Need a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life? Going on hike in the rugged beauty of the mountains may be the getaway you need to refresh yourself! UFIT Personal Trainer and avid hiker Lizzie Wright shares the 6 lessons she learned from from her hiking trips.
Bea Tang recently achieve the momentous milestone of completing her 1,000th bootcamp session with UFIT! Bea is a familiar face in the UFIT Bootcamps community for the last 5 years, training daily in the lush nature of the Botanic Gardens, or crushing a Metcon session in the “jungle” of CrossFit Bukit Timah.
Bea was a corporate lawyer who used to spend long hours at work. A new year resolution at the end of 2012 to get healthier started Bea on her fitness journey, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through bootcamp training and attending UFIT’s Clean & Lean Challenges, Bea credited UFIT with giving her a new and balanced perspective on fitness and health. Being fit and healthy is a way of living, not about obsessing over the numbers on the scales.
We caught up with Bea to find out what she loves about outdoor bootcamp trainings, what keeps her motivated, and her hangover cure!
Hello Bea! Congratulations, and thank you for speaking with us! First tell us a little about yourself - how old are you? And which line of employment are you in?
Hello! I’m well into my 40’s and older than I would like to be! I’d like to say I am an enlightened lawyer – which in other words means, after over 20 years of slaving away, I’m no longer in the profession that most wish could be chained to the bottom of the ocean. These days I’m generally a contented doggy mommy. My husband and I have 2 rescued Schnauzers who keep my life fairly occupied.
What does your typical day look like?
On weekdays, I usually wake by 6am. I’d feed the dogs, head out for a work out, walk the dogs, then head home to prepare dinner. Some days I might meet up with friends for lunch. Others, I might take one of our Schnauzers, Kirby, to volunteer as a therapy dog. Mostly, I keep up with my readings, keep an eye on our investment portfolios, and run errands etc. The day tend to end early after dinner with my hubby, and a longer walk with the dogs, unless we’ve social events.
Do you make time for fitness training everyday?
My favourite time for a workout is early in the morning before the sun gets too high and the day gets too warm. I love the hour where the sun is just over the horizon, and I can get my workout in before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.
Do you workout with your partner?
My husband, Christopher and I, have made it part of our weekend routine to start the day with a bootcamp session at Fort Canning and the Botanic Gardens.
Tell us more about how you got to know about UFIT Bootcamps over 5 years ago, and what got you interested?
At the end of 2012 when I decided to stop work as a full time corporate lawyer, I, as many others, made a New Year resolution to get my fitness journey back on track. I signed up for a pack of 5 bootcamps with UFIT and embarked on my first bootcamp session at MacRitchie Reservoir Park. That left me panting and rather demoralised but I persisted nevertheless. By the end of the 5 sessions, the bootcamp instructor had inspired me to register for an unlimited bootcamp package. I haven’t looked back since!
Were you already physically active before that?
In school, I was very physically active, training and participating in mid-distance and cross country races. I also used to be a wakeboard junkie, heading to a secluded river in Johor to ride for entire weekends and occasionally took part in the novice category of local competitions. My husband and I are also avid scuba divers – although some will argue if that constitutes as physical activity. However, work took a precedence over health and my fitness level deteriorated dramatically. Age and a slowdown in metabolic rates also meant that I started piling on the pounds, although thankfully, my natural body shape and tan continued to project an illusion of health to the untrained eye.
Have you done other bootcamp trainings before starting bootcamp training with UFIT?
No, although prior to UFIT, I did do personal training sessions for several years and occasionally joined my hubby at his gym. Whilst it was comfortable in an air conditioned environment which provided drinks, towels, and even workout attire, nothing beats being outdoors with the tropical flora and fauna (and the bugs and wildlife that go with them)!
Which UFIT bootcamp trainings do you attend? Has that changed over the years?
I started off training Tuesday and Thursday classes at MacRitchie which with its peaceful and tranquil environment, remained my all-time favourite location – scary monkeys notwithstanding. Subsequently I joined the SHEFIT (women only) sessions at the Botanic Gardens. Last year, I decided to give MetCon at CrossFit Bukit Timah a shot. I realised then that the booster of weight and intensity was what my body needed. I’ve since been doing 3 to 4 MetCon trainings on weekdays, and bootcamps on weekends – except when we’re travelling.
What motivates you to continue bootcamp training all these years?
I’m a masochist and relish the pain! Vanity is also one of my middle names - I’m full of glee when friends and family express envy at my defined shoulders and physique. It gives me an incentive to maintain them.
What is your favourite part of UFIT Bootcamps?
The camaraderie of working out in a group, and the competitive yet encouraging pressure which motivates me to keep going. Whilst personal training gives me dedicated attention, I found it somewhat lonely. And without others to benchmark myself against, it was easier for me to slack off and get lazy. I must say I was also very effective in convincing my former trainer that I could not do another push up.
Do you have a favourite trainer, and what you like the most about him/her?
