Get to know the new CEO of UFIT - Will Skinner!

If you haven’t met him yet, we’re delighted to introduce Will Skinner, who takes over as CEO of UFIT from from James Forrester starting from 1st May! After 8 years of leading UFIT, James will be moving back to the UK and continue to work on UFIT’s recruitment and expansion as a shareholder and member of the management team.

GET TO KNOW WILL AS HE PREPARES TO STEP INTO HIS NEW ROLE

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What have you been doing in your professional career up till now?

I moved to Singapore from the UK just over a year and a half ago and haven’t looked back. My career in the UK had revolved around sports, which included playing rugby for England, and working for top English rugby team Harlequins F.C. on growing their commercial influence.

The move to Singapore came about through my wife’s work and I was looking at opportunities where my skills set might be suitable. It was after a good number of meetings (and training sessions) with UFIT founders James Forrester and Dean Ahmad when we agreed I would come onboard as UFIT’s Commercial Director. Over the last 16 months I have been working with James and the central team in growing our footprint in Singapore and beyond. Over the last year, we have set up 4 new UFIT entities, taken the number of staff to over 100, seen our client base grow, and started new partnerships with companies such as LinkedIn and the Australian International School to run their in-house wellness programmes.

 Will used to play professional rugby at the elite level in the UK.

Will used to play professional rugby at the elite level in the UK.

 

What are you most excited about with this new role?

It’s not about filling into the new role that excites me, but more of the people and industry in which we are involved. Having worked in a professional sports setting for a number of years, I thought I had seen dedication. But the level of commitment from our clients and strength of the community has been truly inspiring. I also have a huge amount of respect for our team. In such a competitive market, our guys are fully aware of the level of learning and sacrifices that are needed to stay at the top, and are really committed to give their clients the best experience they can.

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Are we going to see changes at UFIT? What are your plans?

Inevitably there will be changes so we continue to stay on top of the game, but at the same time, with our community being so strong and our business in the incredible shape that it’s in, I definitely don’t want to change things that are working really well for our clients and staff.

To help us understand and build upon the things that are important to our community, we will be conducting a full review of our company, scrutinising our product offerings and operations, speaking to all our clients and staff, and evaluating how we can continue to serve our community better. With these insights we will be better able to align ourselves to our community's needs, and bring the UFIT experience to the next level. We are also looking at exciting potential expansion plans, which will be a huge part of James’ continuing role with UFIT. Aside from staying on the management team and looking after our recruitment, James will also be using his network and industry knowledge to uncover new opportunities outside of Singapore.

 New UFIT CEO Will Skinner (left) took the baton over from James Forrester (right) who is moving back home to the UK, but will continue to work closely together.

New UFIT CEO Will Skinner (left) took the baton over from James Forrester (right) who is moving back home to the UK, but will continue to work closely together.

 

What kind of FITNESS training do you do, and why?

To be honest, I’m a bit of secret trainer. Most of the time I focus on rehabilitation work on the number of old rugby injuries I have. I’m competitive in a way that I tend to play down how much I’ve done, and then take people by surprise when I turn up to a beach bootcamp on Sunday morning! Having just had my first son not too long ago, trying to fit training into my diary will be slightly trickier, but I won't let that become an excuse!

With this new role, it is important to me that I’m not just sitting behind a computer screen for 12 hours a day. So I have set myself the task of having a session with every trainer, physiotherapist, and coach in the business over the next 100 days. So in 3 months’ time I will either be in the best shape of my life, or be cowering in a dark corner somewhere from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)! 

 

What do you like to do when you're not at work?

As you can imagine life currently revolves around nappies and sleep. But in my former life, my wife and I would be happiest when we have the chance to eat, drink and travel to new places.


As Will works his way around the gyms, bootcamps and Clinics over the coming months, come and say hi when you see him! He would love to meet and hear from you. All of us at UFIT would like to thank James for leading UFIT into what it is today, and wish both James and Will all the best in their new roles!

Get to know kids rugby coach Chris Hodges

Chris is one of the head coaches at the upcoming kids rugby development camp happening from the 9th to 13th April. An affable and soft-spoken man with a fiery beard, Chris is well liked and respected by his young charges. We caught up with him before the camp to ask a few questions! 


  Source: Tanglin Rugby Club

Source: Tanglin Rugby Club

Tell us a bit more about yourself – your background, what does fitness mean to you, and what do you love most about working with your clients?

I've always played sports and love being active, so working in the fitness industry has been an easy choice. I studied exercise and sport science at the university in the UK, and have subsequently worked within a range of sports at both elite and club levels. I specialise in strength and conditioning, post-injury strengthening, and youth athlete development.

