Personal Training

Not all personal trainers are the same: 5 reasons that makes the difference

Not all personal trainers are the same: 5 reasons that makes the difference

Here are the top reasons why training with the right personal trainer can give you results beyond your expectations.

Turning your passion into a career

How the UFIT Bootcamps Coaching course helped Sophie start a new life in France

 When Sophie Jouan left Singapore in June 2017 to return to Paris after a 20 year stint abroad she had a lot of adjusting to do. “I was so sad to leave my great life in Singapore, I cried when my husband told me about his new job in France and I begged for weeks for us to stay because I didn’t want to leave my great bootcamp life and my SHEFIT friends”. 

Just by looking at Sophie you can see she's right into her fitness and she wondered where she'd find something that would fulfill her as much. "Our house is in a provincial area 50km away from Paris and it gets really cold and there’s no way you could train outside the way we did in Singapore". 

UFIT Bali Chickfitreat 2016

UFIT Bali Chickfitreat 2016

CrossFit Wanderlust workout during UFIT Bali Chickfitreat 

CrossFit Wanderlust workout during UFIT Bali Chickfitreat 

After looking at the local fitness scene she couldn’t find anything she liked as much as UFIT so turned her basement into a gym and started training herself.

Six months before she knew she was leaving Singapore, she did a UFIT Education Bootcamps Coaching course which gave her ACE Accreditation and all she needed to know about session programming, great form, and effective exercises that target all parts of the body. This PhD graduate in political science who had been a trailing spouse and full-time mum was now pursuing the career that she really loved.


While she didn’t know it then, that was going to set her up for her fabulous new business back home and the great new life she didn't think was possible when she left Singapore. 

"I created my own bootcamp sessions based on what I'd learnt from SHEFIT and the UFIT course", and after inviting a neighbour to join her she now has 17 clients just four months later. 

"To be honest, it's changed my life, I’m not depressed anymore! Funnily enough I don’t have a single French client! All the ladies are from the UK, US, Germany, India, Italiy and Brazil.... and they love my English!!! 


Here's a snapshot of Bootcamp@lelys:

  • I started September 2017 doing 3 classes a week
  • I have 17 clients, half come twice a week
  • I do a mix of cardio and strength with a lot of partner work
  • I try to put same energy and creativity as the UFIT team!

"It's a bit different to UFIT as the classes are smaller and have been indoors the last three months, and it's really challenging to create 3 different classes every week but I love it!

The UFIT Bootcamp Coaching course gave me knowledge, confidence and motivation to open my own club! Like UFIT, we are not only Bootcamp partners, we are friends. We enjoy training and drinking! I’m proud to have built a nice group".


"I do the classes with my clients to push them. So I need to be on fire every day!!! And it’s challenging. I train with my clients 3 times a week and 3 times on my own. I really deserve a day off! But I really love it and am so much happier now".

Many of us will remember the ultra fit and fabulous Sophie with her charming French accent and great laugh was a frequent UFIT Bootcamper who trained with our SheFit community in the Botanic Gardens, Sentosa Cove and the Beach six times per week, and also did Spartan races and the Bali Chickfitreat with her UFIT friends.

If you've ever in the Chantilly region of France and need a friendly dose of UFIT whilst you're there - now you know that Bootcamps@Lelys is the place to go! 


 If you're a well-qualified, experienced fitness coach living UFIT's values and would like to set up a UFIT Bootcamps franchise overseas with us, send us an email to find out more.  

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 triathlon ready

Triathletes face the daunting challenge of training for three disciplines - swimming, cycling and running. To do well they need to master all three forms of exercise and use all major muscle groups effectively in a single race.  

And after all that swimming, cycling and running training, a fourth element, strength training places the triathlete at a huge advantage. It makes their entire movement system stronger to make them a better all-round athlete - faster for longer and more powerful - whilst reducing fatigue and injury as they race their way around the course. 

This worked well for Gavin Mortlock, who has done strength training for the past four years with UFIT Orchard Personal Trainer Nathan Williams  to prepare him for his busy triathlon schedule. Gavin has scored podium places at all his events this year and qualified for major international championships. We asked him to tell us more about his personal training and how he did it ...

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What led you to training at UFIT?

