has a profound NEGATIVE impact on their fitness pursuits.

From individuals who once pursued fitness relentlessly and single-mindedly, to become people who view fitness with an air of indifference and malaise once the kids start to come ...... the transformation is often drastic and startling.

Not too sure if this is symptomatic of other cultures and countries too, but here in Singapore, personal fitness really does seem to take a backseat to the family, in one way or another.

And as a parent and father of 2 young kids (aged 6 and 9) myself, I can't help but nod in agreement sometimes whenever my clients complain to me how challenging it is to stick to a regular fitness regime with the demands of their kids and families ....

And speaking from personal experience, I can't help but agree that it IS indeed challenging sometimes to think about training and exercising when one has to juggle the needs of our children - be it their schoolwork, their daily commuting to-and-from school, their occasional sniffles and niggles, their relentless demands and their constant whining.... in fact it gives me a headache just writing about these!!!!

Frustration And Stress Are Typical Moments In A Mother's Life

And in our Singapore context, it is often the mothers who end up getting the short end of the stick - as the majority of them often still wind up being the main caregivers of their kids, as fathers are still predominantly the main bread winners (though this is fast-changing) in our largely Asian society.

With this mind, I think it is even more important for mothers to make time for themselves, to invest in their own heath, fitness and well-being, so that they are can always give their very best to their families.

Because if mums don't take care of themselves, how in the world are they ever going to take care of their loved ones???
A Young Mother Who Knows How To Take Care Of Herself

And for those of us who have elderly or senior-aged mothers/wives in our homes, general fitness and well-being have even greater implications, since even the so-called Golden Years are themselves often marred by aches, pains, ailments and disabilities.

So, regardless whether you're a young or not-so-young mummy, fitness and a healthy lifestyle should always be a MAIN priority in your life.

And over here, I would also like to take this opportunity to exhort ALL husbands, sons and daughters (myself including) to also do our part, and do all we can to encourage our mums and wives to lead active and healthy lifestyles.

Give them all the necessary support and encouragement so that the Mother and/or Wife can be free to pursue her very own fitness dreams and goals - even if it means that we may have to do the dishes every evening, put in the laundry every other day or babysit the kids from time to time..

Working-Out A Sweat Does Mum A World Of Good!

And with Mother's Day just round the corner, you may just want to give mum or your wife a pleasant surprise by signing her up for some personalized training sessions, or enrolling her in a group exercise class, or perhaps even inviting her to join you in your own fitness pursuits or physical activities.

Whatever it is, use this year's Mother's Day to get your mum/wife to start investing in her own fitness and well-being..... because she is WORTH it !

And before I forget, here's wishing all the mothers in the world a WONDERFUL and BLESSED Mother's Day 2012 !

P.S. Like to give your beloved mother/wife a head start in her fitness pursuits? Check out our Special Mother's Day Fitness Promotion now!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Use Of Stairs In A Gym-Free Fitness Program

To most people, a flight of stairs is just THAT - an environmental object that can be used to take you from a lower point to a higher point, or vice versa.

But to a fitness professional and a gym-less training advocate like myself, I like to see beyond the humble usefulness of stairs in our daily lives to something more extraordinary, to something that can be surprisingly and tremendously useful to the average man/woman who wants to lose weight, fight flab, increase speed or agility, or to simply improve overall fitness!

Stair-Training: A Great Form Of Fitness Workout

Frankly, in my personal opinion, I think that stairs training has been greatly over-looked by the Singapore fitness community at large - even by us, the so-called gym-free brigade.

Perhaps it 's due to the fact that stairs are such common place environmental objects that few if any, really pay much attention to them, much less even think of using them as a fitness training tool.

Or perhaps, it's also due to the fact there is a lack of scientific information out there on how to properly conduct stair-based fitness programs.....

Whatever it is, stairs training - if properly harnessed - can indeed be a SUPERB tool to help you hone your physique and accomplish your fitness goals.

As most of my trainees and clients can attest, I have always been a strong advocate and prescriber of stair exercises throughout these years - using them not only to condition athletes, but also sedentary adults, housewives, office executives and even MYSELF....

And the BEST part of it all is: stairs-training is simply just so very convenient!

Just think about it for a moment - STAIRS can be found practically anywhere here in Singapore - from your office buildings, to your private apartments, to outdoor stadiums, to multi-storey car parks, to even HDB flats...... etc

Stairs Can Be Found ANYWHERE - Such As A Public Stadium

So, there is simply NO excuses as to why one shouldn't utilize stairs as a fitness tool.

