Bootcamps

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  

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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17 UFIT highlights of 2017

And just like that, 2017 is done! We're excited about what the new year will bring - but just before moving on, can't help but reflect on what an amazing year 2017 has been.

There have been so many highlights and exciting developments over 2017 - far too many to mention - and here we've chosen just 17. 

We thank our wonderful community of clients, partners and friends for your amazing support and congratulations to all of you on reaching your personal goals and milestones over the year. We have loved working with you and are really excited about getting you Fitter, Leaner Stronger next year.  Stay tuned as we continue to pop up in exciting new places in SG and beyond!

Opening of UFIT Orchard gym, with UFIT's 50 staff

Opening of UFIT Orchard gym, with UFIT's 50 staff

Team UFIT dominates team events  

Team UFIT dominates team events  

Fitness Fest mass workout for 1,000s

Fitness Fest mass workout for 1,000s

England rugby pro Dan Norton coaches UFIT kids

England rugby pro Dan Norton coaches UFIT kids

Launch of UFIT Performance in Hong Kong and Vegas

Launch of UFIT Performance in Hong Kong and Vegas

The expansion of Bootcamps team WeFit

The expansion of Bootcamps team WeFit

UFIT  heavyweights at mass staff workout

UFIT  heavyweights at mass staff workout

Singapore's Fittest CrossFit PT Couple at UFIT

Singapore's Fittest CrossFit PT Couple at UFIT

UFIT appointed in-house LinkedIn gym provider

UFIT appointed in-house LinkedIn gym provider

Continuation of UFIT staff professional development

Continuation of UFIT staff professional development

Amazing personal milestones reached

Amazing personal milestones reached

Launch of Personal Training @ UFIT Tanjong Pagar 

Launch of Personal Training @ UFIT Tanjong Pagar 

UFIT Bootcamps wins Best Outdoor Class award

UFIT Bootcamps wins Best Outdoor Class award

UFIT Clinic awarded Asia's Best Rehab Facility award

UFIT Clinic awarded Asia's Best Rehab Facility award

UFIT Clinic opens 2nd branch at one-north

UFIT Clinic opens 2nd branch at one-north

UFIT Retreats welcome guys at Phuket Retreat

UFIT Retreats welcome guys at Phuket Retreat

And Mok and Maire our physios win half marathons 

And Mok and Maire our physios win half marathons 

And that's a wrap for 2017 -  now with nearly 100 staff.

And that's a wrap for 2017 -  now with nearly 100 staff.

Getting ripped in twelve months

We first met Christian Dally one year ago when he was over 98kg and about to start the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge. He won after losing 9% body fat, and a year later is totally ripped, super fit, his mind is sharper and he's never felt better in his life. We all think he's totally awesome.  

Nov 2016 - before the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

Nov 2016 - before the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

Dec 2016 - after the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

Dec 2016 - after the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge

Since finishing Clean & Lean we see him nearly every day at UFIT doing Bootcamps at Sentosa and Metcon at Bukit Timah, Personal Training at Amoy and CrossFit Tanjong Pagar. He's found a family of fabulous fit friends across UFIT, is well-known to our coaches and is an active Spartan participant.

This is what Christian looks like ten months after the Clean & Lean Challenge.

October 2017 - weighing 83kg (down from 98kg in Nov 2016)

October 2017 - weighing 83kg (down from 98kg in Nov 2016)

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October 2017 - pulling 220kg 

October 2017 - pulling 220kg 

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HOW DID CHRISTIAN DO IT? 

We asked Will Foden, his personal trainer.

"He came to me as an empty shell after finishing Clean & Lean and my job was to help him build muscle. He had to go to the extreme to get back to normal, and has now progressed beyond, taking things to new levels. He went from eating no carbs for months and now he's training almost daily and is back on carbs as he needs to be, and losing weight and getting stronger.