I've had my fair share of injuries over the years, so overcoming and preventing them has always been a big goal for me. To get someone fit and healthy is very individual. Whether you aim to run a marathon or walk pain-free, fitness training should help you to achieve that goal.

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What I love most about working with my clients is that each person is an individual, everyone has something that makes them unique. It is the same in fitness training. Each person responds differently to the training programs, so finding the best and most effective way to train is something I really enjoy.

I'm always looking to learn and improve myself. The more I know, the more I can bring to my clients. So continuing my development through my master’s degree in strength and conditioning is really helping this.

You will be running the week-long UFIT Rugby Development Camp next week. What skills and qualities can kids develop through rugby training?

There’s plenty of qualities that can be developed from rugby, not only in terms of skills, but also in physical and mental strengths. The kids will gain endurance and speed, improve hand-eye coordination, and also learn self-discipline and self-confidence. These are all positive attributes that you want to see in your kids as they grow up.

The UFIT rugby camp is five days of healthy social interaction with other kids their age, learning the best qualities from each other, and be under the guidance of expert coaches who have played rugby at the elite levels.

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6 QUICK TRIVIAS:

  • Best advice given to you: “You can only make a good impression once.”
  • Biggest inspiration: Neil Back
  • Unknown talent: I am a grade 8 musician
  • Favourite quote: “To be a good leader, first be a good follower.”
  • Go-to workout music: Drum and bass
  • Favourite cheat meal: Burgers!

ABOUT CHRIS

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Chris is a level 2 rugby coach with a bachelors of science in exercise and sports science. He has worked with the England Under-20 rugby squad, as well as with top English rugby club the Exeter Chiefs as their strength and conditioning coach and the head of performance focusing on youth players ages 13-18.

Chris coaches and plays in Singapore with the Bucks 1st XV, and as the captain he led them to their first premiership win in six years.  Chris is currently completing his masters in strength and conditioning.

Health tips and offers from UFIT partners

We continue to work with so many amazing businesses around Singapore that can help you and your family live a healthy and fulfilling life, along with all your training! Here are some health tips and offers from some of the great partners we've worked with this month:


The Meat Club

The Meat Club has just joined the UFIT Perks program! This premium online meat provider offers high quality Australian meat freshly produced and delivered to your home. Co-founders David Beattie and Amy Bell are passionate about food provenance and source the very best Australian beef, lamb, chicken, sausages and bacon, plus New Zealand King Salmon for their members. Offering home delivery at the click of a button, with the option for a monthly delivery on Auto Pilot, what is not to love. Check out their range right here. Take a look also at this informative article about the role of meat in an iron deficient diet.  

Enjoy the following discounts as a UFIT Perks member (one time use only, must ordinarily reside in Singapore): UFIT10: $10 off with min. spend of $80 * UFIT20: $20 off with min. spend of $160

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Raw & Wild Pili nuts

Pili Nuts are amongst the most nutritionally packed and appetising nuts on the planet, pre-sprouted and dehydrated to preserve vital enzymes, minerals and nutrients. The activation process breaks down complex starch, neutralises phytic acid and ignites the 'life force' of the nut. Because they contain all amino acids, they function as a complete protein which is great for vegetarian or vegan diets. They also have the highest magnesium content of any nut, and a single serving can fulfil your daily copper and manganese requirements.

We think they're a fabulously tasty snack, are UFIT Clean & Lean approved, come in delicious flavours and are now available at UFIT Amoy. Read more about the benefits of Pili nuts right here

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NuZest Protein

We all love a two-in-one workout - this week our friends at LinkedIn Asia-Pac HQ burnt calories whilst blending healthy protein shakes with this cool blender bike and protein powder by Nuzest Singapore. With the help of UFIT Nutritionist Becky Brake and UFIT/LinkedIn gym manager Simon Porter they made two tasty smoothies; a hormone balancer and a breakfast smoothie, whilst they enjoyed Becky's informative nutrition talk.

As a UFIT Perks Partner Nuzest is offering UFIT clients a 10% discount when you buy their products from some of our outlets. Check out these UFIT Perks details right here - and also learn about the amazing power of turmeric for post-workout recovery.

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International Medical Clinic

Fitness and health - two of life's most important assets. There's no denying the two go hand in hand - a fit and active body can keep your body healthy and functioning as it should, and a healthy body can help you perform optimally in your fitness training. Often our busy lives get on top of us which can result in us neglecting our training or not making the time to get health issues checked out as soon as we should. The International Medical Clinic share with us their views right here on why health screenings should not be ignored.   

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Is iron deficiency the cause of your fatigue?

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Iron is the essential element for energy production and optimal athletic performance. Did you know that almost half of women in Singapore could be iron-deficient but are unware of it? UFIT’s Head of Nutrition Wendy Riddell was recently surprised to find out she was one of them in an Iron Panel Test.