Also, stair-training need not be all boring and one-dimensional as most would think so......

Do you know that there are actually TONS OF MOVEMENTS that you can do on a flight of stairs - besides just running up and down them????

For example, you can HOP - either one-legged or two, move SIDEWAYS up the stairs, or LUNGE your way up, or perform CROSS-OVERS as you go up, or even BEAR-CRAWL up the stairs and then CRAB-WALK down them ..... and that's such a few off-hand examples to get going!!!!

Stair-Hopping: A Great Way To Build Power & Agility In The Lower Body

Anyway, my point is this: Stairs Training can be extremely INNOVATIVE, FUN & EFFECTIVE - if, and only if, you know how to incorporate them properly and scientifically into your fitness program .....

For more information on stairs-training and how it can be customized to suit your needs or integrated into your fitness program, please feel free to contact us or visit our website at

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Case For Home Fitness Training

In recent years here in Singapore, I have noticed more and more people ditching their gym memberships in favour of working-out in the comfort and convenience of their own homes.

As far as I know, a lot of it is due to "push" factors caused by the commercial gym facilities themselves, issues such as: over-crowdingover-commercialization, out-of-the-way locations, "one-size-fits-all" fitness programs, high-pressure sales tactics, exorbitant & complicated membership plans etc - just to name a few......

On the other hand, quite a bit of it is also down to people's gradual realization (and perhaps, common sense finally prevailing) that they can actually get a workout as good as, if not better than at any commercial gym - right within their homes - if they have the appropriate knowledge and guidance!

Home Fitness Right In The Living Room

Home Fitness Programs - where one basically works out within one's own private and personal residence with or without the guidance of a professional fitness trainer - though having been around in Singapore for some time, seems finally to be coming out of its shell to the forefront of the fitness scene here!

And as one who has always strongly advocated that fitness training CAN and SHOULD be conducted ANYWHERE , I'm more than pleased with this latest development in Singapore.

So what actually makes home fitness training tick?

Besides the obvious: sheer convenience (no commuting/parking/crowding/waiting),  sheer privacy (no perverts ogling at you when you're training), sheer hygiene (no sweat-drenched and germ-infested equipment used by countless others) and sheer familiarity (no wandering around a labyrinth of fancy-looking but ultimately useless pieces of "machines"), home fitness can actually propel you FASTER to your fitness goals than at any commercial gym facility.

One of my pet peeves about training at commercial gyms is that it inevitably drags you into a training culture that not only relies heavily on machines and equipment, but also one that glorifies isolated "Body-Part Training".

BOTH of which - in my humble opinion - as well as those of many other established fitness authorities and experts - are simply NOT the best way to train for the vast majority of us.

( For a more thorough understanding of why this is so, please refer to one of my earlier blog entries: "The Problem With Singapore's Gyms And Fitness Centres"

On the other hand, when training at home, not only are you shielded from the negative influences of the commercial gym culture, its stereotypes and its various gimmicks, best of all, you are granted full creative license to rely on REAL science and knowledge to make your workouts count.

And THIS is what truly separates a great fitness program from the pretenders.........

As I always say to my trainees and clients:

" The success of any fitness program is NEVER dependent on equipment or tools, but on the proper and creative application of exercise science knowledge and skills!"

Oftentimes, by applying appropriate knowledge and skills to your training environment ( in this case - your home), you can actually end up with a FAR SUPERIOR workout compared to one carried out at any commercial gym!

A Functional Workout In The Comfort Of Home

Take for instance, our premier home fitness program - which utilize your own body-weight, your surrounding home environment  and a slew of portable fitness tools ( stuff like suspension trainers, resistance tubings, medicine balls, kettlebells etc ) to hone your physique, not only do you get to:
  1. work your ENTIRE body at one shot ( as opposed to single, isolated body-part training),  
  2. achieve MULTIPLE goals at the same time ( burn fat, build lean muscle tone, improve your overall fitness etc ), but also
  3. learn to EDUCATE yourself  (as opposed to blindly following stereotypes) on the RIGHT techniques and skills to train your body functionally, efficiently and productively.
Ultimately, it boils down to What You Know rather than what you have that makes the difference to your fitness results.

Home fitness works - as countless devotees can attest to it.

