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

Archive for April, 2010


My Sunday’s are pretty ordinary. I have fairly active Saturdays, UFIT Bootcamp early then most of the afternoon playing and refereeing Touch Football (whilst the season is on which is half the year).

So Sunday is a day I can lie in, get up about 8am and go and get some breakfast and read the paper. And man, do I read some rubbish about my business in the Sunday paper! The guy who writes a fitness column a guy called Frankie, always structures his work on what people tell him. This could also be described as heresay….

Ok so if he was writing about a traffic accident, say a taxi does a U-Turn on a busy street and doesn’t look before doing it (I’m trying to make this as real-life as possible) and another taxi slams into it and a bunch of people see it, Frankie could turn up and get eye-witness accounts and pretty much get the story straight. Well lets say he gets it 50-50…..

But if Frankie is writing about fitness and he asks a bunch of people about a component of fitness and what they think to be the facts, he has to apply some fraction of journalistic expertise. He must find a reputable resource for a starting point and state a standpoint and then offer “professional” opinions from those he interviews. If Frankie has some kind of professional qualification in fitness that would also be a bonus.

Instead what Frankie does is tell a whole lot of rubbish described to him by a whole lot of people who clearly don’t know much about the given topic. And usually if they do, they are are peddling an agenda which Frankie either doesn’t bother editing or is too ignorant to realise.

It’s so sad it becomes comical. So Sunday breakfast can be entertaining reading about fitness but also tinged with a little sadness with how bad things are in our industry in Singapore with so few true pro’s working on the scene here.

BUT!! Sunday’s get a whole lot better after that, why? Cos Sunday is FUN Training Day! And it’s movie day, I watched Kick Ass today and it Kick’s Ass!!

Fun Training Day means I go out and do something different. Some days I ride, some days I run, some days I gym but I always try and do something different. It gives me fresh ideas for UFIT Bootcamps, it shakes things up for my own training and mentally it’s refreshing.

Training can be dull sometimes. It can be a grind and sometimes it has to be. I mean life can be a grind but we always have things going on that give us some respite from that grind. Training’s the same! Ruts are not good so bust out of that rut with something different! Getting into different stuff with your training can mean a big refresher for life in general. If you need some ideas on different training come talk to UFIT! We are full of them whether in the gym doing PT or out in the park doing UFIT.

Plus we also help out with lifestyle coaching, helping you guys and girls to look at your patterns (daily/weekly/monthly/yearly) and how to vary the things you DO have control over for ultimately enhancing your lives in general.It really is amazing when someone sits down and addresses your lifestyle in a macro perspective how many interesting things eventuate. I’ve done this several times now with different folks and outcomes are very interesting and valuable for individuals!

Maybe give it a go?! And certainly don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper, fitness or otherwise! We here at UFIT are different. We seriously don’t want to be regarded as just everyday Trainers due to the basic fact that we aren’t. We are EXTRAordinary and revel in that. Come revel with us!!





Deano and I meet up from time to time, talk crap, the way you do but occasionally we actually talk a bit of business and today we talked about our business, the fitness industry. We were talking about trends and what is currently “in” and what will still be “in” next year.

Who of you train at the biggest fitness chain in Singapore? Also happens to be the biggest in the WORLD!! No names! Lol. I train there as well and love the vibe of the place, something they pull off at most of their locations. To me vibe is important, it gets people in the mood and if you’re in the mood, well, usually something happens! In this case, you get training!

Ok so in recent times, dominating the landscape in this particular location of this big chain are TRX’s. Come to think about it I have no idea what TRX stands for but it’s a long strap-thing with handles at each end, you can sling it up and do bodyweight exercises. They’re everywhere sprouting up on cable machines, pull-up machines, hanging off this, hanging off that, everywhere!

I don’t think there’s any doubt that the TRX brings benefit/adds value to a training session. The problem is I see the Personal Trainers in this gym putting the PT clients through an hour of TRX! I mean, why??

A standard PT session in the gym for the most part should feature a progressive warm-up (stretch, mobilise, activate, dynamic, core) followed by power/speed, strength and cardio endurance. This is our way, the UFIT way and it is the pathway we have embraced due to our alignment with the NASM principles of training. We studied it, we embraced it, we used it for ourselves and we now teach it in our outdoor and gym-based sessions. Ok so it might not be everyone’s way. But I have yet to find an argument for a better way. I’ve looked at all the other training certification programs, looked at the principles, read books, listened to various experts and I don’t see how any other way is as specific, systematic, comprehensive or as beneficial as this particular methodology.