He was anxious about reintroducing carbs back into his diet. But after some time figuring out what works for him he can now go out on a Saturday night and eat well and enjoy a drink or two".

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OVER TO CHRISTIAN - WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER Clean & Lean?

"Initially I thought completing Clean & Lean was the ‘goal’ but in fact it was just the jump-start I needed to launch me on this amazing journey.

By the end of the C&L month I’d made such progress, and was absolutely loving the way I was beginning to feel, so continuing with the same nutrition plan was a no-brainer! Removing carbs from my diet had such a fundamentally positive effect, on not only my body but also my mind, bringing a much more stable level of energy and focus that it had by then become a foundation that sticks with me today".

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How has your diet changed since you finished Clean & Lean?

"For the first 9 months or so I stayed pretty much entirely ‘clean & lean’ (bar the occasional cheat meal), eventually though in consultation with Will I did decide to put a little carb back into my diet peri-exercise to allow me to work out harder and build more muscle mass now that I very low in body fat.  

It wasn’t easy psychologically - carbs were the ‘enemy’ for so long that it took significant bravery to reintroduce them, but the trust I have in the knowledgable supportive and experienced UFIT team helped me to get over this unexpected hurdle! And it worked - within weeks I was beginning to look and feel strong & I actually lost more body fat after introducing carbs again".

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How do the UFIT Bootcamps fit in?

"I started UFIT Bootcamps at the same time as C&L and a year later whilst I also do several PT sessions per week, they are still my ‘go-to’, they are available, challenging and fun.  

When I say ‘challenging’ - it doesn’t matter whether you’re fat and slow like I was at the beginning or one of the fittest people out there, everyone can challenge themself to the max, it's a supportive, non-judgmental environment where over the last year or so I’ve watched myself and others achieve levels of improvement we really didn’t expect.  

I love Bex’s FITMAX and HITFIT classes in Sentosa, and the community there is brilliant! Quite apart from giving the opportunity to workout with like-minded people, we’ve made some really great friends there. I've recently also been using Giles’ brilliant Metcon/ORT sessions on Sundays at Bukit Timah to prepare for my Spartan races.

It’s also great to have the option of a yoga session once in a while ... sunrise yoga at Sentosa Marina has to be the best way to start the day!

I attend 2-4 classes per week depending on how much PT/running I’m doing, which really depends on what event I’m training for next ..."

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Why did you start doing PT?

"Part of my prize for winning C&L was some PT sessions, I went in thinking I’d use them up and go back to my Bootcamps, yoga & running but wow the progress I made during those first few sessions was amazing. I use PT for mostly strength-based training and I love it.

Will is a fantastic trainer and coach, he has worked with me on both training and nutrition, building and flexing my programme in line with my progress and to help me set and achieve evolving goals. It’s always fresh, progressive and challenging".

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What are the major gains you have made with your pt?

"I wanted to get strong, but turning up for an hour pumping iron and going back to the office wouldn’t have done it for me.  Will worked hard with me to understand my goals, or rather to help form some goals.  By this point I had progressed so quickly with my fitness that I didn’t really know what my goals should be! I’m pretty sure he always had a longer term plan to make me strong and look strong but I didn’t know that I wanted that yet, my head was still stuck on being ‘fit’.

He built a really unthreatening progressive plan for me which he evolved/changed every 4 weeks or so - just as I am beginning to get comfortable - he switches it up!  It’s brilliant - always fresh, interesting and challenging - and I feel like I’d make progress in almost every session.

As time went by, he flexed my program to prepare me for upcoming events - spartan, half marathon, this photo shoot etc ..."

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"Right now we are working towards the Spartan Beast, 40 obstacles over 21km which requires both conditioning and upper body strength. I didn’t have to ask for it ... we know each other well enough that he knew what was next after the half marathon and magically my program changed to match.

