UFIT Urban Fitness, Singapore's Leading Independent Fitness Provider – Fitter, Leaner, Stronger!


Food, who needs it??

Hi guys, it’s Darren here, a few of us at UFIT will be sharing duties on the blog and it’s my turn today!

Some of you reading this will know me, some for a number of years and some, for a relatively short period of time. A while back (ok so a year and a half ago!) I posted on this blog an item about Food. The first major statement I made in that post was my belief that people, generally, eat too much food. And I’m thinking, generally, people would agree! I made a challenge in that post for the reader to drop his/her food intake by a half! A 4 day Challenge! I received some feedback but I didn’t create a big debate about this so I presume everyone believed me, did the 4 day Challenge, lost a load of weight and have been silently thanking me ever since. Or maybe not.

Enter our colleague and now great friend Nathan Williams (Nathan’s own blog is here). Nath is a BIG believer in change and is a walking Change-Agent!! When we first met in mid-2012 he made a statement that resonated with me for a long time, “I can easily drop 2-3 kg’s off anyone in a week and it won’t be all water”, or something like that. It was almost a throwaway comment made during our interview process but I must admit it made me immediately sit up.

Once Nathan was on-board at UFIT we began chatting about stuff and soon enough we were discussing food. He mentioned various individuals including an intriguing chap named Mark Sisson. Mark has an awesome blog and website. What Mark says is not dissimilar to what I was blogging about a year and half back (he was talking about it way before me, of course) but Mark Sisson takes it another few steps forward. Mark engages in and promotes Intermittent Fasting or IF.

FASTING??!! No freaking way!! Well, you better get used to some basic facts regarding food and humans.

The first thing I want you to consider is this. What exactly is body-fat? Why do we have it and what is its purpose?

As humans we are predisposed to store fat. Why? Well for one it’s our basic form of fuel. I recently watched a Youtube video that made the statement that grazing off carbohydrate in our stomachs is our primary fuel source. This is why we need to eat every 2 hours. This is rubbish. Do you think 50 years ago we had supermarkets and fast-food and everyone went around eating every 2 hours? Of course not! What about 500 years ago? What about 50000 years ago when our first true ancestors appeared? Back in those times humans could go days without eating. In these cases their blood-sugar levels must have been really screwed right, I mean, these days we go 3-4 hours without food and we’re getting dizzy, we can’t concentrate and we’re basically in big trouble! Have.to.get.sugar!!

The reality is this 50000 year old “Paleo” man was “fat-adapted”. And so has been subsequently, the entire human population. Remember your Mum saying you must eat 3 square meals a day and how now nutritionists, dieticians and Trainer’s all scoff at that suggestion these days? Paleo man’s food came sporadically and as a consequence he was expert at storing fat. This meant he could go long periods without food using stored fat as energy. Of course water was reasonably plentiful so hydration wasn’t an issue and as we know with water, humans can go long periods without food. And since Paleo man we have done very well thank you storing fat, living off it and then re-storing! All the way through to recent times when we have developed this crazy dependence on sugar.

So this is where the problems with modern food start.

Paleo man predominantly ate meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. He didn’t eat a lot of grains, these came much later in our human development, estimated to be 10,000 years ago so pretty much for 40,000 years we were eating a paleo-type diet. Then 10,000 years ago some communities began farming foods that included grains. There’s debate about whether the grains were being originally grown for human consumption or to feed the recently domesticated animals farming was producing. Either way human consumption of grains began. Ok so back in this agricultural farming “great leap forward” grains were eaten in percentage terms much smaller quantities than what they are eaten in today. Plus the “processing” of these grains was quite rudimentary and didn’t alter the composition of the grain as significantly as it does these days (think shiny, white rice as an example of how a hull covered cloudy browny looking rice grain can be so radically tampered with during “processing”).

That shiny white rice has had all the nutrients stripped from it and is now essentially sugar. So is white bread. So is white pasta. And the other thing is both these 2 are man-made, they aren’t really food anyway, well, not food that our bodies process easily. These are the “white devils”! We have become so dependent on these processed foods we now must eat every 2-3 hours which is not what we are supposed to be doing!

