TNP TRIES: Ritual Gym
A gym was opening a new branch and my bosses felt that I was the best person to test it out.
Looking at my ever expanding stomach, I have to agree with them.
Plus, some exercise has never killed anyone.
So on Tuesday (Aug 30), I down to Holland Village to test out Ritual Gym's newest outlet, which opened on Sept 1. The first Ritual Gym opened in 2013 at North Canal Road
Ritual Gym: PHOTO: RITUAL GYM
Ritual Gym caters to those who are pressed for time.
They promise their clients that they needed just 30 minutes to finish their workout and continue on with their day - 20 minutes for the workout followed by 10 minutes to shower and change back into your normal clothes.
They achieve this by using a training method called high intensity interval training (HIIT).
"At it's most basic, HIIT is basically a short quick burst of exercise followed by a brief rest period," said Mr Ian Tan, the co-founder of the gym.
"It elevates your metabolic rate for 16 to 48 hours after your work out... It's your body burning (calories) long after your workout," the 29-year-old added.
So none of that long boring runs on treadmills then.
The gym provides everything for you, from shorts and T-shirts in various sizes to towels for you to take your shower later.
Oh, you train barefoot, so there is no need to bring shoes.
When you step into the reception area of the gym, you cannot help but notice the concrete.
The grungy interior of their workout space makes you feel as if you just stepped into a trendy new bar.
Then you change in the (unisex) changing rooms and step on to the padded workout floor.
This is not some mega-gym where you see rows upon rows of treadmills.
It is a small space that can hold a maximum of 10 people at any one 30-minute session.
The reporter being put through his paces. TNP PHOTO: AZIM AZMAN
Before I was even able to jump into one of their sessions, I was given a pretty comprehensive health questionnaire by one of their trainers, Mr Ismail Mahmood, affectionately known as Shrek
His huge biceps meant that I did not ask how he got his name.
He taught me the basic moves and I was ready to hit the floor.
The session itself was fast, intense and more importantly, to the point.
There was no time wasted.
Before this, I was already familiar with HIIT, having done it a few times on my own.
The difference here was that, where I would dilly dally when I worked out on my own, Shrek was there to keep the session focused.
You don't rest more than the stipulated amount of time.
Plus, Shrek was there with a gentle reminder to correct my movement every time my form faltered.
So what exactly did I do in the 20 mins?
There were two halves.
Face full of pain and concentration TNP PHOTO: AZIM AZMAN
The first half, I did overhead presses for 40 seconds before moving on to doing squats while carrying a kettlebell for another 40 seconds.
Then I rested for 30 seconds. That was one set. I did four.
While I did my best to keep a straight face, I started to feel the burn.
There was a minute's rest before we moved on to the second half of the workout.
This time, we did squats for 20 seconds, standing rows for 20 seconds, and then mountain climbers for 20 seconds.
This went on for five sets with a 10-second rest in between each set.
By the end of the last set, I was absolutely covered in sweat and gasping hard.
In the first few minutes right after the session, I was barely able complete a sentence.
But honestly, it felt good to get a good session in.
A sign on the way out of the gym. TNP PHOTO: AZIM AZMAN
The fact that I can theoretically get in and out of the gym in 30 minutes really sells it for me.
I can swing by the gym before work and sweat my guts off and then get on with my day.
That is really attractive.
The membership price, however, is was not so attractive.
Membership price starts from $199 a month for an unlimited number of sessions during their off-peak hours: 8.30am to 11.30am and 2pm to 5.30pm on weekdays, 9am to 3pm on Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays.
But I feel that the experience and the workout is worth the price you pay.
On the way out, there is a sign hanging that asks: "Aren't you glad you did that?"
Confidently, I can declare, that yes, I was glad that I put myself through that.