I have no favourite trainer in UFIT as I love them all!! Currently, I think CY and Jed at MetCon class in CrossFit Bukit Timah are great, as they really kick my a** and push me to find that extra ounce of energy I didn’t think I have. I love Marcus at Sundays’ Botanic Gardens sessions as he is such a teddy bear - intimidatingly covered with ripping muscles, and yet the gentlest and most encouraging trainer. I love Rachel at Saturdays’ Fort Canning sessions even though I sometimes thought I could murder her during yet another unending stairs run or sprints up the grey hill!
Fitness Philosophy - What does being fit mean to you? What are your fitness goals?
My goal is to be able to age gracefully and actively in a couple of decades from now. Neurological diseases like dementia and Parkinson’s run in my family. The doctor advised that I have a strong pre-disposition to such diseases, and one of the best forms of prevention is maintaining an active lifestyle.
How has your outlook on fitness changed in the last 5 years with UFIT?
I learned that I can’t adopt a myopic approach to fitness. It’s no longer a goal of losing a few pounds, a few inches, or being able to finally do that pull up. Fitness, to me, is now a lifelong journey. I’m very glad I restarted that journey with UFIT and continue to keep that New Year resolution I embarked on more than 5 years ago. Working out is just one aspect of it. Watching what I eat and drink is an even more significant part. UFIT gave me a significant jolt and insight into that when I signed up for my first Clean & Lean Challenge in 2014, and then again in 2016. In both challenges, I’m proud to report that I came in runner-up, and more importantly, learned what it takes to inculcate a healthy eating habit. However I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an incorrigible foodie and have a particular weakness for beers and wines.
How do you motivate yourself in the times when you didn’t feel like exercising?
Thankfully, I don’t need too much motivation as working out in the mornings has become entirely engrained in my lifestyle. If I miss a workout, it feels as if the day didn’t start quite right. The only times I need a bit more of a push is after a late night out. My hubby will give me a little kick to say that bootcamp is the best cure for a hangover - which is the whole truth…followed by a Bloody Mary.
Have you inspired friends and family to start being more physically active?
I like to believe I did. My husband is now a converted bootcamp fan. Our active lifestyle also rubbed off on my dad - he’s 82 this year and is able to walk/jog for around 10km daily. For his 80th birthday, we took him on his maiden rock-climbing experience, and he rang the bell at the top of the wall before a teenage kid next to him did!
What would you say to those who say they are too old/ too busy/ too injured to start exercising?
Life is too short for excuses. To my trainers – please don’t use this against me the next time I whine!
Bootcamp training is an intense mix of strength and cardio exercises designed to work your entire body within one hour. It requires little or no special equipment to get a heart-thumping workout. It is a great community workout that builds camaraderie while challenging your physical and mental limits. The best part is that you get to exercise outdoors in the fresh air amongst nature, where your bootcamp trainer leads a circuit of challenging workouts that vary according to the environment. UFIT Bootcamps is one of the pioneer bootcamp groups in Singapore, with thousands training with us since we started more than 8 years ago. Here’s what keeps UFIT Bootcampers coming back for more.
1. Beautiful outdoor locations close to you
Pick from various locations and classes at convenient timings. UFIT Bootcamps prides itself as the market leader. With 80 sessions weekly spread across 12 locations island-wide, you are always ensured a quality, butt-busting workout in a convenient outdoor location. See our full list of training locations here.
2. Big training variety
We offer a variety of bootcamp programs to suit every fitness level. The programs include FIT, FIT MAX, FIT Elite, HIIT FIT, Metcon, Obstacle Training, Yoga, Run FIT, and BOXFIT. With so many training programs to choose from, you can always look forward to an interesting and exciting training session!
3. Qualified coaches with infectious energy
We have the best coaches in the industry who are highly experienced in running group classes and guiding students of all fitness levels. Exercise variations are offered based on your fitness level, and safety is always placed above everything else. You will be challenged and inspired in every workout session to become fitter, leaner, and stronger. Check out our coaches’ profiles.
4. Training partners that motivate and inspire you
Even if you have the self-discipline to plan and do your own workouts, the dynamics and competition of a group bootcamp session will make you push that extra yard, and churn out that extra rep. We do our workouts together, and we leave no man behind. You may have seen our tribe sprinting through Fort Canning Park, or doing bear crawls in the East Coast Lagoon car park. It is always fun working out together. We've even affectionately named landmarks in Fort Canning Park – such as the “Black Hill”, where we sprint in the early mornings and evenings after work.
5. Strong supportive community
UFIT Bootcamps is more than just an exercise and training group. We are a close-knit community that has forged genuine, lasting relationships among the members and trainers. With members that have been with us since day one – and the pool still expanding, we are fortunate to continue a tradition of providing a supportive platform for everyone to pursue their fitness goals.
Not sure which bootcamp session you should try? Give us a shout and we can recommend a suitable class for you!