These sugars spike our blood-sugar levels and these are precariously high across the spectrum in developed nations. This is why we have so many health issues, it’s not just diabetes but cancers, coronary heart disease, skin and blood issues, gum and tooth decay and many many more. So not only are we not supposed to be eating these foods based on our genetic predisposition they are making us really, really sick!

So let’s get back to Paleo man and IF, IF is –

The process of not eating food for periods of time and then subsequently consuming nutrients in a timed window.

There are many versions of IF and different people offer different perspectives and “systems” but the bottom line is we fast to break the dependency on sugars and an individual forces his/her body to resume using fat as its primary fuel source. We become fat adapted and not carb-dependent. Our blood-sugar drops and you may suffer some symptoms of this “re-wiring” or re-booting of the primary system but it won’t last long (maybe a day or 2 of headaches). Also note that typically our current blood-sugar levels are way too high having been artificially inflated by these modern diet choices.

Here’s some quick tips –

  1. When fasting drink water, tea and coffee only. Coffee should be black because this is calorie free.
  2. Recognise what massive sugar intake we really have in our food, the following are the biggest culprits – dressings, soft drinks, the “white devils”, alcohol.
  3. Eat whole foods being meat, fruit, vegetable and nuts and seeds. For your information carbohydrates are found in fruit and vegetables and in much better quality than what you get from the white devils!

So what happens on IF? The IF affect is amazing! No longer do you constantly suffer sugar withdrawl when you haven’t eaten for a few hours. You can go hours and hours without feeling any ill-effects. Nothing suffers, not even exercise. You can train in a fasted state and feel strong! I have always said that hormonal balance is what we should be striving towards on our pathway to healthier lives. Exercising in the way we are supposed to, interval style produces positive hormone responses and so does eating with your adopted IF program.

Striving for the holy grail of fitter, leaner, stronger is what we are about, IF will definitely help you!!

At UFIT we have a program called UFAST, an amazingly successful program, check it out!!

Email me at darren@UFIT.com.sg


UFIT is growing!

Welcome to UFIT’s Blog! This is Dean, Technical Director here at UFIT HQ, 88 Amoy St, Singapore!

As we usher in the new year, we are looking forward to bring you cutting edge information in health, fitness and lifestyle

Our trainers here at UFIT are a different breed because we have ongoing technical training sessions weekly which means we are always keeping abreast of the latest developments in fitness and physiotherapy.

We adopt a holistic approach with all our clients and we have a variety of screening processess that allows us to tailor a specific program for each and every individual client. We understand the needs and goals of every client before recommending a training program. And our multi talented staff ensures that there will always be a trainer that can meet the training needs of every client.

Before we proceed, I would like to touch on our new space, which is 88 Amoy Street.

The new space features an open concept to allow our members to perform multi-planar movements with our equipment without the worry of running into another member performing a set of barbell squats!

We also have a Reformer, a heavy kicking bag, an uppercut bag, 2 TRX Rip trainers and a Bulgarian bag as additions to our current equipment list.

The space also allows us to conduct “Lunch Crunch” classes more effectively and also introduce kickboxing and grappling classes to our list of services offered.

Please make time to drop by and say hi and take a look at the new space if you havent already!

So without further ado, here is my first post!

One of the more recent transitions that has taken over the fitness industry is the term ‘functional training’

This is generally a good thing as we see a lot of developments in strength and conditioning and we have a more holistic approach to designing training programs. A lot of trainers and professionals in the industry have benefitted from learning from bright and talented coaches and even sports doctors who are sharing information and exchanging thoughts on the industry.

The only problem as with all new developments in the industry, many trainers jumped on the bandwagon and ditched the traditional solutions and methodologies. Some have even made their clients perform single leg bosu balances with bicep curls to supposedly increase propioception while under load on an unstable surface!

Functional? Maybe, if the client was a performer in Cirque de Soleil.

Many lazy trainers think that by making clients perform fancy moves that look different, it was ‘functional’. While the newer equipment that allows us to train in multiple planes are great, a lot of times performing basic compound lifts with weights is more ‘functional’.

It all boils down to proper application of exercise selection and clients’ goals.

