Fitness Singapore

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.

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

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



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

I moved to Singapore from the UK just over a year and a half ago and haven’t looked back. My career in the UK had revolved around sports, which included playing international and premiership rugby for 11 years and then working for Harlequins Rugby Club on growing their commercial influence for a further three years.

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

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

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


What are you most excited about with this new role?

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Back and neck pain? Doctor or physio?

Back AND neck pain - doctor or physio: Who should you choose?

The question I constantly encounter here in Singapore is ‘I have a sore back. Should I come see you, or should I see a doctor first?’

Being a physio myself I am obviously biased, but physiotherapists train for four years to get a degree specialising in chronic pain issues and musculo-skeletal breakdowns. We should be involved from the beginning in the treatment and care of any back pain or neck pain issues.


Unfortunately, here in Singapore (and in many countries around the world) the medical insurance companies require a doctor’s referral in order for physiotherapy claims to be approved, so the answer is usually ‘Go see a doctor, and ask them to refer you to me.’ If that seems like a complete waste of your time, and the insurance company’s money, then you would be correct. It now appears that we have good reason to be frustrated by this out-dated approach:

A recent study conducted by Cook et al., published in October 2017, investigated the amount spent and the overall recovery outcomes of patients with back or neck pain who went to either physiotherapists first, or to their local doctor. In total, they reviewed cases for 603 patients who reported neck and back pain between 2012 and 2014.

The results? Those that selected to see the physiotherapists straight away saved BIG on medical costs. In fact, each patient saved an average of $1,543 USD a year (over $2,000 SGD) compared to their counterparts who chose to visit a doctor first. And their outcomes one year later? No difference between the two groups. So, in effect, the group that went to see the physio got the EXACT same outcome, for significantly LESS cost.

Why is this? It may be due to the doctor’s reliance on imaging. For more on this, check my blog on the topic here.

So back to the question: ‘I have a sore back. Should I go see a physio or a doctor?’  

The answer: A physio – we’ll help your back and your wallet. The science says so…


To discuss an issue with your friendly local physio in Singapore, please contact us here.




Declan is passionate about helping his patients achieve their long term goals by identifying their weaknesses and imbalances, and developing a strategy to eradicate them. Declan has always maintained a strong sporting interest, and previously worked as an Academy Physiotherapist for Crystal Palace Football Club (a professional football club in London), and as a Rehabilitation Coach for the Western Province Stormers Academy (professional rugby club from Cape Town). Within Asia, he consults to the Indonesian Athletics Association as a Performance coach and physiotherapist. In Singapore, Declan has worked as both physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coach to the Singapore National Rugby team (who achieved bronze medal at the SEA Games). 


  • BSc Sport and Exercise Science 
  • MSc Physiotherapy 
  • AAP Dry Needling Certification 
  • L1 Crossfit Trainer 
  • Senior Medical Educator World Rugby 

What's to love about CrossFit?

We've all heard of people who try CrossFit and before they know it they're hooked! Dylan Goddard, Head of CrossFit Tanjong Pagar tells us why CrossFit is so popular and worth including in your training regime.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is constantly varied functional exercises performed at high intensity - and based on the best functional aspects of weightlifting, running, gymnastics, rowing and more.

In CrossFit you move larger loads over longer distances, so you maximize work done over short periods of time. Intensity is essential for results, and the more you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort.

And with a constantly varied approach to training, these movements at this intensity lead to dramatic fitness gains.

But the most unique thing about CrossFit is you don't do it alone - it's the community that makes it a shining star in the fitness world.


What's so special about CrossFit?

  • You train alongside strangers who eventually become "family"!
  • The community is a lot bigger than the “Box" you train at, there's an international CrossFit community that is felt worldwide
  • Every class is coached by a qualified coach and classes usually limited to 10-15 people which instills high quality coaching
  • The training program is well thought-out to improve your overall strength and conditioning 
  • There's no judgment, we really strive to advocate the mantra "everyone started at the bottom!"
  • Results will be seen as early as 4 to 6 weeks if the program is followed and nutrition is in check 
  • The scaleability of all CrossFit movements makes it very accessible to everyone 
  • You will have the opportunity to learn skills that will enhance your life inside and outside the gym
  • All are welcome! We've had many people join out CrossFit classes who have never even exercised in their lives before.
  • Every WOD (workout of the day) is different, this allows for constant varied exercises and workouts.

