UFIT SINGAPORE

Why Fitness is More Fun with a Friend!

One fool-proof way to keep yourself engaged with your workout is to pair up with someone! Just imagine…it’s 5.30am, it’s dark outside and there’s a light rain pattering against the window. All you want to do is stay lying in your comfortable bed, roll over and go back to sleep. But you’ve promised your friend you’ll join them at that new bootcamp this morning. You can’t let them down, can you? So up you get, get dressed and head out to meet your friend.

Now, imagine you didn’t have that friend you were going to meet, how much easier would it have been to just roll over and go back to sleep, just put it off until tomorrow. Tomorrow it’ll be so much easier. And then tomorrow never comes.

This is just one reason why your fitness journey is better and more successful with a friend. Here are four more reasons!

1. Accountability and Support from Others

Having accountability and a social support network are two of the biggest factors that lead to a successful lifestyle change. Knowing you have made a promise to someone else will make you much more likely to follow through and not bail on that bootcamp session. 

The importance of a social support network can easily be seen if you have ever taken part in one of our Clean & Lean Challenges. The support offered within the Facebook group, at the bootcamps and seminars is second to none. Having people around you who are going through the same experience is a great way to stay on track with whatever task you have set yourself.

2. Have Fun and Push Harder

The support doesn’t stop there. Once you are actually at a class, you now have a partner in crime to sweat with and suffer through anything that our coaches can throw at you. Bring a friend along and see how much harder you can push yourself. Working out together is a great way to strengthen any friendship, and gives you something new to discuss when going for that coffee afterwards.

3. Meet New People and Make New Fitness Friends!

Bootcamps are also a great way to make new friends. Get chatting to those sweating around you and before you know it, you might have some great new friends who share similar interests and you can push each other harder each session. 

Exercise is also so much more fun when you have friends to share the experience with! I know from personal experience that training alongside friends just adds another level of enjoyment to the whole experience and you end up working twice as hard with people around you than you would on your own.

4. Train Together, Stay Together

Why not bring your significant other along! Research shows that those who train together, really do stay together! Working out together can strengthen your relationship and enhance sexual attraction! If that’s not a good enough reason to get your partner along, I don’t know what is!

So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend you think would enjoy our UFIT Bootcamps, drop an email to bootcamps@ufit.com.sg and get them signed up to their first class! We hope to see you and your friends at a session soon!


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robynne Smith.jpg

Robynne's passion lies in strength training, conditioning and nutrition. Robynne is a competitive power lifter, currently holding 3 national records in Singapore and aims to build on her own experiences of training when training others. 

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Why do Powerlifting by Robynne Smith

In August 2015, someone made a comment to me which has changed my outlook on training ever since. Up until that point, fitness to me was something I did for fun but with the goals purely being to lose fat, get leaner and just be generally all round fit but with no real performance goals. As a result of this comment, I decided to investigate powerlifting.

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a sport that involves lifting as much weight as possible in three lifts: the back squat, bench press and deadlift. There are two types of powerlifting: equipped, which, as the name suggests, uses more equipment to help you lift as much as possible; and unequipped or classic, which involves minimal equipment. I compete in classic lifting.

Powerlifting is a weight-class based sport, just like Olympic Weightlifting. You compete directly against the lifters in your weight class for who can achieve the highest total weight lifted. A best overall lifter is also awarded, using a ratio between your body weight and total weight lifted.

My Experience

Following a move to Singapore in September 2015 to pursue my Masters degree, I decided I needed to find a coach who could help me get into, and learn more about, powerlifting. Enter UFIT. I started training at the newly opened one-north studio with Tom Clarke. I don’t think he knew quite what he was letting himself in for at the time! After our first few sessions, we decided it would be best if I had a specific goal and therefore found a competition to enter. This would also give me the opportunity to discover if I even enjoyed competing. So together, we worked towards my first meet, which due to recurring knee issues, was a Push-Pull (Bench press and Deadlift only) meet in KL. Tom was meant to be accompanying me to this meet, however, thanks to the wonders of Air Asia his flight got cancelled so there I was heading off to my first competition with no coach and no support, in the back of beyond, in KL. It was an incredibly long and stressful day culminating in a slightly disappointing bench score, a PB in the deadlift and a bronze medal.