Michelle has been a familiar face within the UFIT Bootcamps and personal training community for the last couple of years. In the middle of last year, she suffered an unfortunate accident that ruptured her Achilles tendon and temporarily put her out of training. Initially Michelle could not train and had to relearn the mechanics of how to walk again. This is her story of how she regained her fitness routine with the support of the UFIT family.
"There was a mild state of shock at the time of the injury. I started the morning at a UFIT Metcon class, and by the afternoon of the same day, was in an operating theatre undergoing surgery to reattach my Achilles’ tendon. The injury had nothing to do with the class. I wasn’t doing anything complicated nor particularly strenuous, it was just horrible bad luck and timing. The CrossFit Bukit Timah crew quickly got me off the CrossFit floor, into a car and immediately to the hospital.
It was awesome to have the support of the team with my injury.
I hated not having the option to train but UFIT Orchard’s gym manager Nathan motivated me with text messages about returning to the gym in good time. UFIT Clinic's senior physiotherapist Declan immediately offered physio support and a friendly reminder to eat well.
The initial physiotherapy work was challenging psychologically. The exercises were basic compared to pre-injury, and that felt a little frustrating. Declan had to teach me the mechanics of how to walk. It might sound silly, but no one thinks about the mechanics of walking, it just seems to happen automatically. In Declan’s usual super patient manner, he broke down “the steps”, and after a few shared laughs I eventually got the hang of it.
A big part of the initial recovery was on keeping a positive mindset, as it would have been easy to slip into a mini bout of depression. It sounds dramatic, but having spent a great deal of time dedicated to physical activity and then to suddenly and unexpectedly have that taken away was difficult to accept. Anyone recovering from an injury hopefully understands what I mean.
What I appreciated about Declan was his belief in my physical capabilities beyond what I thought was possible, and his support to get me there. On multiple occasions during my recovery, he would suggest we try something new post-injury, like a box jump. My reaction would usually be a quizzical look in response. But I would take a deep breath, a huge leap of faith, and trust in Declan’s professional wisdom. The first box jump was pretty daunting, but he’s always proved to be right.
The rehab exercises have names such as the ‘Jane Fonda’ and the ‘Stevie Wonder'.
Declan (otherwise known to me as the ‘Achilles Whisperer’) kept things interesting and challenging. The rehab exercises were named the ‘Jane Fonda’ and the ‘Stevie Wonder’ – how could that not be interesting? In between sessions he would respond to my random recovery-related text messages, so there was no doubt about his commitment to the recovery process.
Three weeks after my surgery, I was cleared to go back to training at the gym. Training has always been part of my routine so I couldn’t wait to get back to it. It is fortunate, or unfortunate that I am stubborn and determined by nature.
Going back to training was only a matter of time.
Nathan and I had been training regularly for a couple of years prior to my injury, so I couldn’t wait to get back. He even offered to carry me down the stairs to UFIT Orchard to get me there! I was still wearing a protective boot and on crutches when I returned to the gym. It must have looked highly unusual to other clients, but I was determined to not let the injury get the better of me.
Nathan is amazing. He immediately adapted the workout to my physical progress. Given that I wason crutches initially, Nathan would move the equipment to physically surround me for circuit training, minimizing my “travel time” around the gym. We did a lot of upper body work and modified cardio exercises, such as battle ropes seated on a box.
Nathan was aware of my fitness ability before I got injured, and we trained with the goal of getting back to that level. He plans our sessions carefully so there is steady progress, and along the way there were short term goals we have continued to meet and reset. He pushes me with good natured encouragement and I never want to disappoint him. Our conversations between workout sets revolve around nutrition, the choice of workout music, or just sharing a good laugh. There is never a dull moment! With Nathan’s broad knowledge of fitness and nutrition, hardly a session goes by without him sharing a nugget of his wisdom.
We have reintroduced more complex movements back into my workout, slowly increasing weights to restore strength and stamina. Nathan and Declan stayed in contact about my recovery progress, so there is a consistent approach in both physiotherapy and strength work.
Prior to my injury, I also trained regularly at the East Coast UFIT Bootcamp, where the gang have become good friends. During rehab, the WhatsApp group chat became a motivation to return to Bootcamp. As soon as I was stable on my feet, I rejoined Boxfit. Being among the strong and sassy East Coast group continues to inspire (as well as entertain) me. Bootcamp trainers like Marcus have also been hugely supportive of my progress. Exercise variations are always offered to compensate for limitations – although it is no less challenging to do burpees in lieu of a run around the carpark!
The recovery process has been an emotional journey.
Doing more and more physically are milestones of progress. My goals now are to achieve a target weight for a deadlift and bench press that will get me on the gym whiteboard. Within the year, I also want to complete a 5 km race, and finish the certified program on sport and exercise nutrition. It’s a personal mission not to take my physical capabilities for granted. UFIT has been a huge part of the process and I couldn’t be more fortunate and grateful for support from the entire community – the staff and the fitness buffs. Its been tough, but also a great deal of fun. Thank you!"