Another problem that I see is with fads, usually being a new piece of equipment or a training system. The fad becomes so popular trainers will make clients spend their whole 1 hour session doing it. This worries me!

Not absolutely wrong but we need to understand that every equipment has its benefits when it comes to training. It should be a tool in a large toolbox in which the trainer will decide which tool will have the most benefit for their client’s training goals. In many situations, having a mat and performing floor exercise progressions can be much more challenging and beneficial than any fancy equipment.

Which is why understanding movements is a big part of fitness training and we need to understand that the body is a complex and integrated system. No muscle in the human body works independently. A squat pattern might not seem like much but with many of us, the complex muscle firing pattern in that movement might not be efficient which could lead to poor posture, poor performance and injuries in the future. Training in all 3 planes of movement is just as important because our body was designed to move in these planes. Every individual and especially athletes in many if not all sports require the mobility, stability and strength in the body to perform their movements efficiently.

Therefore, exercise selection plays a crucial part when designing a training program. We also utilize our equipments in a systematic way according to our clients goals and training levels, not just because we think its cool!

Here at UFIT we utilize a training pyramid that starts from (depending on the client)

-Neural re-education, proprioception

Every client will have to undergo a static postural assessment and the functional movement screen. As mentioned earlier, movements are the basis of every human being and it would be a mistake to overlook this important aspect before embarking on a new program.

Stay tuned for more entries in the next few weeks from James, Darren and Alex and also from some of the more Senior UFIT Training Team!

Dean Ahmad
Technical Director
UFIT Urban Fitness PTE LTD

Welcome to Nathan!

Just a quick note to welcome Nathan Williams as an author to our blog. Nathan has recently joined UFIT and is already making a massive contribution. His own blog is a great read – http://nathanwilliamstraining.blogspot.sg/

Nathan and I have been trialling Intermittent Fasting in recent times with pretty interesting results. By interesting I mean highly successful! We have been sharing the ideas with some of our clients and they are also getting great results. There’s a bit of fine-tuning to be done but we will have a nice little package we will be marketing soon. Expect to lose a lot of bodyfat, quickly.

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Posting again!! After a massively long absence I am back posting with a gentle return to our online presence.

“Our” because it is now a big group of us whereas before it was just Dean and myself full-time and Selina, Prescille and Clara part-time. James Forrester joined me as a managing partner bringing with him the awesome Salveo Lifestyle range of nutrition programs. In the Personal Training Dept Dean’s brother Alex Salihin joins as PT Manager together with Phil Aziz, Dan Hammond, Lorne Peart, Husaini Ahmad (Mr H) and more recently Nathan Williams. Stephen Greenan is our fulltime Physiotherapist, Maria Hussain our top-class deep tissue therapist and Cheryl Lin is working on the Salveo Lifestyle business (the UFIT nutrition side of things). Citira Corrigan is now UFIT Bootcamp Manager overseeing a major refurbishment of that side of things and doing a fine job! Finally Dean has stepped into a role as UFIT Technical Manager ensuring we all stay current (and even ahead) of developments in this massively dynamic industry!! The administration is being handled by Lyana Rahman. That’s 17 of us, WOW!!!

And the BIGGEST news, we have our own Studio in the heart of the CBD at 87 Amoy St!!

UFIT Studio 87 Amoy St

UFIT Studio 87 Amoy St

And guess what, we are soon to be 1!!! Indeed when we set up the Studio we also re-established the entity UFIT Urban Fitness from a sole-proprietership to a full Private Limited company. And in November we turn 1!!! We’ll have a party so stay tuned!!

Band Sprints in Fort Canning (Blue session)

Band Sprints in Fort Canning (Blue session)

Push-Up Claps in Fort Canning (Black Session)
Push-Up Claps in Fort Canning (Black Session)

A lot has happened in the first year……we have launched the UFIT Games and our second UFIT Games comes along in January 2013. We have gathered a lot of loyal and satisfied clients and take an additional space on Amoy St, very shortly, doubling our floor space! We are getting bigger with new hires in recent times and more to come! We successfully delivered our first big corporate event, in Phuket for Catlin Insurance and that included a 6 hour Amazing Race, charity work and some excellent food in great locations around Phuket! Our Bootcamp continues to thrive, increasing its membership and range of sessions that now include dedicated Core, Running and Circuit classes. As our awesome Team expands so does the knowledge and passion of our Trainer’s and this benefits you guys, especially in Bootcamp where you can access so many of our expert group!