Will also very gently helped me to amend my nutrition, encouraging me to try the reintroduction of some carbs to help with muscle building. He could see I was scared to do so (I didn’t want to put on weight/fat) he coached me through it, and it worked!  He knew I needed strict guidelines and support to be confident in eating more carbs & calories in general, so he set specific macro nutrition & calorie goals to match my training and help me to monitor and evaluate progress".

How have you found mixing both BootCamps and PT?

"Great - I really enjoy the Bootcamps, they fulfill my cardio and conditioning needs as well as being great fun. PT is more specific and the 1 to 1 coaching has allowed me to progress to a different level".

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What have your friends said about your physical changes? 

"When I see people I’ve not seen in the last 12 months or so, the reaction is hilarious ... people can't quite believe the transformation. To be honest, neither can I!

More importantly though, I’m more than likely going to live a little longer and in the meanwhile, I can be a much more better dad and husband with this new found energy and motivation! I also feel ‘sharper’ mentally - I’m sure this has helped me to progress my career over the last year more quickly than I may otherwise have".

How DO YOU FIT fitness and HEALTHY eatiNG into a busy life? 

"I’ve not really thought of it as integrating this into my life - it’s become a way of life. I just make better choices now, my second pair of shoes for work trips is a pair of trainers and I carry a bag of protein powder in my suitcase! I only made the mistake of repackaging it in little ziplock bags once after getting a few funny looks for airport security ...

Seriously though people around you get used to the small changes, more of our friends now are of the more active variety and some who used to be less so have been inspired to join the journey!"

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What’s next?

"Better, faster stronger! I’ve absolutely loved the Spartan races that I’ve competed in, I’ll have completed all three distances by the end of the year (with luck) and now I’d like to focus on being competitive in my age group. I’ll carry on with the UFIT Bootcamps and PT sessions and am adding some CrossFit - there’s a competitive edge to it and it’ll be great training for the adventure races. I can't quite believe I’m even thinking it (having never really run more than 5 or 10km a year ago) but maybe a marathon...not sure yet.

I’d like to find a way to give a little back to the UFIT community ... it’s given me so very much".

What's Will like as a coach? Any inside stories?

Yes, don’t tell anyone, but he really cares.  Broken nose, cauliflower ears and all, he’s an extremely knowledgeable, caring and committed coach, he really held my hand through the second part of this 12 month journey ... there were times when I wondered how he put up with all my stupid questions over WhatsApp at all hours of the day and night! He invests way beyond the 1, 2 or 3 hours a week we spend together, technically he’s great and he’s a good motivator but moreover he’s always well prepared and thoughtful, you don’t always get that.

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How ABOUT FROM WILL's PERSPECTIVE?

"We focussed on the basics. Then brought some intensity to it. I taught Christian to understand what food is, and what to eat post-workout, to be realistic it will take a year.

I understand Christian personally and know what drives him. We both believe that life's a challenge, and you have to work hard for what you want, and I didn't try to wrap him up. He comes to every session for a purpose - life is too short and you need to make it work.

What pushes Christian is him, rather than me. He told me "I need to do this" rather than "I want to". 

AND THE FINAL WORD - OVER TO BEX HIS BOOTCAMPS COACH

Rebecca Dickson his Sentosa Bootcamps Coach tells us: "I’m blown away by the transformation Christian has achieved over the last year. He’s got such remarkable drive, determination and commitment to want to achieve his health and fitness goals. He’s an integral part of the Sentosa bootcamp community with an infectious spirit, always encouraging other bootcamp members to train harder, but also have fun along the way.

He’s a true inspiration and just goes to show what can be achieved when you put your mind and heart to it, he just needs to work on his skipping :-) Looking forward to smashing some new goals with him over the next year ... next stop Spartan Beast Elite in December. Aroo!"

Photo credits: Melanie Lim, David Belmonte, Rebecca Dickson, Jacqui Browne 

YOUR HOLIDAY WORKOUT

Everyone needs a holiday, so how do you keep your fitness levels up whilst on holiday and not die at Bootcamp or your Personal Training when you come back?