So to suggest that using any one single piece of equipment to accomplish what you need to in an hour long PT session doesn’t really make sense. It actually won’t work….I’m not having a go at the guys/girls delivering such sessions, they just aren’t generally well educated and are victims of the system they are working within.

You as consumers need to be aware that if you are being delivered this kind of thing and are paying good money for it, you are wasting your money. Sorry. FAD!!!

There is a place in a PT program for TRX-type exercises, like there is for kettlebells, flexbands, Olympic bars, dumbbells, Bosu’s, wobble boards, cables etc etc. But it’s a component of the program, not THE program!!

The next fad to come along will take over the role of TRX. And then that’s what they’ll all be teaching. Do you consider yourself to be stupid? Does your Trainer? Just telling it how it is!

Find a Trainer that looks at you as unique. We all are. As a result, you need to attend to things to reach your goals in different ways to the person next to you. Your Trainer should do an assessment that uncovers all of this information. He/she should then have the skill-set to develop a plan to address the structural faults identified (we ALL have them) AND then to address the outcomes you have requested in your goals. Don’t pay lip service. I know of at least one group out there that say they undertake comprehensive assessments and fudge along doing something, but never follow through because they simply don’t know how. A shame but also very, very naughty!! But people believe them!

You’re probably a professional. You probably don’t want to take chances on your fitness and as a result, your long term health. You want to be specific in your training. You want results, you want success. It’s easy, make a professional decision!! Engage UFIT.




Training? Heart Rate Monitor? Or What??

“Or what” is the answer! How many of you guys out there wear a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)? What do you REALLY get out of it? Don’t get me wrong in a professional environment HR is an important indicator of work and in data collection a lot of important trends can be determined during a training program. For the average, non-professional athlete (of which even though fitness is my business, I am one), there is a far better training aid into which to invest your hard-earned cash.

I am talking of the “speed box” or “foot pod”, the small thumb-sized bit of kit that attaches to your shoe laces and communicates with your watch (more usually a HRM!) So yeah I believe most of the time you will probably be investing in a HRM as well as the speed box/foot-pod but it’s the latter that will make it’s biggest contribution to your training program!

Why? Quite simply the “pod” will allow you to calibrate it for optimal efficiency (usually on a 400 metre track) and from that moment onwards you will have a pretty reliable measure of speed and distance on your training runs. I say pretty reliable because the pod counts how many strides you take over the given distance you calibrate it to and from this number averages out your stride length. Once you activate the pod when training, it immediately starts churning out your running speed in real time whilst squirrelling away time and distance for you to record once you have completed the run.

Clearly the output can be compromised by a few factors. These are predominantly incline/decline and running speed. Running uphill your stride length will decrease and I’m guessing the pod will overestimate your distance and the opposite for running downhill when your stride length increases and the pod underestimates your distance. As the watch is also recording elapsed time, speed in both instances will be off.

Likewise for running speed. If you calibrate over 5 km’s and then do a 2 km timetrial when you will likely be running more quickly and have a longer stride length as a consequence, problems again may occur. Some amateur athletes may not face this problem (professional athletes would not) because their stride length is a constant. That’s why they’re good!

So there are reasons why the pod will not always be that accurate but as a general rule most of us just want to run faster over a given distance. Mucking around with markers and elapsed time is not always easy to track when out there alone but with a speedo attached to your wrist, the game just became a whole lot easier!

I bought a Beurer HRM and Speed Box at the fitness show at Expo late last year for $350, a steal (well actually a show special!!) They usually cost $540!! I have owned Polar and Timex HRM’s in the past and the Beurer smashes them, easily. This is due to the Beurer having a brighter, clearer watch face, being easier to use during a run and being made of sterner stuff than either the other 2. I am quite frankly loving the kit! The most unfortunate thing is the distributor here in Singapore are complete chumps and carry a small range and seem to have over-priced them as well.