There are many great things happening at UFIT! I’ll be posting more very soon!!



Vibrams V

So this is the fifth installment of my Vibram’s experiment and I so love my recent purchase of the Vibram Komodo Sports! Here they are –

Thanks to Carmen and Jamie for bringing them back from the US saving me 60 bucks in the process! They also brought me back a new pair of Bikila’s (lace ups) that Nate has up there in HK. Also very cool 🙂 I’ll be running in the Bikila’s and using the Komodo’s for the gym.

So how is the “experiment” going?

I have just about eradicated all achilles problems. After a lot of running I still wake up sore but after a bit of mobilisation and rubbing it’s all good. I have also read “Born to Run” and that has been awesome and I am now reading “Barefoot Running” by Michael Sandler. I am beginning to completely change my running technique going to a fully fore-foot strike which I have now realised is the ONLY way for us to run. Seriously. Heel striking is only possible with the massive heal cushioning that most running shoes provide and the evidence is mounting that heel striking is ultra-damaging to the proper functioning of our posterior chain.

The simple fact of the matter is as humans we were never designed to heel strike.

Just watch a baby walk and then a child start to run (in barefeet). They are in a controlled forwards fall before reaching out with the ball of their foot and steadying themselves and continuing.

The massive problem for most of us is this. For most of our lives we have been in shoes that envelope our feet in a mass of rubber, plastic and (sometimes) leather. Our feet and subsequently our lower limbs have all compensated in various ways to allow us to move in these horrible monstrosities. So when we take them out of the equation and ask our feet and lower limbs to work like our maker designed them to, they struggle!

I am reliably informed our feet have a quarter of all bones in our bodies. We also have as many sensory receptors in our feet as we do in our hands and these 2 parts of our bodies, along with our genitals, are the 3 most sensitive parts of our bodies.

As I have mentioned in previous Vibram posts, wearing shoes cuts down the ability of our sensory system in our feet to function correctly and in turn, dramatically decreases performance. How? Well if all the muscles, connective tissue and bones need to function optimally they need correct stimulous and this stimulous is created by the feedback loop between the sensory receptors and the brain via the nervous system. No stimulous (the feet can’t “feel” anything), no feedback, no proper function.

What then happens is as we use our feet, we twist, we jump (we land!), we stop, change direction, change pace etc etc, nothing in our lower limbs is working optimally. Nothing actually can!! It’s probably a bit like trying to play the piano in heavy snow gloves!

But worse, as the feedback loop is compromised, stability particularly becomes difficult. Ligaments aren’t receiving proper feedback and aren’t activating correctly and ankles get strained, so do knee ligaments.

There will be a lot of research come to the fore in the near future proving wearing heavy “protective” and “restrictive” shoes are actually doing a heap of harm to us. Just wait!

In the meantime get into some Vibrams! Get into the Vibe! And if you want to get an awesome “intermediate” shoe so to transition into the Vibrams, I highly recommend New Balance Minimus! I am wearing a pair now and they are great fitting, light and make you run properly!

If you want a pair let me know, we can approach NB and make a bulk purchase and get a discount. I want a second pair! The first pair cost me just $125 with a 20% Citibank Credit Card discount, a bulk order should see us all get that kind of deal or better!

Lastly I want to get right into barefoot running. I will be teaching myself how to do this great activity and then I want to help any of you get into it too! I’m not advocating barefoot all the time, but something to do from time to time to help our feet and lower limbs get stronger and perform better! Keep it here folks 🙂



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Want Bigger Arms, don’t do bicep curls….