I asked an old football teammate (Darren Blakeley) for advice when I injured my back some 4 years ago. He recommended the UFIT physio Stephen Greenan, who in turn recommended I do Personal Training with Nathan post the initial treatment to focus strengthening for injury prevention.

How has Nathan helped you prepare for your training, races and recovery? 

Nathan and I discuss what races are coming up, what we need to focus on for injury prevention and how to augment the triathlon specific training I do (swim, run, bike). We build some periodisation into the training to match race schedules and mix up the exercises based on what training I am doing outside the gym.

I really appreciate the thought he puts into the personal training he has me do and working with him every week for 4 years means that he understands how I respond to sessions and therefore how to tailor the training.


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How do you prepare physically for your races?

I leave the thinking around this to the professionals. I have a triathlon coach who is based in Australia. He sets me a program to follow that we discuss weekly. Each session is recorded and future session adjusted based on the data. I find being accountable to someone for completing the program they set, and being able to discuss training, nutrition and racing with a pro, really useful. He also adjusts my sessions based on travel commitments and helps set realistic goals and expectations.

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How have you balanced your strength training with Nath with ALL the running / cycling / swimming?

There are two main things we do:

  1. Nathan pointed out to me that triathlon training was all straight-line focussed – so in our personal training we do the opposite and focus on torsional strength and stability. Sounds counterintuitive but the logic is that being stronger through a range of motion means that I am able to hold a static cycling and running position far better
  2. Nathan has added in high intensity & weight/low volume exercises to help build strength without the fatigue associated with higher reps.  For example he has me on the aerodyne bike (chunder bike) or the sled at the end of each session. Nathan referred me to research that highly recommends adding high intensity/weight training into the program because muscle loss and reduced bone density rates increase with age. Both of these are best addressed through high intensity and weights rather than long, slow training.
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Training is a physical challenge, racing is a mental challenge. 70.3 races last around 5 hours so you have plenty of time to find yourself in dark places, and time to come out of them too. The training I do with Nathan at UFIT is all about building confidence through preparation. Being fit, strong and injury free is the best way to establish the confidence to perform.
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Confidence is established by doing the personal training with Nathan, because knowing I have done the work provides the confidence that I will race well. If I am  anxious I will go back and review how much training I have done, even comparing it to previous races.

Goals is about setting realistic expectations based off the training. I keep this simple and limited to one or two things and my goals focus on the process not on the result. For example my running is weaker than my bike or swim so my goal for the run is to start with good form, build into the run managing my pace, then try and get “lost” in the zone – in other words don’t think, just relax.  I keep cycling through this mantra of Form/Pace/Zone throughout the run. This means I focus on the process, letting the result take care of itself.

Composure means not rushing and being able to adapt to changing circumstances – DON’T PANIC!  If I drop a water bottle, think my way through the impact and what I can do. This might mean backing off the pace to limit dehydration. Being composed to me is being calm. I use a simple (perhaps silly) trick if I feel this slipping away – I smile (a genuine smile, not a grimace, gritted teeth smile) then my head lifts, my shoulders relax and I actually think more clearly and I am more composed.

What do you enjoy most about your training with Nath?

Turning up at 6am every Wednesday ready to go for 4 years takes a huge commitment from both client and trainer – Nathan gets it, and is always well prepared. His commitment provides me the necessary incentive not be late, or miss a session, or just go through the motions once I am there. I would never be as efficient or effective training on my own, Nathan’s knowledge, expertise and commitment means the results I get from training are worth far more than the cost of a personal trainer.

What’s coming up next after such a huge racing year? How do you keep going between race break periods?

Break periods???  I’ve discovered through painful experience that I need to train consistently rather than take a break and start up again.  I may adjust intensity or frequency, but I need to maintain consistency across all disciplines even when not racing.  The reality is that training for triathlons if often far more enjoyable than racing them, racing hurts!  Not having a race coming up means I can train with a “just go out and have fun” approach rather than completing the session with a focus on the goal of the session.  That in itself is a break.

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How do you fit all this PERSONAL training and racing in with a busy life? 

I train mainly in the mornings on week days as I can control the time I start work much better than the time the work day ends. This takes some discipline to establish the routine, but once it is a routine it is easier to maintain.