The KEY workouts

Fundamentals: Before you start you do a Fundamentals course to teach you how to do the exercises safely and effectively.

WOD: The “Workout of the Day” is what you perform on a given day. Many follow standard CrossFit WODs, and also do their own programming.

Metcon: "Metabolic conditioning,” trains stamina, endurance and conditioning. Unlike WODs — which can also include purely strength or skill-based workouts— metcons generally include timed components performed at high intensity.

Hero WODs: Named after military servicemen who have died in the line of duty, these provide an extra challenge and reminder of their sacrifice.

Murph: one the toughest WODs, this consists of a one-mile run followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 bodyweight squats. 



AMRAP: As Many Reps As Possible over a specific time period. Often lasting 10, 20, or 30 minutes (though it feels a lot longer) AMRAP workouts challenge you to finish as many rounds as you can in the allotted time. Just don't lose count…

Ass to Grass: Get low! Also called “Ass to Ankles,” this is a full-depth squat. 

For Time: Lets you see how you stack up with the rest of the CrossFit world by measuring the time it takes to complete a prescribed workout. 

CrossFit Games: Each summer the CrossFit Games test participants with physical challenges and workouts, ranging from swimming and running to pull-ups and handstand walks. Participants accrue points and the male and female winners are crowned World’s Fittest Man & Woman.

Earlier this year our very own Nazaria Schifra and Stuart Diplock were awarded those titles.

CrossFit Open: Allows competitors to register online and compete on their own or at local CrossFit boxes.


SOME OF The Movements

Many of these movements are classic exercises you would do in Bootcamps and with your Personal Trainer. However the extra layer that CrossFit adds is the intensity and timed non-stop duration or by the amount of power you put in. 

  • Band assisted pull-up 
  • Bodyweight/Air Squat
  • Box Jump
  • Burpees
  • Double Unders - when a rope passes under your feet twice and you jump only once
  • GHD Sit-Up - sitting face-up on a Glute-Ham Developer reach back until your hands graze the ground, then explosively extend legs and sit up
  • Handstand Push-Up - you can kick up to a wall for stability 
  • Kipping pull-up - when you swing from a bar with rhythm
  • Knees to elbows - when you hang from a pull-up bar
  • Muscle Up -  hang from gymnastic rings and explosively pull your chest above the rings
  • Pistol / single leg squats - which require half the legs, but twice the effort
  • Ring Dip - just like a conventional bodyweight dip, only on gymnastic rings
  • Rope Climb
  • Snatch - explosively lift a weighted barbell from the ground to overhead in one movement
  • Sumo Deadlift High Pull - take a wide stance over a barbell  and explosively pull from the ground upward until the bar comes up to shoulder height
  • Thruster - a front squat straight into a push press
  • Walking lunges - using bodyweight. barbell on the shoulders or weight plate held overhead
  • Wallball throws.

Come and join us at CrossFit Tanjong Pagar to find out what makes it so special for yourself.



We are opening a brand new Personal Training gym in the mezzanine level where you can train with our coaches who have great passion and skill for lifting, CrossFit and strength training.














Why embark on huge challenges alone, when you can get experts to guide you - and your husband to join you? Robs Norris tells us how she lost 8.5kg and 4% body fat since doing the UFIT Body Transformation Program with her husband Sean, under the guidance of UFIT Head of Nutrition Wendy Riddell and UFIT Orchard Personal Trainer Tsvety Ivanova.

Now she's finished the Program her journey has only just begun as she prepares for months of triathlon and ironman training ...


1. What made you decide to participate in this program?

Robyn: I was doing HIIT classes up to 4 times a week, although I was getting fit I wasn’t able to shift the weight I had gained since having my daughter, I wanted to tone and build muscle and reduce my body fat.  My husband and I decided to do this body transformation together as a team goal/life style change.