Fast forward to April 2016, and I had set Tom the joyous task of preparing me for not just one, but two powerlifting meets in as many weeks, followed by a CrossFit competition, Asia Championships. The first meet was back up in KL, this time successfully accompanied by Tom, and was a much more enjoyable experience, hitting PBs in all three lifts and finishing as the second best female lifter. The second, the School Yard Classic in Singapore, went about as well. Although I only hit a slightly lighter squat, I succeeded in setting the bench, deadlift and total records for my weight class in Singapore. I also finished as the best female lifter overall, my first competition win!

A week later however, due to an e-scooter accident, I ripped the cartilage in my left knee and was sentenced to crutches for 2 months.

During this time, I cannot say enough how much training at UFIT and being coached by Tom kept me sane and on track. While being on crutches shrunk my left leg dramatically, it did wonders for my upper body strength and within about 2 weeks of being allowed to apply force through the leg again, I had broken my previous best bench press by 5kg!

So, to the present day. After 6 months of focussing purely on protection and rehabilitation, I was more than ready to start having another competition to train for. I am now 1 week out from meet day and cannot wait to step back onto the platform, but the prep hasn’t been without its ups and downs. 

Getting Competition Ready

Dropping Weight

As powerlifting is a weight-class based sport, it is necessary to achieve a specific weight on meet day. With weigh-ins being 2 hours before your first lift, and with still being a fairly novice lifter, I want to be happy that I can hit weight a week or so out from competition so I don’t have to stress about water manipulation and so forth. This has meant that since January, while training to increase strength, I have also been trying to drop weight. To do so, I have to carefully track what I eat to ensure that I am fuelled for my training sessions but still in an energy deficit to facilitate that weight loss.

Training

As for training, I am still working with Tom, although remotely, to keep my training as focused as possible. Training includes hitting each of the three competition lifts about twice a week followed by accessory work.  To start, training includes higher volume, up to 10 sets, and more accessory work. As training progresses, volume is decreased while intensity increases and accessory work is reduced. Sessions can easily take up to 2 hours, with an hour alone being spent on the main lifts, inclusive of warming up to the working weight. Rest between sets is also an important factor in strength training, hence the length of the sessions. 

Why do I do it?

Powerlifting gives purpose to my training beyond just training for training’s sake. I am someone who wants to be good at everything, and when I see something I can’t do I want to learn how to do it. Having set goals and a set timeframe, gives me the focus I need to stick to a program and not get distracted by each new, cool technique I discover. I have days when I can’t be bothered and everything just feels super heavy, but I know I need to get the work done. I have days where I want to eat everything in sight, but knowing I have to hit a certain weight helps me to keep controlled, most of the time! Valuing the long term goal over the short term pleasure has been the biggest learning curve during this prep. Sure, I’ve slipped up. I’ve had that piece of cake or cookie but then the next meal I’m back on the plan and I don’t fret about it. I find it much easier to stay on track when I have a definite time line and goal than when I just used to have vague thoughts of “I want to get fit and get abs”!

Finally, getting stronger and seeing my body change through the training cycles has changed me in ways I never could have imagined. I am so much more confident than I ever used to be. I believe in myself and it is much more about what my body can do rather than what it looks like that is important to me. My advice to everyone would be find something you love to do, and then set yourself some goals to keep you on track. Whether that is to run a 5K or a marathon, participate in the CrossFit Open, go for the prize in the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge or something else entirely, find what motivates you, it really does make all the difference!

