Singapore’s Worst Personal Trainers And Fitness Instructors

November 19, 2010
Image of the 'other' kind of personal fitness trainerIn Singapore, the majority of personal trainers and fitness instructors plying their trade across the island are excellent professionals no question about that.
In fact, many of our country’s top, elite fitness professionals are so good – that many are often bestowed accolades and commendations from members of the Singapore Public itself.
Unfortunately, there is still a minority who seems to exist merely to give the industry a BAD name.
The list below (albeit written tongue-in-cheek) profiles some of Singapore’s worst personal trainers and private fitness instructors.
Do make sure – that as a Private Consumer – no matter what you do – NEVER EVER – engage any of the following types of trainers/coaches if you value your own well-being and sanity! 
The Smug Know-It-All
– thinks he/she is smarter, better & more qualified than everyone else,
– is never wrong, ALWAYS correct,
– loves to bad-mouth OTHER trainers and instructors,
– talks down to clients and makes them feel stupid & worthless.  
The Hardcore Sadist
– believes only in ONE way of training – “No Pain, No Gain”.
from the “old-school” system of hard knocks,
– takes sadistic delight in torturing clients with gut-spilling workouts,
– NEVER allows a client to rest or have a breather,
– belittles other ‘softer’ fitness disciplines such as Yoga, Pilates & Aerobics,
– uses only Free Weights – barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells – in training,
– scoffs at “wimpy” training routines that use bands, machines or gym balls. 
The Lazy Duplicator
– loves repeating/duplicating the SAME fitness routines over & over again,
– simply too LAZY/can’t be bothered – to design new routines for clients,
– justifies duplication by telling clients that they are “not ready to move on yet ” or they “have to master the basics first”  etc ….
– loves to gloat and boast at how “EASY” a trainer’s life is.
The Wide-Mouth Gossip
– overly sociable creature,
– loves talking, chatting and gossiping more than anything else,
– spends MORE time TALKING than actually training his/her clients,
– loves to share juicy gossips about OTHER clients or OTHER trainers,
– feels miserable if not given a chance to talk.
The “Thunder” Motor-Mouth
– close relative of the Gossip,
– loves to draw attention to himself/herself,
– NEVER stops talking or shouting commands,
– loves to speak REALLY loud ALL the time to draw focus on self,
– likes to be seen as THE Leader or Authority in the gym,
– no qualms splattering others with his/her salivary projections.
The Self-Indulgent Vain-Pot
– more interested in own physical appearance than anything else,
– constantly checking oneself in the gym or studio mirror,
– client’s training is secondary to his/her pruning and preening,
– believes that he/she – is the Centre Of Attraction at all times,
– feels that the client is merely an “accessory” to accentuate self. 
The Out-Of-Shape Trainer
– often underweight/overweight
– perpetually in a pathetic state of physical condition,
– usually hides poor condition in loose-fitting top and baggy track pants,
– rationalizes poor physical condition with the classic excuse: “I’m simply too busy with my clients to work on my own body.
– afraid to demonstrate any exercise or workout,
– passively stands-by, or better still, sits at a corner while ‘coaching’  clients,
– gets highly agitated in the presence of better-shaped contemporaries. 
The Feely-Touchy
– extremely creepy personality,
– often likes to place hands on clients’ bums, abs, lower back, thighs etc, 
– rationalizes the need for touching clients with the phrases:  ” to help you FEEL the movement better” OR “to help you get in TOUCH with the working muscles“. 
– has only ONE aim of joining the fitness/wellness industry: to get in-touch – literally with other people’s bodies!
The “Blur” King/Queen
– wears a lost or ‘blur’ look on the face perpetually,
– glances around furtively all the time,
– always looks unsure of what to do in the gym,
– can’t tell the difference between a ‘cable row’ and a ‘rowing machine’,
– whispers, stammers or stutters in front of clients,
– extremely shy and insecure.
The Confused Trend-Follower
– blind follower of the latest fitness trends and fads,
– integrates new fads into training approaches unthinkingly & randomly,
– follows latest trends for the sake of appearing ‘up-to-date’ and relevant,
– often jumps from one approach to the other – with NO scientific basis: one moment has the client balancing on a bosu ball, the next moment has the client suspended from ropes, and the next juggling kettlebells…..etc etc.
The Sneaky Salesperson
– a natural-born sales and marketing whiz,
– sees personal training or fitness coaching as a mere SIDE-LINE,
– MAIN agenda is to promote and sell health/fitness products,
– never a day goes by without any subtle or overt SELLING,
– peddles stuff from weight-gain powders to weight-loss pills, from gym gloves to energy drinks etc ….
– gets very annoyed when clients resist his/her selling efforts,
– always thinks in dollars and cents.
Well, there you have it – the different types of personal trainers and fitness instructors in Singapore that you – the Fitness Public – would be wise to AVOID at all costs!
Thankfully, the number of top-notch and exceptional Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors here in Singapore still outnumber the bad hats in the industry.
To check out some of Singapore’s Finest Fitness Professionals, do visit now. 
Also, if you think we have missed out on other examples or categories of BAD fitness professionals, or would like to add your own category of ‘Bad’ trainers here, please feel free to send us your comments!
We would LOVE to add your contributions here too!