Ok so I was thinking about writing my first real post this year on this topic and BANG!, Mens Health magazine beat me to it with a brilliant piece of journalistic splendour in their current edition. They say that actually, just continuing to do your isolationist bicep curls and push-downs and close grip bench and hammer curls etc will only end up burning out your arms. By isolationist I mean the bodybuilder-type exercises that purposefully isolate a muscle so you can work it to exhaustion and get maximal repair and therefore, growth. Great theory!! Anyway that “Bible for the Fitness Masses” says no, what you really need to be doing, is other isolationist exercises for all the muscles around and supporting the arms and grow them first and then go about growing your arms…..with presumably bicep curls, push-downs etc 😉 Then you really will look like Popeye!

I always like to consider how it is that guys that do big jobs get really big as a result. I’m not talking about Bankers and Big Heads and Big Ego’s but beefy blokes like lumberjacks and steelworkers. These guys typically don’t always grow up big. They are hauling around heavy machinery and logs and stuff all day long. Their bodies either respond and get BIG or they get injured and I presume, go work in an office.

If you are constantly dragging and lifting heavy things you will get big. Whether at work or at play. Gyms are absolutely no different. Plus if you know about hormone manipulation and rep-range and rest between lifts, you will grow everything (well, not quite everything…). Big arms, legs, chest, shoulders, everything!!

Olympic lifts are the Gold Standard in the gym. Do them and get big, across the board. Don’t isolate and grow bits here and there, you will end up looking like a muscle-bound ape. Just check out any of the big commercial gyms, a lot of them are instructors….. 🙂 And don’t be fooled by “Functional Gyms” that include banks of treadmills and isolationist machines on their floors. That ain’t functional.

Professional bodybuilders with full-time coaches get body-split training programs wrong at competition time, do you seriously expect the poorly trained and limited vocab guys and girls here to be able to get it right for you?? It’s total guesswork on their part so why risk it. Lift broadly with Olympic Lifts, taught by people that know them and meet your goals and more!!

Plus you get good at a few very important lifts and are not confused about what you should be doing when you go do your own workouts! Squats, lunges, bench-presses, cleans, push-presses, overhead presses, bar or dumbbells….and keep mixing it around 🙂 Simple and effective!! Want to know more –



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UFIT Run, May 17, 2011

After an age and after a BIG commitment to re-blogging I have finally again got here to write up UFIT Run from Tuesday. 6 Ufitters, a Public Holiday and 4 “virgin” Runners including a triallist whom until now has not been heard of since…..Knotty (Chris Knott) starred, running a Total Elapsed Time 1 second faster than the record he held previously (14.48 to 14.47)!! Plus on debut Andrew Prentice shattered Chris’ record on Main St by 2 seconds! This spurred Knotty on to go equal the record at No Picnic at Raffles at 1min 25, jointly held by Jason Parry and Axe Rawlinson. So we had a thunderous start to the session! The pace was hot and it couldn’t last, we were an hour earlier than usual being a Public Holiday so it was still quite warm 🙂 Nevertheless, the Running Couple, Al and Anne Morgan put in great efforts all day, Stuart Hau never dropped out of the Top 3 (well, until the last, the Big Monster!) and triallist Amy Fu was a star on her UFIT debut! Awesome stuff, next week it’s UFIT Core with Alex, see you there!

For Top Times click on this link

Stairway to Heaving Chris 0:01:15 Stuart 0:01:17 Andrew 0:01:19 Alastair 0:01:42 Anne 0:01:47 Amy 0:01:48; Main Street Andrew 0:02:53 Chris 0:03:02 Stuart 0:03:34 Anne 0:04:04 Alastair 0:04:15 Amy 0:04:21; No Picnic at Raffles Chris 0:01:25 Andrew 0:01:40 Stuart 0:01:50 Alastair 0:02:10 Anne 0:02:10 Amy 0:02:14; Hill St Blues Chris 0:02:35 Andrew 0:02:47 Stuart 0:03:04 Amy 0:03:43 Alastair 0:03:46 Anne 0:03:56; The Hexing Vex Andrew 0:01:48 Chris 0:01:52 Stuart 0:02:19 Anne 0:02:28 Alastair 0:02:32 Amy 0:02:39; Big Monster Chris 0:04:38 Andrew 0:05:01 Anne 0:05:42 Alastair 0:06:06 Stuart 0:06:27 Amy 0:06:29



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