And as for the detractors who love citing the lack of equipment as the Achilles Heel of any home fitness program, my advice is this:

"Exercise science has come a long way since its inception, and with the benefit of the latest scientific training knowledge and skills , even body-weight training and environmental workouts can bring about EXCELLENT results to anyone - as long as you are equipped with the RIGHT body of knowledge and skills! Furthermore, with the easy availability of portable/mobile functional fitness tools, what's stopping one from using them to complement and enhance your home fitness workouts???"

A Portable Pull-Up Bar For Pull-Ups Anywhere At Home

In a nutshell, home fitness training is a great and workable option for those of us who are sick and tired of the issues plaguing our commercial gyms today, and for those of us who simply crave for a unique training experience that affords privacy, convenience and time-&-cost savings to its users.

For a first-hand, refreshing experience of how a home fitness program can be used to help you achieve your fitness goals, contact us today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation!

Till then, All the BEST!

Rick Wong
Singapore Fitness Professional & Exercise Specialist

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Art Of Gym-Less Fitness Training

In the years spanning over a decade as a fitness professional in Singapore, I've come across countless individuals who always seem to complain that their fitness regimes are disrupted whenever they have to travel abroad or when they can't make it to the gym for one reason or another. Whatever it is, there is always some reason, somehow, out there (or should we call them, excuses???) that prevents them from working-out.

Ironically, in my opinion, most of these people could have easily maintained their fitness regimes without much ado and fuss - if and only if - they have first bothered to educate themselves on the basics behind gym-less or gym-free training.

With knowledge on how to train Gym-Free, one can basically ELIMINATE almost all excuses for NOT exercising or sticking to one's fitness program.......

To put it another way - if you have learnt the principles behind gym-less training, you could practically choose to work-out anywhere - and by Anywhere, I really mean ANYWHERE - from your hotel room to your private balcony to your storeroom and even in any 3m-by-3m empty floor space!!

Unbelievable??? Like to know more? Then read on, please.

As a discipline of exercise science, gym-less training basically focuses on 3 main principles:

Creative Utilization Of One's Surrounding Space

Scientific Utilization Of  One's Own Body Weight

- Effective Utilization of Portable/Mobile Fitness Tools

Let's look at each in turn:

1) Creative Utilization Of One's Surrounding Space

Making Use Of Minimal Space For Gym-Less Training

Any empty space - that is roughly  11/2x  to 2x your body height all-around would be more than sufficient for an effective full-body workout.

From moves like Burpees to Vertical Jumps to Side Hops to Push-Ups to Lunges to Planks etc etc, one can almost come up with an unlimited number of exercises that you can perform in that mere area of space.

And note - we're just just talking about a purely empty space here. Just imagine the possibilities if your surrounding space has some simple furniture such as a chairs, tables (indoors) or benches, lamp-posts, beams, trees (outdoors) - then the number of exercises that you could possibly perform increases exponentially!

Anything from Dips, to Decline Push-Ups, to Inverted Shoulder Presses, to Bench Hops, to Incline Rows, to Pull-Ups and more - could be easily executed when you have some of the above "environmental tools" around you.

Frankly, there are simply NO limitations on what and how many exercises you could do as long as you are willing to use your imagination and creativity.

With the gym-free approach, you can be truly UNLEASHED - once and for all - from all the constraints, fluff and pretences of a traditional gym-based program!

2) Scientific Utilization Of One's Own Body-Weight

The Chin-Up - A Great Way To Utilise Gravity & Body Weight

Do you know that your body is the BEST gym that you could own? Probably not, but that's because - like many others before you - you have been totally "brainwashed" by the mainstream fitness media into thinking that you require some "high-tech machines" to help you get into shape.

Well, nothing is further away from the truth - Your Body Is (and will always) Be The SINGLE, MOST IMPORTANT Piece Of Equipment And Fitness Tool That You Will Ever Need - period .

And if you truly MASTER your body and its movements, you would NEVER EVER have to worry about missing a workout ever again.

It's indeed ironic how our modern fitness culture constantly ushers people into gyms without first teaching them how to master their own body weight and natural movements first!!!!

Always Remember: the first rule of fitness is this - Learn To MASTER Your Own Body Weight First - before even thinking of adding any external resistance! By doing so, you would have guaranteed yourself a solid foundation from which all other future fitness gains and progress can be built upon.

Incidentally, using one's body-weight in a fitness program means more than just doing exercises that tap upon natural gravity. It also means using the Human Body as an integrated unit and working it through its natural bio-mechanical and neural pathways, transversing multiple directions and multiple planes - something that is very hard to achieve with a traditional in-gym approach.