Robyn's UFIT Personal Trainer - Tsvety: I was waiting for my body transformation client and then Robyn walked in. In my opinion, she didn't have much to transform. She was already in shape and was doing 4 times a week high intensity workouts. Not your typical body transformation client! Fat loss was her goal and I knew we had to do something different for her. Her program consisted of 3 times a week strength training heavy weights 8-12 rep sessions and one strong man conditioning session. I asked her to trust me and the results will come.


2. What’s it been like doing it with your husband?

Robyn: Sean and I work well as a team, before we had our daughter we did a lot of running together but that fell by the wayside when we had Lennon.  With Sean’s positive can-do attitude and my discipline we really do succeed. 

Robyn and Sean after the Challenge

Robyn and Sean after the Challenge

3. How have you found the training process since you started - and has it been easier or harder than you expected??

Robyn: The first two weeks were really tough, my body ached in places it had never ached before and I was exhausted.  But once my body got through that initial shock of training 4 times a week, it did get easier and more enjoyable especially when you start seeing the changes to your body and energy levels.

Tsvety: Robyn is one of the most positive, hard working people I've met. Every hour in the gym with her just flies by (for me at least :-)). In just a few weeks the weights she was lifting were getting bigger and bigger and she was getting leaner and leaner. Now we have to ask the boys if they are done with the Dumbbells so Robyn can use them.

4. How has your diet changed and how have you found making those adjustments to your lifestyle?

For the first 4-6 weeks, I adopted the no sugar, low carb, high fat diet and was pretty strict with it.  Most importantly I cut down on the alcohol, which I found was the main contributor to my unhealthy eating.  I found my appetite reduced significantly and I craved sugar and carbs less.  I also started intermittent fasting which I found pretty easy to do.  

Now that I am working out 6 days a week and eat pretty healthy consistently I can now eat a few cheat meals and not worry about gaining the weight.  But I do have to keep chocolate out of the house otherwise I will binge eat it all in one sitting. 

5. How did you feel in the beginning - midway - and at the end?

In the beginning I felt weak, exhausted and sore, half way I started seeing the results, the training became more manageable and enjoyable.  And now I feel strong and more confident, I find the sessions enjoyable and I just want more and to continue to get stronger.


6. Have the results met your expectations?

Absolutely and much much more.  I actually didn’t expect to get the results I wanted so quickly, I thought I would struggle but once I started seeing results I just wanted to see more and that drove me on.

7. How are you continuing with it - what’s next?

I have started triathlon training 6 days a week as well as 2 PT sessions.  I had my first triathlon on 6 August where I came twelth in my gender category so I was really pleased about that! And then the ultimate challenge will be to do the Ironman 70.3 Phuket at the end of November with my husband Sean, so I am going to be kept very busy.


8. Who from UFIT DID YOU TRAIN WITH - and how did you find dealing with them?

The gorgeous Tsvety Ivanova has been my Personal Trainer at UFIT Orchard and she has been nothing but amazing from the start.  It's so important that you gel with your trainer and Tsvety made me feel really comfortable and confident and is extremely patient.  I feel she really knows what she is doing and which areas of your body need more work.

RobsTsvety (2).jpg

Tsvety may look kind and sweet but she knows how to push you hard in a training session. I did have a few ladies comment on how they would hate to be me when they saw the exercises Tsvety was making me do.  Whenever my husband and I chatted about our day's training session I would say every time ‘Tsvety killed me again today’.  With Tsvety also being a mum we have a lot in common to chat about during the sessions.

Tsvety: In just a few months of hard work and positive attitude Robyn has completely changed her body shape and had exceeded the goals she had set. (Fitting into pair of her skinny shorts). She has not just dropped body fat but she has reshaped her whole body. There are not enough words to describe how proud I am of her. She had the goals in mind, went for it and reached them. And now we are onto the new ones. 


The UFIT Body Transformation Program does just that – transforms bodies, minds and lives! This fully personalised, all-inclusive fitness and nutrition program can help you make dramatic changes to your weight and body shape over a short space of time - in just 10 weeks. We will give you the guidance and support you need - and the more you stick to the program the better the results. It's all up to you! 

To take the next steps to a Fitter, Leaner and Stronger body just click here.