“Nutrition isn’t just about weight loss or weight gain. It’s not about macro counting or calorie counting. It’s not about how you look or how cut you are. It’s about your health, it’s about your strength, it’s about your quality of life, and it’s about your self esteem. You get these things right, and everything else will follow.

The wealth of knowledge on nutrition out there can be very confusing. Everyone has a different opinion, the world wide web is often full of deceptive information. At UFIT Nutrition we pride ourselves on continuous learning from the best in the industry. So when I got the opportunity to speak to the experts at The Iron Suites to learn more about iron’s impact on personal fitness, I jumped on it immediately.

Iron is essential for carrying oxygen through the blood cells to every parts of our bodies. It is a vital component of our metabolism and is crucial for energy production. Iron deficiency often results in fatigue, which is often mistaken as a consequence of a busy life. I’m a health professional, so of course I’m fully aware of the importance of having sufficient iron in my diet, along with magnesium and zinc etc. I eat well. I work out. I also have 4 children, 2 dogs, and a full-time job, so being tired is part of the deal.

While looking around the clinic, I was offered the opportunity to have an iron panel test done. I thought, why not? I’m perfectly healthy. So I was a bit shocked when I got the call to tell me that my iron levels were pretty low, and I should come in and see the doctor. It turns out that I’m tired because I’m iron deficient. Oh the irony!

  Source: The Iron Suites

Source: The Iron Suites

And it appears that I’m far from the only one who is unaware that this could be an issue. A recent study done on a group of athletic women aged between 25 to 45 years – all of whom were eating well and training to run a race, showed that a third of them were tested iron- deficient. Iron deficiency is an especially common problem in women (due to regular periods) and young athletes. If you work out regularly, you may be depleting your iron stores and stand at a risk of being iron-deficient. One of the main reasons that people who exercise regularly need more iron is that they lose it faster through perspiration. You can experience anything from fatigue, irritability, and even lose interest in exercising altogether. This can have a huge impact on your training programme.

Iron is an essential nutrient which the body doesn’t produce by itself, it must be obtained from your diet. If not enough iron is consumed, or if your body has trouble absorbing it, iron deficiency can occur, which impairs your body's ability to transport and utilise oxygen. Considering that dietary iron recommendations for people who work out regularly are 1.3 to 1.7 times higher than usual, if your diet does not provide you with sufficient iron, your performance will take a direct hit.

In another yet unpublished study about the impact of iron deficiency on athletic performance, a visiting professor from the UK shared with us that one of his patients, a key contender in the London Marathon had initially dropped out of the event due to fatigue. The professor treated her with an iron infusion, and not only did she feel well enough to participate in the marathon (due to a new burst of energy), she even improved her personal best timing by a staggering 13%!

The doctor at The Iron Suites gave me a couple of options. Eat 1 kg of meat every day for 18 months? Tempting, but expensive. Another option is to take oral supplements, but they are not well absorbed by the body,  and may present side effects such as constipation and bloating. It will also take 6 months to a year to get my levels to what they should be. So I decided I would have an iron infusion, which is the quickest and most effective remedy.

 The iron panel test and iron infusion treatment is done in the cosy clinic of The Iron Suites.

The iron panel test and iron infusion treatment is done in the cosy clinic of The Iron Suites.

This was a super simple procedure that took all of 10 minutes, and I was on my way back to work right after. I did not notice much difference immediately, but within a week my energy levels went through the roof! I found my workout timings improved (to the extent that my CrossFit coach filmed me to prove that I wasn’t cheating), and I was able to lift heavier weights. But more importantly, I wasn’t as tired at the end of the day and was able to spend more time with my children.

One month after my infusion, my endurance and run times have improved along with my strength. My iron levels were measured again, and I’m now in the normal range. For female athletes out there who feel that you are not performing to your best ability, I highly recommend you do an iron panel test to check if your fatigue is due to an iron deficiency.”

Iron Suites Promotion

The Iron Suites is offering a free iron panel test (worth $52) to the first 400 sign-ups from the UFIT community!

Step 1: Click HERE.

Step 2: Select your preferred date and time

Step 3: Key in your contact details, and enter promo code <UFIT-Fe> under "Purpose of Visit"

A representative from The Iron Suites will be in contact to confirm your visit. You can also call in at +65 6702 1929 during office hours to make an appointment.


About the author:

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Wendy Riddell is a degree-qualified nutritionist with 18 years of experience. She runs the highly popular UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge, which successfully helped thousands of people lose weight and develop healthy eating habits. 