When Perks, JR, Knotty and I were training for the Urbanathlon, the Beurer kit came in very handy indeed. JR bought a Polar with footpod and found it just too hard to use and the watch face was ridiculously dark and small. Enter my Beurer! We were doing 2-3 km time trials at 14-15 km/h and it was vital we knew where we were at at all times. We got it from the Beurer!!

If anyone is keen I can enquire to Germany about getting them straight from there, let me know. In the meantime, ramp up your training with a speed-box or foot-pod and really improve your running times!




Weight Management

Since I have been discussing weight loss it has had me thinking. I guess I really should amend that to weight management. There is a very good reason for this. What is optimum weight? There are various calculations people over the years have proposed as being able to estimate an individuals optimum weight but as hard as I try I can’t be convinced by any of them. Why? We’re all too individual for any one equation to fit us all. Science is littered with ridiculous equations people have proposed for various outcomes. Think your maximal heart rate or HRmax as being as easy as 220-your age. I mean, please??? I’m not even going to argue why it is so pathetic and certainly not interested in debating something as so completely braindead as Polar using it as the basis of their equations in their heart rate monitors – Come On!! Lol.

So for me to be focussing on weight loss is wrong, as it is for you. We should all be focussing on weight management. Why? Our bodies innately know what our weights should be and our bodies will find that weight if we treat it with respect. Respect. Please, seriously, think about that for a moment. I meet a lot of people regularly who tell me they need to lose weight and really need to lose weight NOW!

“But I can still drink right? I mean, I have to entertain for my job! I have to go out and spend late nights entertaining so I have to still drink alcohol. Plus I am so busy I simply have to eat fast-food sometimes and if it wasn’t for the coffee I couldn’t get through the day! I have a BIG job so I have con-calls in the morning and at night and that cuts into my time as well……it’s going to be hard I think!!”

A typical scenario and lots of reasons why people can take solace from the fact they can’t lose weight. The reality is with some simple fixes, weight will melt away. How? You have to know why some carbs are bad and will always add weight and some carbs are your friends and will never add weight. You need to know why we eat too many calories and are always in storage mode and how to break that cycle. You need to know why our hormones dictate all of the above and how we can positively influence our hormones with food and exercise. You need to stop listening to rubbish perpetuated in the mass media, usually derived from questionable sources and find reliable information and start using simple steps to begin your own action plan for weight management. And yes, that involves talking to UFIT!!




UFIT Getting you FIT!!

I haven’t yet given this post a title. I’m going to write and then add a title afterwards. The key to this message is COMMITMENT! I really want everyone to be fit and healthy but to be that way, you first have to commit to the lifestyle. I see many people making band-aid commitments to their fitness. Using a band-aid, you put it on for a while, take it off and you’re healed. Unfortunately it’s not quite the same with fitness. Band-aid fitness is just play a bit of sport now and then, a gym session or 2, go for a run, you’re training right?! However after the band-aid comes off, you go back to poor food choices, late nights, alcohol and a haphazard training schedule.

Real band-aids heal, band-aid fitness doesn’t work, at all!

We have our bodies for a lifetime. That maybe a short one or a long one but whichever it is, will it be a productive one, full of vitality, fun and contentment or will it be one racked with injuries, too heavy and ravaged with time?

You can control these 2 outcomes and you must because really ONLY you can do it! You just have to make the commitment.

We all know people (family, friends, colleagues) that have and continue to suffer illnesses, minor and major. There is a direct relationship between fitness and health. Fitter people suffer less illness, live longer and more productively, have better sex, have healthier children and look better!! Jeez are you sold yet??

I mean for a commitment to living healthier look at the rewards. I actually believe people are very lazy. “Oh I have to go out and have dinner with clients, eat lots, booze, you know, I have to do it”. Then the next day, “I feel like shit, I’ll eat Macca’s for breakfast and drink a lot of coffee today, that’ll get me through the day!” I hear this so much it becomes sickening!

Guys you have to manage it. I have a lot of clients that have done and continue to do very well, some are teetotallers, vegetarians, family people. Don’t make excuses and don’t be lazy! Serious illness, poor quality of life, mounting expenses and an early grave are all that await!

What. To. Do?? Get help. Find a reliable resource for training and nutritional advice. Don’t be lazy. Pick up the phone, send an email!! Get help! There are very competent people out there who can help you. Here are some ways of contacting them –