Using the gym-free approach, you can basically learn how to manipulate and utilize your own body-weight to sculpt, tone, condition and practically do anything - fitness-wise - to hone your body to its fullest potential!

3) Effective Utilization of Portable/Mobile Fitness Tools

The Kettlebell Is A Fantastic Mobile Tool For Your Fitness Workouts
As good as body-weight training is, it can be made even better by adding some portable and mobile tools to your training arsenal. And by portable, we really mean something that you can carry along in a back-pack, a sling-bag or at the very most, a heavy-duty luggage carrier.

So, portable and functional stuff like suspension trainers, resistance bands/tubingsinflatable exercise balls, skipping ropes, ab wheels, and even individual pieces of kettlebells, medicine balls and adjustable dumbbells.

All these can form a formidable list of portable and functional tools that you can lug along with you wherever you go - for that workout in the midst of nowhere.

And once you have learnt the various exercises and movements that you can do with the above tools, it would really make you wonder why you have even bothered signing-up with Take-My-Cash Mega Gym in the first place!!

Simply put - mobile fitness tools will add an extra dimension to your gym-free training program and provide you with endless possibilities in your fitness program.

Well, there you have it. All the various factors that make gym-less fitness such an appealing and practical option to a growing number of "enlightened" converts.

Take for example, a convert like myself - who spends over 80% of my own training regime OUTSIDE a gym context  (the reason I still have that < 20% time in the gym boils down to my own indulgence for occasional HEAVY lifting - using Olympic-type plates and weights, and maybe, just maybe, that inner need to satisfy my urge to have a chuckle at those still working out on machines :))) - Gymless Training WORKS for me - BIG TIME.

And going by the experiences and feedback from my clients over the years, I'm pretty sure that Gym-Free Training will also work for you in a GREAT way - perhaps more than what you can ever believe - until you try it first-hand for yourself.

Convinced and ready to be a convert? Then skip over to my Singapore Gym-Free Fitness Services today and see how I can help you to be the VERY BEST that you can be - absolutely NO gym needed.

Take care and God Bless!

Rick Wong
Singapore Fitness Professional & Exercise Specialist

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Problem With Singapore's Gyms And Fitness Centres

Hi folks - New Year greetings and blessings to each and every one of you out there.

It's 2012 - and this is my first blog entry for the year coming to you straight from the Republic Of Singapore.

I would like to start the year by looking at some of the issues plaguing many of our local Singapore gyms and fitness centres nowadays.

As most of you know, the fitness scene in Singapore has sort of EXPLODED in the last couple of years, and everywhere you turn, you could practically see gyms, fitness centres and exercise studios mushrooming across the nation.

Unfortunately, this exponential growth in the gym business has also led to the propagation and valorization of gym training through rose-tinted lenses - while ignoring the beauty and effectiveness of other non-traditional fitness approaches - such as outdoor fitness training - that are equally, if not more, effective.

To be honest, many of these folks promoting the GYM as a "Be All and End All" of fitness - do have vested interests and agendas in supporting their cause - people like gym owners, business partners in fitness centers, exercise equipment sellers etc - all whose livelihoods depend very much upon - and revolve around - the existence of gyms.

So, seriously speaking, are gyms REALLY the place you should go to for your fitness shot???

Picture Of A Typical Gym In Singapore 

Well, I leave you to make your own conclusion after reading the following.

On behalf of my fellow fitness professionals and other fitness authorities out there who share similar views, I would like to discuss the gym scene from a very DIFFERENT and CONTRARIAN perspective.

So here is what we really think are some of the issues that plague most gyms and fitness centers in Singapore.

1. Most Gyms Promote An Unhealthy Reliance On Artificial "Machines"

Walk into any gym or fitness centre in Singapore and you'll be faced with an astonishing array of gleaming, space-age equipment and machines that often flatter to deliver on their promises.

Gym Machines - whether of the resistance-kind or the cardio-kind - have been around for decades, and have been increasing in variety and kind at an astounding rate.

In fact, here in Singapore, there even seems to be a competition among rival gyms to see who could stock-up on the latest and newest machines faster than its next-door competitor!!

Unfortunately, for most recreational exercisers and fitness enthusiasts, exercise machines are simply NOT the best exercise tool you would want in your quest for a better, fitter, firmer or more attractive body!