I have a “low family commitment environment” each weekend as my wife, son, dog, etc live in Sydney. This has its pros and cons obviously, but allows me some quality training time on the weekends. My wife is an exercise physiologist and is incredibly supportive, although I do wonder if it is because she knows the more training I do the less chance there is that I am out on the lash.

Is there anything about Nathan that surprised you or you would like to share with us?

A lot that surprised me and nothing I can share.

And over to Gavin's trainer Nathan WILLIAMS:

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Training Gav for the past three to four years has been an awesome experience for me. It's great for me to work with such a fantastic masters athlete - and Gav doesn’t look a day over 54!

As he mentioned, 6am every Wednesday we have both turned up consistently to work towards small, steady goals. During this period, I've learned a lot about the art of Triathlon and tried to apply as much of my knowledge of relevant strength and mobility training into each training program.

Firstly, the injury prevention focus worked well and that allowed us to really move forward with increasing strength, particularly in the lower body and posterior chain. We have spent a lot of time on bodyweight mastery and I believe warming up every session with exercises like strict chin ups, L-sits, handstands, pistols squats and bridges have been paramount to building a solid base and are an important part of his training.

Gav has great knowledge of his body and how it responds to every training scenario and that has allowed us to continually improve without any clear side or backward steps. His results for 2017 were phenomenal (4 wins and 2 second places) and I must admit I’m quite proud each time I get a text from him after each race weekend because I know I’ve contributed a small piece to that result and I look forward to the successes in 2018.

From surgery to CrossFit in six months

In May 2017 James Metcalfe slipped in his condo carpark and shattered his elbow. It needed surgery and for two whole weeks he couldn't move his arm at all. He sought help from UFIT Clinic physio Paul Doohan - and fast forward six months does Personal Training with Melanie Lim at UFIT Tanjong Pagar three times per week.

Before that he had never stepped foot inside a gym before, and is now flawlessly lifting and doing sled pulls each session, and has complete use of his elbow and arm again. Thanks to Mel's advice he has also cut back on his beers and is losing weight and getting fitter and stronger every day.

Find out how he got back on the mend so quickly ...  

What was your injury and what did you do about it? 

I shattered my elbow. I got a spiral fracture of the radial head, dislocated elbow joint and tore all of the ligaments and tendons connecting to my bicep and tricep. 


I was referred to Paul by an ex-UFIT employee who I know socially. She initially passed me to Declan who I saw twice before he went off on his one-north adventure leaving me in Paul’s hands.

How often did you see PAUL and were you able to train much then?

I saw Paul once a week every week for six months. I was totally unable to train at the beginning, I couldn’t move my left hand or arm at any angle. That progressed to picking up a simple day to day object, to developing the flexion and extention to being able to feed myself with that arm’s hand and doing up my buttons on a shirt which was a good test of progress. An extra button a week!

This built up slowly over a couple of months and I was then able to lift a light dumbell which is when I asked if he could refer me to a trainer and that's how I found Mel.  

What kind of rehab did you have?

The painful but quick kind. It was really a combination of many things, the technical terms you will have to ask Paul. From shocking the bicep muscle with electro pads at the beginning of each session to making them remember they were still there, and they were needed for the bottom half of my arm to work, through to massaging the joint and lots and lots of Paul distracting me with talking about the Premier League while pushing, pulling and increasing my range of motion.


What have you enjoyed most about doing rehab with Paul?

He communicates directly like me, was sympathetic to the pain I was going through both physically and mentally, and is very obviously knowledgable in his field and I trusted him. We both played sport and both getting married within a couple of months of each other so time during the sessions went quickly. Beyond liking Paul as a bloke, he got results and quickly, so going back for the next session never felt like a trial. 

How is your training now? 

It's great! I train with Melanie Lim at UFIT Tanjong Pagar and haven't felt this physically fit in the four years that I have lived in Asia, and I could not have imagined training like this six months ago immediately after the accident. Mel kicks my ass three times a week at CFTP, but she does more than just make me sweat, she encourages me to believe in the power of the mind and that with self discipline and self belief so much is possible. 