Two of our coaches give their top five must-do, all-time classic exercises and Physiotherapy stretches for whether you are outdoors, in the gym or in your hotel room. 

OUTDOOR AND BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES

Marcus Fam, Head of UFIT Bootcamps

1. Lunges

Not only does working the legs expend more calories due to recruiting a higher amount of motor units, who doesn't want to have nice legs?

 Try incorporating lunges in sprint intervals as part of your active recovery. Always keep your chest and shoulders upright, and your spine in neutral while lunging. As with all resistance exercises, the focus should be on the muscles, not the joints. Perform to a full range of motion and avoid bouncing or jerking. If your legs are burning, congratulations, keep going!

 2. Sprints

Lots of bootcampers are ace runners, but for those who aren't keen to clock in 10km runs or more, give a go at sprinting. So we're not talking about aerobic running. Full on anaerobic sprints that leave you gasping for air and leave your legs jelly. Try 60m - 200m sprints. 8 sets, with no more than 3 minute rest periods. If you have a hill, spectacular, knock yourself out!

With the added benefit of building muscle along with speed, sprinting helps you build and define your glutes, hamstrings and quads, while at the same time burning off the fat layers that hide under the muscles. Sprint training is the most explosive training you can do.

 3. Burpees

There's a reason why bootcampers groan when they hear the sheer mention of the word. It's perhaps the most compound of exercises and combines a squat, push up, squat thrust & plyometric jump all in one. It’s great for cardiovascular fitness and strength training. Try doing 100 a day, throughout the day.  Nothing like having burpees for breakfast!

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 4. Push ups

This gets on the list not just because of its simplicity, but also because of the fact that it allows various degrees of intensity.

Always maintain a strong core and neutral lower back. Bring your chest to the ground and use your chest and triceps to push yourself off the ground. If you're strong enough, push the earth away from you. Also if you're upto it be brave and try some variations!

5. Mountain climbers

Another top exercise which hits various body parts, including the core. Try hitting a set of 20 reps immediately after push ups. Always maintain a neutral spine, and tight core throughout the exercise (hips should not be moving up and down).

A variation of this would be to draw the knee to the opposite elbow (left knee to right elbow, vice versa) for greater recruitment of the obliques.

If performed correctly, mountain climbers will not just get your core firing - but triceps, hip flexors and shoulder stabilisers smashed as well.

 

STRETCHES TO GET YOUR BODY MOVING

Maire, UFIT Clinic Physiotherapist

1. Hip rotations and lower back stretch

Lay on your back, put your arms out in a “T” position and bend both knees bent to 90’. Keeping knees and ankles together, gently rotate knees to one side and turn head to loot to the opposite side. Slowly de-rotate and repeat same stretch to the other side. Move slowly and with an exhale breath. Hold the stretch for 3-5 breaths and do 3 repetitions on each side.

2. Lower back stretch

This is a little more intense that the above stretch. Lay in the same position as above. But instead take one knee into your chest and then slowly rotate that knee across your body and over to the other side. Try to keep the opposite shoulder down. Hold this position for 3-5 breaths and repeat on the other side. Do 3 times on each side.

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3. Thoracic (mid-back) extensions

This stretch can be done over a foam roller if you’re flexible and over a rolled up towel if you’re a little stiffer.

  • Lay down on your back and palce the foam roller or rolled up towel behind you, around your mid-back (bra line for women and nipple line for men).

  • Place hands behind your head to support your head and gently tuck your chin.

  • Inhale to prepare and exhale to extend your mid-back over the foam roller or towel whilst maintaining your chin tuck.

  • If using the foam roller, then stay in this position for an inhale, then on your exhale gently curl back up using your abdominals into your starting position. And repeat this exercise 3 times at this spinal level.

  • But if using the rolled up towel, then stay in this extended position for at least 1 minute with arms rested on the floor and take nice big deep breaths. Then place hands behind head again and curl back up into a seated position.