Research in exercise science has repeatedly pointed out that that not only do most exercise machines FAIL to provide one with a realistic workout - workouts that actually replicate the exact movements and groove of the Human Body - worse, they often subject us to artificial, awkward or even unnatural movement patterns, angles and loads - which NEGATE much of our efforts in the gym, and lead to the NEGLECT of many of our important assisting and stabilizing muscle groups that are so vital for balanced, overall fitness development.

And the end result of this over-reliance on machines? A body that is unbalanced, prone to injuries and lacking in real-world or functional fitness.

In fact, in my personal opinion, most people would get far GREATER fitness benefits by moving their furniture around at home than working out on many of the newfangled exercise machines found in most gyms today!

In a nutshell, over dependence on a "machine culture" in your fitness program (and yes, that includes the Treadmill as well the Smith Machine) will NOT contribute to your overall fitness development in the long run.

On the other hand, the use of a variety of functional training tools ( think free weights, medicine balls, kettlebells, bands, ropes etc) and even your own body weight have far MORE merits than any machines out there.

2. Most Gyms Neglect Total Body Workouts In Favour Of Body-Part Training

Walk into most gyms in Singapore and you'll invariably see people working on their 'arms, 'chest' 'legs' or 'abs' - individual and isolated body parts on our human body.

In fact, most of the gym culture within Singapore still revolves predominantly around "body-part training" such that other forms of fitness training have been swept under the carpet to the detriment of most people's fitness!

Isn't this IRONIC - considering that this is happening in an environment that is supposed to promote fitness???

Now, unless you're a serious body-builder, or someone rehabilitating an injured limb - isolated body-part training is simply NOT the way to go if you want to lose weight, burn fat or even build a toned, athletic, functional physique!

Exercise science and sports research have proven that the BEST way to get in shape is to use Full-Body, Integrated Movements in our training regime that mimic what we do in daily life. For example, exercises like the Kettlebell Swing or the Medicine Ball Transverse Lunge are far more PRODUCTIVE and EFFECTIVE than your typical gym moves like the machine lateral raise or the machine leg extensions.

Always bear in mind the cardinal rule of training: INTEGRATEnot isolate!!!!

3. Most Gyms Ignore The Concept Of Total Fitness

Tell me - when was the last time you see someone working on speed, agility, balance or even power development in the gym???

Hardly, right, if ever?

Yet, these are extremely important fitness components that make up TOTAL or COMPLETE fitness.

Granted, it is never going to be easy to execute speed or agility drills in the limited space in most gyms or even think about doing power drills that require you to throw or slam an object around .....

Even then, it is still NOT a good enough reason for people to ignore the fundamentals that make up TOTAL fitness.

Sometimes it is simply better to forget about the gym, and just take your fitness workouts outdoors where you will never be constrained by space and stereotypical norms, and where you can give equal focus to all aspects of your fitness.

4. Most Gyms Are Packed With Unwanted Distractions

Think juice bars, lounge corners, massage chairs and even private Video/TV entertainment - and sometimes you really do wonder whether you're in a gym or at an exotic spa retreat.

Simply put - these things have absolutely NO place in any gym - no matter how you justify it.

Let's get this right, once and for all, a gym must be a place for you to WORKOUT, not chill out!

Sadly, many gym owners actually think that by providing these amenities and other "top-flight" entertainment, they are providing value-added services to their members !!

In my opinion, I think they are doing a great DISSERVICE to their members - fitness-wise.

Because frankly, ask yourself:

- How intense or serious can your workouts be if you have one eye on the TV screen????

- And how much calories can you burn if you're constantly lounging at the plush chairs and sofas flipping through newspapers and magazines???

- And finally, what's the point of working out and then putting ALL the calories back in one gulp when you consume one of those so-called "health drinks" at the juice bar???

Simply sad, but true. Many people are actually NEGATING their very efforts in the gyms by surrounding themselves with these "value-added amenities".

Honestly, most folks would be far BETTER OFF working-out with minimal equipment in their basements, garages, home fitness corners or even at a secluded corner of a park - where distractions are few and far between.

Outdoor Training That Builds All Round Fitness

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, gyms and fitness centres DO have their place in our fitness culture - albeit for the small 10% of our population (such as serious bodybuilders and those rehabilitating from injuries) whose use of the gym justify their goals.

Other than that, the rest of us may actually be much BETTER OFF pursuing our fitness goals - outside the context of a gym - in view of what has been discussed above.

For more information on achieving TOTAL fitness using a gym-free approach, do visit my main site at

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