I’m so grateful to everyone that I have met, both at the Clinic and CFTP. For picking me off the ground seven months ago as a broken man, both mentally and physically, for telling me it’s going to be OK and giving me that adult cuddle that I needed, and equally for getting me fit, pushing me to do better and giving me a huge smile walking (lungeing & squatting more like), into getting married next month and finishing what has been a crazy year as a very happy man. 


Let's hear it from PAUL THE physio ...

Paul Doohan, James' UFIT Clinic physio adds: "James had a pretty complex elbow fracture, after an accident in his condo. He was struggling a lot after his surgery, as he was unable to even button his shirts due to his pain and stiffness. This affected his activities of daily living massively. 

For a condition of this nature, the first thing we needed to do was to make James trust his elbow again. As an area of the body that is heavily innervated (remember hitting your funny bone?), an injury of this magnitude meant the whole arm was highly sensitive. Naturally patients like James are very protective of the fractured area, but very quickly this overprotection can cause more issues. Helping James move his arm and regain his strength wasn’t the difficult part, it was helping him trust his arm to allow him to do a press up, or catch a cup that was falling. 

When you have something that affects your life as much as James’ injury did, it was vitally important that we were on the same page from day one. He responded very well to his initial treatment, and was always diligent with the tasks I asked him to complete in his own time.

We set small goals, for instance monitoring how many buttons he could fasten on his shirt, to demonstrate the improvements he was making. Eventually, we got a position where we both agreed that he no longer needed to come, as he had met the goals he outlined when we started.

That handshake of a patient who has come such a long way is one of the most rewarding moments as a physiotherapist, and I was very pleased when that day came.

For James, having a patient with an honest and strong work ethic made my job a lot easier. I was able to provide the framework and knowledge on how he was going to get better, but it was his attitude in doing the at times monotonous work that means he has made such a good recovery. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with James, and I can only see him continuing going from strength to strength.

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“Working with James has been an absolute joy - he’s hardworking, patient and inquisitive. I’m grateful for the trust he’s put in us as a team - together, our goal is continue to help him lose body fat, while rehabbing the injured elbow as much as possible.  

We believe in the importance of balance - loving what we do, and achieving results simultaneously. In the lead up to his wedding, we’ve progressed from static/isometric exercises in the trunk, to adding eccentric work and finally now, we are doing concentric exercises like squatting and bench pressing. A huge feat considering just months ago, he was in a sling! 

On Fridays, we do strongman training - anything from harnessed bear crawls, sled pushes, rope pulls. Due to his injury, we have had to be creative about programming work that may cause structural damage. Much of the hours James have put in are boring, cyclical aerobic work that the general population would not deem exciting - but it is his dedication to the goal, and positivity that keeps us on track. 

I've recommended some changes to his diet, including cutting out beers and tracking his meals. We are seeing the weight fall off, and his body composition change dramatically. Our secret goal is to get James to support his own bodyweight in a plank by the end of the year, and move up to push-ups.

Training James has thought me so much about the power of keeping a positive and growth-oriented mindset, regardless of the circumstance. He’s one of a kind."


His determination and willpower is fantastic and will see him get the results he wants.

JAMES' dream team: his physio and personal trainer

Paul Doohan   is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, and has extensive experience in professional sport, private physiotherapy and in the public hospital sector. Possessing certification with the Titleist Performance Institute, Paul specialises in the assessment and treatment of golfers, delivering effective results in injury management and prevention, as well as performance improvement.

Paul Doohan is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, and has extensive experience in professional sport, private physiotherapy and in the public hospital sector. Possessing certification with the Titleist Performance Institute, Paul specialises in the assessment and treatment of golfers, delivering effective results in injury management and prevention, as well as performance improvement.

Melanie Lim   is a certified CrossFit coach and personal trainer, accumulating over 200 hours of coaching in various landscapes in Asia.  She has experience building boxes and communities around the common goal of achieving fitness, and finds motivation in seeing her clients desire and pursue change aggressively.  

Melanie Lim is a certified CrossFit coach and personal trainer, accumulating over 200 hours of coaching in various landscapes in Asia.

She has experience building boxes and communities around the common goal of achieving fitness, and finds motivation in seeing her clients desire and pursue change aggressively.