4. Hip flexor stretch

  • Kneel on one knee on an exercise mat, or cushion if you’ve any knee problems.

  • Tuck your tailbone under as if tightening your butt.

  • Stretch up the same sided arm up to the sky and feel a stretch down through the front of the thigh and hip.

  • Hold for 3-5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.  

5. Glute stretch – seated

  • Sitting upright on your chair, cross your ankle over your opposite knee and pull close to your hip.

  • Straighten your back again and then lean forward into the stretch.

  • Hold for 3-5 breaths keeping back straight. Repeat on the other side.

And then of course, you can discover a new city by running around in it or pack your skipping rope and stretch band to get you moving even more.

Have a good one!

 

MIXING IT UP: WHY CROSS-TRAINING IS SO GOOD FOR YOU

You've done your favourite workouts regularly for years, and think you're in pretty good shape. But when a less athletic friend suggests you go skating along the east coast, you're shocked that you can't keep up.

By incorporating different styles of training into your workout routine - eg mixing bootcamps with some weight-based personal training in the gym and endurance activities such as running, you are setting yourself up to be an excellent all-rounder:

It keeps you motivated

No matter how much passion you have for one type of training, if you do it often enough or with excessive repetition it will become boring. Cross-training helps you maintain your enthusiasm whilst you train better and more consistently.

Anything you can do to increase your motivation to exercise is worth doing. For example, if you don’t feel like doing a MetCon session today, but would be perfectly happy doing a yoga session or just feel like some bodyweight work, then do a bootcamp instead! You'll end up better off than the person who is lacking motivation or does nothing at all.

You improve your whole body fitness

While professional athletic trainers used to believe it was important to work mostly on those muscles directly relating to a particular sport or activity, it is now known that cross training to engage other parts of the body and regenerate overused ones is a much better approach. All sorts of professional athletes, from rugby players to tennis players to swimmers include some kind of cross-training in their regime.

Also including a variety of activity into your routine ensures you will be more functionally active. For example, climbing stairs, bending down to pick up your child or taking the dog for a walk takes much less effort when you're balanced and functionally fit.

Injury Prevention

When we do the same training style repeatedly our body doesn't always get a chance to fully recover between sessions. For example, if you run a lot your ankles, knees, and lower back will take a beating and you should mix that up with strength work to get more out of your related muscle groups and take the pressure off your most vulnerable joints, muscles, and connective tissues.

If you’ve just completed a big race or event after a rigorous training program, doing a completely different style of training will allow your mind and body to have a break and any over-used muscles to rejuvenate.

Rehabilitation

When an overuse injury does develop, cross-training comes to the rescue by helping you maintain your fitness despite forcing you to correct the cause of the injury. So if you’re in the frustrating position of not being able to train as normal just yet, you can modify your training to maintain your fitness and keep your sanity intact. If you’ve injured your ankle at bootcamp you can work on getting that toned upper body you’ve always wanted in the gym with some weights, whilst you maintain your fitness with the ski-erg. You can do this with our without physiotherapy.

Active Recovery

It’s often forgotten that the most effective training includes rest and recovery. Periods of outright rest are obviously essential, but active-recovery workouts in your program can make you fitter and stronger than somebody who gets too much rest. This is particularly true if you are training more rigorously for a running or endurance event.

Enjoying other activities

The strong heart and good lungs you've gained as a bootcamp lover or CrossFitter could serve you equally well in cycling, cross-country skiing, and other endurance sports.

And at the same you can make new friends, have more fun and build your self-confidence while you try new things. You may even find your next new passion.

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Ways to cross-train with UFIT:

You don't need to go very far to keep your training interesting and fulfill your fitness and mobility needs. We've got it all right here!

1. Get stronger with weights at the gym or CrossFit

2. Enhance your fitness and endurance with Bootcamps or CrossFit

3. Energise, strengthen or mobilIse with physio-based PT or yoga.