The State Of Exercise, Fitness And Physical Activity In Singapore

November 10, 2010

Image for group exerciseNot too long ago, there were reports in the media that there has been a marked rise in the number of people in Singapore engaging in some form of recreational exercise or fitness activity compared to a decade ago.

A quick glance at the rising membership in commercial gyms and public fitness centers, as well as the large morning and evening crowds at outdoor stadiums and neighbourhood parks tend to lead one to an affirmative conclusion as well.

However, on closer scrutiny, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Though the absolute number of people engaging in fitness and exercise programs in Singapore may have gone up over the years, the actual QUALITY of the activities and programs themselves seem to have yield little change over time.

And when we say QUALITY of an exercise/fitness program, we are inherently talking about the following aspects:

1. the proper EXECUTION of an exercise or fitness activity,

2. the PROGRAM DESIGN behind any physical activity,

3. the ADHERENCE to basic scientific exercise/fitness principles. 

Looking at point (1), most trained Singapore Fitness Professionals would unanimously agree and lament at the deplorable state of exercise execution found among most gym participants and recreational exercise enthusiasts. 

From basic movements like lifting a barbell off the ground, to the running gait of a jogger, to the execution of a  simple body-weight push-up, most trained Singapore fitness trainers and exercise coaches would winch in horror, or even stifle a giggle – depending on their mood on that day – at the sight of amateur recreational fitness enthusiasts executing any such a move through its entire kinetic chain.

Poor technique, improper body posturing, inadequate range of movement and ballistic (bouncy) bodily motions are just some of the more common execution problems encountered island-wide in ANY gym, fitness corner or outdoor park.

And if we take into account point (2), things seem even bleaker.

Most Singapore enthusiasts seem to have no, or at best, little idea of what constitutes a  proper program design. Their exercise choices and activities are often a haphazard mix-match of movements plucked from their own unscientific observations of what others are doing around them – a phenomenon the Fitness Profession candidly call “Monkey See, Monkey Do”, or adapted from unreliable sources such as off-the-rack glossy fitness tabloids and magazines.

The sad, but true state of affairs is such that the majority of fitness and exercise participants in Singapore has very little knowledge of, or even completely no idea what muscle groups a particular exercise is targeting at, or what fitness component they are training with any given movement, or how to properly string a series or sequence of movements together for maximum synergistic effect!!!

And when we put point (3) together, the current state of affairs worsens considerably. 

Exercise is a SCIENCE, and that’s why they are academic disciplines such as Exercise Science, Sports Science, Human Movement, Biomechanics etc. Unfortunately, the underlying principles behind these fields of study are often thrown out of the window by most recreational fitness enthusiasts in their fitness pursuits – very often to their own detriment.

