You’re forgiven if you tend to get suspicious of fitness trends. It sometimes seems that they are less about fitness and more about being seen doing whatever is the lastest and coolest exercise craze.
What comes to mind? Spartan racing, Crossfit training, trampolining, and let’s not even start on yoga because we still can’t take the idea of beer yoga with any jot of seriousness even if we do like our beer. Perhaps it was fleshed out in a drunken moment or as a tongue-in-cheek way of staying badass even when one has been forced into a fitness regime. Perhaps, like so many other things, it was done to create a #tag.
But what if you’re seriously trying to identify a fitness strategy that would work for you? We let former Man Hunt finalist Ryan Chen, a personal trainer by profession, and our fashion editor Chia Wei Choong answer that question by sending them to try out two currently popular workouts: cardio boxing and hybrid rebounding.
First up is BOOM, a cardio boxing class available at Fitness First Paya Lebar located on the second floor of the SingPost Building.
“BOOM is a boxing-inspired programme that incorporates a lot of high intensity training,” shared Anil Chugani, country manager of Fitness First Singapore. Boxing’s popularity may wax and wane, but it’s always been a serious combat sport taken up by men of various ages and backgrounds. At Fitness First, Chugani introduced an easier variant of it with BOOM. What led to this decision?
“The days of having people just coming in and jumping onto a piece of cardio equipment are long gone. Only the really motivated people do that nowadays. People’s lifestyles are changing and they are always on the lookout for unique and holistic programmes that are also trendy, which keep them excited,” he shared.
So what’s the selection process like when a new class is being considered? “Effectiveness is a priority,” revealed Chugani. “Before we bring in a new programme, we look into its science and hold actual trials with our trainers. Every step of the evaluation is documented. It’s a fairly rigid process, and it has to be, because we can’t decide to do something just because someone has an idea,” he continued.
A challenge for him is keeping people engaged. “Our aim is to always innovate and to bring in new hardware and programmes while working on our talent to deliver the best experiences. But we need be very careful because when you do too much, you don’t do it well,” said Chugani. “So, in order to keep trends sustainable, we evolve, refine and innovate around a base class while ensuring that results are showing and that members are benefitting from them.”
“People who are obese or overweight see a lot of results from this,” Tan revealed. The class seems like it’s all fun, hopping on a trampoline, also known as a rebounder, but it does work up a sweat and most importantly, shows results.
“It’s how competitive swimmers like Leslie and myself used to train,” he added.
The classes range from $38 a class to $2,288 for an unlimited access for a year. “What you pay for is a very personalised training. We hold small classes limited to around 30 people so we know what’s happening with every participant. Let’s not forget the sense of community that it builds. You know that energy that you get from your friends? That’s what gives rise to boutique gyms including ours,” said Tan.
Gym brands can always rely on machines when trends fade, so how will niche boutique studios like BBounce cope?
“We can always try to reinvent what we are offering to make it more appealing. But the bottom line is to be able to show positive results from it. Otherwise it won’t take off. We can add a little spin to the classes, or create a new class entirely to get people interested,” he explained. “But what we are really trying to do is to change how people see fitness,” he shared.
So What’s The Verdict?
“BOOM focused and drilled the basic punches and combinations well. So it was a fitness class where you could actually learn and improve your boxing techniques while you work up a sweat,” Chen opined.
“My hip flexors were pretty tight and sore after the hybrid rebounding tryout, so I’d recommend mixing this with the other classes at BBounce just for variety.”
So are these classes necessary?
“For many of those trendy workouts, what people are ultimately paying for is a new experience. Some will come back because they see the changes in the bodies. But there are those who will keep coming back because they had a good time,” he said. “Running and swimming can be just as effective for keeping yourself fit, but these activities are sometimes just too plain and boring for many people.”
Still, you shouldn’t go to the extremes in a bid to avoid vanilla workouts. Chen warned against classes that advocate pushing yourself to your limits, including Crossfit and high level calisthenics. “Accidents can happen. And when there are so many fitness training outfits mushrooming across the island, you owe it to yourself to look for those that are run by passionate yet conscientious trainers,” he said.
Despite enjoying both the cardio boxing and hybrid rebounding tryout sessions, Wei Choong admitted that he is unlikely to commit to regular sessions or classes, simply because his work schedules make it difficult for him to do so. However, he doesn’t mind going for a class or session from time to time, because they’re just so beginner-friendly and look like a great way to get his adrenaline pumping. Of course, there’s also the sheer fun of it.