Wendy is also a fully qualified personal trainer and bootcamps coach, with experience in running fitness programs in Australia and Singapore. A regular CrossFitter, she has competed in multiple obstacle races, half-marathons and cycling races in Singapore and in the UK. Wendy is a great believer that anyone can achieve anything with the right support. “I can, and I will.” is one of Wendy’s favourite phrases. She has four young children and understand first hand the challenges of balancing a healthy lifestyle with the demands of daily life.

 

Meet Megan Lovegrove - UFIT Phuket Retreat coach

It's not often you get to go away on holidays and bring your physiotherapist with you. For any underlying issues, muscle soreness or the unexpected injury, having access to a great physio when you need it can be so valuable when you're in a remote location. 

We are excited that Megan Lovegrove is joining the UFIT retreat in Phuket! Megan brings along not only her great experience as a physio, she's also an outstanding CrossFit athlete and coach, bootcamp coach, and personal trainer. She will be leading workout sessions along with UFIT Orchard manager Nathan Williams, and together they are looking forward to give our retreat participants an awesome experience that combines the magic elements of fun, fitness and relaxation.

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We asked Megan to tell us more  ...

WHAT IS THERE TO LOOK FORWARD TO ON A UFIT RETREAT?

Our clients being able to focus purely on themselves. We all know life can get on top of us and it's important to put yourself and your health first.

The environment the retreat creates ensures great recovery as well as great training. My experience as a trainer and athlete has shown me that both aspects are equally important.

I am a big believer in that good old endorphin rush and that we can train hard whilst having fun. I'm also passionate about training being functional. In my bootcamp sessions I always include lots of workout variety and exercises to suit all levels of fitness. Bring your sunglasses and a smile!

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Since I joined the company I've been busy right across the business meeting the awesome clients of UFIT.  I'm really looking forward to get to know them better on the retreat, not only in a training environment but in the chilled down time. Everyone benefits from a recharge.

WHY GO AWAY TO A TROPICAL ISLAND TO TRAIN?

My two favourite things all in one: nature and exercise! And the best way to end your day is a swim in the sea to relax those sore muscles.

I've never been to Thailand yet, as I only recently moved to Singapore! But I love to explore, so for anybody wanting an early morning or evening stroll I'll be with you :-)

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What's your favourite type of holiday?

One with good company - I love to have a giggle. And lots of exercise, all kinds.

Although I'm a CrossFit athlete, I see the importance of and appreciate all types of fitness. And a stunning backdrop of white beaches and blue seas helps :-)

 Megan is wearing  Lorna Jane &nbsp;

Megan is wearing Lorna Jane 

MORE ABOUT MEGAN

Megan has a Masters in Physiotherapy and works at the UFIT Clinic as an exercise therapist. She also runs classes for UFIT Bootcamps, CrossFit Tanjong Pagar and is a Personal Trainer at UFIT Tanjong Pagar and UFIT One-North.

She is a world-class CrossFit athlete, and has competed in the European CrossFit regionals three times both as an individual and as part of a team. In 2017, she competed at the US CrossFit Games as part of the British team after winning their European region. 

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After getting her Bachelor of Sport Science and Physiology in Leeds UK, she started her fitness career as a Rehab Therapist in the Lake District, working alongside physiotherapists for three years which led her to doing a Masters degree in Physiotherapy. She then worked at the NHS for six months in intensive care with a respiratory focus. 

In 2017 she was both a full-time CrossFit competitor and coach.  Just six weeks before competing in the regionals, she tore her knee cartilage, resulting in the need for immediate knee surgery. That experience inevitably brought on a lot of tears and pain, which her previous colleagues at Activate Physiotherapy said she got through with her "patience, mental resilience, determination and professionalism". 

Working closely with her Physiotherapist and coach, she recovered and successfully competed at regionals and went onto the CrossFit Games.

"They didn’t just win it, they destroyed it. Place at The Crossfit Games in Wisconsin: secured. Saying that we’re proud of Meg and her team is an understatement." (quote from Activate Physiotherapy UK newsletter 9 June 2017).
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From her own personal experience, and her academic background of degrees in both Sports Science and Physiotherapy, Megan has an excellent understanding of how a disciplined approach to rehab can get you straight back into doing the sport you love within a short time frame. As an exercise therapist with UFIT and a successful athlete, she’s passionate about building a strong link between fitness, injury prevention and recovery. 

As she coaches and helps clients recover, she loves to coach people who are new to fitness and health:

Their first pull-up may seem small - but it’s a huge step, and I find getting people to understand how the body works is the most rewarding thing.

Equally I enjoy working with high-level athletes and appreciate the marginal gains that can be made when you’re a serious competitor and the importance of achieving them.

I can't wait to work with people of all fitness levels  under palm trees and by the sea at the UFIT Phuket Retreat. 

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