If you are interested in what a powerlifting meet involves, how it runs or just how much some of the people there can lift, please feel free to come along and watch the Singapore Powerlifting Open at HomeTeam NS Multipurpose Hall on 1-2 April, admission is free. More details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1835334903380959/ and I will be competing from 2.30pm on 2nd April

Oh sugar! How cauliflower became our third best friend with UFIT's Clean & Lean Challenge

Our amazing dynamic duo Mike Thornton and Trine Kaehler took on the Clean & Lean Challenge in January as a couple to give each other the motivation to stick to the program and avoid any temptations. Hear more about their journey of the four weeks right here. 

 Why UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge?

For both of us, coming off the back of a strong festive season, neither was happy with how we looked in the mirror and we knew it was time to make a change. Mike had undertaken the first C&L challenge back in 2013 and achieved good results so we thought it would be a fun challenge to do by starting off 2017 in the right way and also allowing us to spend more time together in an otherwise busy working schedule. Both of us had our goals in mind however achieving them would take serious commitment!

Week 1: Oh Sugar!

After the first seminar (which are excellent and very informative) and with the same excitement as a kid on their last day of school, we rushed to place a food order containing all the ingredients on the approved menu. Lunch was already planned out, as we are both working full time, Trine would get a salad from the closest Salad Stop every day and myself lunch from The Daily Cut. The tough part was making a food plan for the week (breakfast and dinner) and think out of our old routine. Eggs and cauliflower became our best friend – cauliflower bread, cauliflower fried rice, steamed cauliflower, roasted cauliflower (you name it). We both experienced dips in the first week due to the sugar withdrawal from our diets, Trine’s was immediate while mine (Mike’s) took some time to work in before crashing hard after a 5 a-side football game. Nevertheless, we powered through with the support of the C&L Facebook group. In week 1 we found out how much sugar we had actually been eating before and that there is a massive amount of meals you can make with limited ingredients

Week 2: Carrot-Gate

With the hardest part, over, we looked forward to the reintroduction of new items to the food menu for Week 2. Without giving away too much information, the reintroduction of carrots to the diet made life much easier…it really is the little things! We noticed that Trine was definitely experiencing a pop in energy in the mornings while myself…. well let’s just say on the 5th alarm I at least acknowledged it. We had both been pushing hard in the first half of the C&L, Trine with her Yoga and PT classes (thanks Wendy!) and myself with lunch time workouts and football. By the end of Week 2 we started to see the first signs of changes to our bodies which was exciting and gave us the motivation to keep going.

Week 3: It’s a complex situation, don’t lose your nut!

After pushing so hard in the first 14 days of the challenge it was inevitable that we would reach a burn out / plateau period at some point in the challenge and for both of us, this was week 3. We found ourselves sticking mainly to the Week 1 and 2 diet plan mainly due to our attempts at adding Week 3 foods into our diet plan had made portion control difficult, something Trine is much better at controlling than myself. Nevertheless, on the workout front we continued to do what we could when we could, a highlight of our days being our evening walks around Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay which kept the clock ticking over while allowing us to clear our minds, evaluate on the day and to discuss what to cook for the next day…. Planning is the key to make C&L a success!

Week 4: Cross the finish line and say cheese!

The final week saw both of us making a big push for the finish line with the intensity of our daily workouts ramped up as the date of our weight out came closer. The introduction of cheese in week four had severely thrown a spanner in the works however apart from a homemade pizza utilising cauliflower crust (this challenge is impossible without cauliflower!!) we did our best to stay away from our favourite snack.

The Weigh Out

Saturday, 11th February, 8:30AM – D-DAY. With the standard “good luck” comments out of the way in our own time we stepped onto the scales…

Trines results:
Weight: 2.6kg
Body Fat: 5.9%

Mikes results:
Weight: 7.4kg
Body Fat: 4.7%

 

Should you do C&L?

That is a question you are probably asking yourself right now, in short, it depends very much on what you are looking to get out of a four-week diet plan. In our opinion the best way to approach it is to view the C&L as the kick start you need to change your lifestyle habits and not simply as an isolated course, this helps you to keep on the straight and narrow when times are tough. Yes, you will experience headaches, tiredness, nausea and dizziness (am I still selling it to you?) from time to time but once you battle through these short-term difficulties the change to your diet and lifestyle will provide huge upside potential. It doesn’t matter if you are 28 or 58 years old, 50kg or 130kg, each person is on this challenge for their own reasons and the coming together of complete strangers into a supportive community network where you make new friends and change for the positive is worth the admission cost alone.