A point to note: one does NOT have to be an Olympic Athlete or engage in serious Competitive Sports in order to apply these principles or benefit from them. Most standard exercise and fitness principles such as those pertaining to Exercise Intensity, Exercise Frequency and even the Concept of Specificity – should form the backbone of ANY exercise or fitness program – even those of a  recreational value.

But, unfortunately, as far as the Singapore Fitness Culture is concerned, this is sorely lacking.

What then is the panacea to these ailments affecting the QUALITY of the fitness or physical programs of our recreational athletes?

We think the answer is EDUCATION.

Education in the sense of ownership and responsibility on the part of the athletes and exercisers concerned to read up and educate themselves on the whats and hows of exercising. Frankly, what’s the point of working-out at all – when quality is ABSENT in any fitness program – as one is only further reinforcing bad exercise habits, putting one at risk of injuries, and getting further away from one’s original fitness goals? 

Alternatively, if self-education is too much to ask of our recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts, then they should seriously consider the services of professionals: like personal trainers, fitness coaches or sports performance specialists to help them improve the QUALITY of their workouts.

Only if, and when, such steps are taken to improve the QUALITY of physical activities among our population, then can Singapore truly say that its citizens are benefitting from the exercises and physical activities that they are engaged in.

Otherwise, the increase in participation numbers is merely a facade and a false dawn.

Qualities To Look For In A Singapore Home Fitness Provider

November 2, 2010

Image Of In-Home Personal TrainingRegardless of the type of home fitness services that you’re looking for – whether it’s Pilates, Yoga, Personal Fitness Training or one of the myriad of fitness services available here in Singapore – the following holds true when it comes to selecting an appropriate fitness service provider that meets your needs:


Your home fitness service provider should be someone passionately in love with the vocation that he/she is involved in. You want somebody who gets excited and enthused just talking about what he/she does for a living. On the other hand, you definitely do NOT need someone who is jaded and cynical about his/her profession, the industry and anything else related to it.

As you converse with your potential service provider, try to gauge  the level of enthusiasm, devotion and passion that this person exudes in relation to his/her cause. The HIGHER these levels, the BETTER!


Your in-home service provider should not only have an intimate and extensive  knowledge of the fitness service that he/she is rendering, but also everything else related to it. This includes : knowing the best way to go about customizing the workout according to your environment,  to your personal likes/dislikes as well as other constraints that you  – as a consumer – may have.

It is always a good idea to do some homework on the service you require – prior to meeting up with your in-home fitness provider for the first time  – so that you have a ready list of questions, queries and scenarios to present to the provider.

And based on the provider’s replies to you, you would have a much better understanding of his/her level of knowledge, professionalism and competence.  


Your in-home fitness service provider MUST be suitably qualified to coach you in that particular fitness discipline – no two ways about it. In other words, if what you’re looking for is Pilates coaching, then you provider MUST be a trained and qualified Pilates Teacher – no question about that. Similarly, if what you require is a regular program of deep-tissue sports massage, then your provider MUST be a certified Sports Massage Therapist – again, no exceptions allowed.

 As a consumer, you have every right to ask for PROOF that your home fitness provider is who he/she claims to be. Don’t feel bad asking your provider to provide physical copies of certifications and qualifications for you to peruse.

The following List Of Fitness Certifications And Qualifications would give you a good idea on what to look out for when assessing the qualifications of your fitness provider.


Besides having passion for his/her vocation, your in-home fitness service provider should also be someone who is able to Teach, Communicate and Motivate. As a paying consumer, you are entitled to a professional who is able to teach you the right fundamentals related to your particular fitness field  – clearly and patiently, communicate with you effectively, and most of all, inspire and motivate you to reach your fitness goals.

Once you have found a service provider with these positive personality traits, together with all the above requirements met, the you have greatly increased your own chances of success in your fitness pursuit.