A huge thank you from both of us to Wendy, Noa and the rest of the UFIT Clean and Lean brigade, these guys put in a HUGE amount of work over the four week period to provide support, assistance and in general “feel good vibes” to everyone on the journey in addition to their already busy lives and it simply would not have been the same without them.

Now, if you are still reading this; get online, get signed up and best of luck in your own C&L challenge – we look forward to reading the next persons story.

Mike & Trine


UFIT CLEAN & LEAN CHALLENGE

The 2017 Clean & Lean sessions are happening on March 11 – April 8 (4 weeks), May 20 – June 17 (4 weeks), September 2 – 30 (4 weeks), November 4 – 25 (4 weeks).

UFIT is Singapore’s largest independent fitness community that offers a 360 approach to health and fitness island wide. For more information, visit our website.

 

"The first weight loss program I've managed to stick too," UFIT's Clean & Lean Challenge

Jacqui Young from Expat Living discover Clean & Lean benefits and how the rapport and community kept her strong and going for the whole four weeks. 

For years now I had struggled with the usual on and off latest diet fads, starvation periods and bouts of extreme exercise, all in an effort to lose the weight that I had seemed to collect over the last few years. 

I had heard through the grapevine about UFIT’s Clean and Lean program and thought of giving it a try. I toyed with the choice of program dates for 2017 thinking I can't do this one and can't do that one, and in the end, I thought no time is ever a good time and before I knew it, I was jumping straight in and enrolling to start the following day. If I didn't do it then I thought, I never will. Apprehensive, I embarked on my journey with my initial weigh in at UFIT's brand new gym just off Orchard Road before having my last latte in the nearby Starbucks and then joining my 270 comrades for my first Saturday morning seminar. The place was packed and there was an amazing atmosphere with everyone being supercharged for the upcoming challenge. 

The UFIT Clean and Lean program is about resetting your body and teaching you to have a cleaner, healthier and sustainable lifestyle and maintaining it after the program ends. For four weeks, you embark on a journey of a mainly green diet which eliminates processed foods and sugars. It’s incredibly easy to follow as it just involves cutting out the highly-processed sugars and eating healthier. There are no set recipes as such, but you do have the ideas from the cookbook that is supplied in a link at the start of the program. Some foods will be slowly reintroduced during the four week period normally after the weekly seminar which explains different topics along with the reasoning behind what’s being added. There is also access to a Clean and Lean Facebook community page site for all participants to share tips, ideas, recipes, or just to have a general vent if needed. There are also four bootcamp sessions are also given as part of the package which can be booked via a handy app for which all participants are given access. With over 80 classes a week, it’s easy to find a time and day that suits. There is an amazing support network of nutritionists and fitness experts, some of whom are also doing the program too for support. 

It is an actual challenge, and the winning male and female who lose the most body fat win an exclusive health and wellness package from UFIT and their partners. For me, it was more about resetting my eating habits and losing a few kgs. 

The four weeks passed quickly, and I was actually sad it was ending as it was so amazing having the support of so many people who were also participating. I was amazed at the results of my weigh in last week. 5kgs down on my weight, just over 5% body fat lost, and a good 5cms went from both my hips and waist. I was a very happy bunny! This four weeks has given me some great insight into changes that I made in my diet that I will have no problems sticking to. I’m not saying I won't ever eat a carb again or never drink a glass of wine (or five), but I’m definitely more in tune with balancing things out now. I’m even thinking of joining the next one in March now.

$159 + GST includes......

  • 4 x nutrition seminars 
  • A weigh in at the start, and weigh out at the end of the 4 weeks
  • 4 x bootcamp sessions to use at your leisure which can be booked via a handy app
  • Access to the 'Clean and Lean' cookbook with tasty recipes
  • Access to the Facebook site to support, share tips, stories and recipes

Program will run throughout 2017, and the dates can be found here. http://www.ufit.com.sg/clean-and-lean/  The next program will start on 11th March – 8th April.


THE UFIT CLEAN & LEAN CHALLENGE

The 2017 Clean & Lean sessions are happening on March 11 – April 8 (4 weeks), May 20 – June 17 (4 weeks), September 2 – 30 (4 weeks), November 4 – 25 (4 weeks).

UFIT is Singapore’s largest independent fitness community that offers a 360 approach to health and fitness island wide. For more information, visit our website.

Why running is the best sport in the world

“The real purpose of running is not to win a race; it’s to test the limits of the human heart.” This is how American track and field and co-founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman, described why we run. 

What an outstanding description of a sport that sees over 16 million Americans doing at least three times a week! Running is the fastest growing sport over the last decade with an increase of 300% in participation noted since 1990 in the US alone. Within this statistic we see the greatest increase in female runners where 25% of all runners were females in 1990, compared to 57% being recorded as female runners in 2013.

But what is behind this phenomenon? Why are people, and females in particular, falling in love with a sport that historically has been hated.

Why? Because running is an addiction, often a love/hate addiction, but a highly empowering and freeing addiction. We often hear people describe how they “caught the running bug” and that’s exactly what they are talking about. Once you find running, it becomes your stress reliever, your fitness regime, your “me time”, your obsession and your passion. This is why runners call themselves “runners.” They see themselves defined by their sport, unlike most other sportspeople who play a sport, we (runners) are our sport.

Having said this though, most runners fall into running, they don’t necessarily choose running as their main sport. I don’t think young athletes look at professional middle distance runners with dreams of aspiration, when compared to premiership footballers, swimmers or tennis players. So it is often by chance that most middle distance runners find themselves addicted to running, myself included.

I was always an active child running around, and growing up with 5 older brothers made sure I was able to run (away) fast. I started playing Irish sports in school, as most Irish children do, but not loving any particular one. This saw me embark on high school with no involvement in any organised sport which a teenage girl is probably the worst position to be in. So many changes are going on inside a teenage girl in terms of emotional and physical changes that I needed an active outlet. So at the age of 15 I simply fell into running because two girlfriends were keen to run for fitness. We then campaigned to our school to allow to employ an athletics coach and the rest is history. My love for running just grew and grew the more I ran, it wasn’t planned nor was it an aspiration of mine, but now I could not imagine my life without running.

As my love for the sport grew, as did my running success. Racing and competing became my drug. Even to this day, the adrenaline rush and natural serotonin high that I get from racing is like nothing else. It is this high that is addictive and makes me want to run again and again, even sometimes foolishly through pain. This is why running is such a rapidly growing sport, this natural high and sense of empowerment, freedom and adventure is hard to find elsewhere. You are in control of it, you can run as fast, as slow, as hard or as long as you want. It is just you, your thoughts and the road.

As they say, success begets success, and this is very applicable to running. Once you race or compete for the first time you then strive to beat your personal best time/placing and this is never ending. That’s what I believe Bill Bowerman meant when he described the purpose of running as testing the limits of the human heart. Testing yourself time and time again, and seeing how far you can push your body’s limits. Pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself, the best runner within yourself.  

To those non-runners that I chat to I always say don’t knock it until you try it. That natural high I get from running, just me, the wind and the road, is a sensation that words don’t do justice to describe, you have to feel it. Experience it first hand and see if you can resist doing again and again, because I know that for this reason I will keep running for as long as my legs can carry me!

Happy running everyone!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Máire Nic Amhlaoibh

Máire began her career as an athletic therapist and trainer. Whilst in university she completed courses in trigger point release, kinesio® taping, massage, muscle energy technique and myofascial release to name but a few. 

If you're suffering from sporting injuries our superstar runner Maire is also an outstanding physio at the UFIT Clinic.

Find out more here