Get fit, make friends with Flex Fitness

Cheang Jian Ming (left), Ethel Phang and other participants carrying weighted wall balls while doing squats. The pair were attending a Flex Fitness class organised by the Sports Hub which combines high-intensity interval training and functional movem
Cheang Jian Ming (left), Ethel Phang and other participants carrying weighted wall balls while doing squats. The pair were attending a Flex Fitness class organised by the Sports Hub which combines high-intensity interval training and functional movements in a team-based setting.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Participants push each other as they enjoy the Hub's team-based Flex Fitness sessions

In a class with 14 others, fresh graduate Malavika Hemanth was doing squats while carrying a wall ball at the 100Plus Promenade last Monday.

But instead of doing the exercise by herself, the 22-year-old had a partner standing in front of her cheering her on.

After completing her 20 squats, the roles were reversed and it was her turn to support her new friend.

This was mirrored by the other six groups at all five stations of the circuit in Sports Hub's newly launched Flex Fitness class.

The hour-long session combines high-intensity interval training and functional movements in a team-based setting where pairs and trios move around in a circuit.

Equipment such as battle ropes and kettlebells are also used while they do jumps and burpees.

  • THE CLASSES

  • The three classes under Sports Hub's new Flex Revolution programme:

    FLEX FITNESS

    Monday and Thursday

    From $12 per class

    FLEX PULSE

    March 17 to May 20: 3 sessions per run

    FLEX ALTITUDE

    From April 6: 2 sessions per run

    More information: sportshub.com.sg/flexrev

While she goes to the gym twice a week, Malavika preferred the team-based training class.

"It's nice to get a team workout because you feel more motivated to do better.

"I don't know anyone here so it's about the camaraderie and encouraging each other," said Malavika, who made three new friends in class including her partner.

"But if you bring your friend and you're on the same level, you can challenge each other and push yourself more."

Sports Hub's senior manager of programming and partnerships Melvin Koh said the programme aims to help young adults exercise effectively while making friends.

"The team-based setting facilitates people getting to know each other and complements the workout.

"It becomes a fun challenge like seeing who can do more reps. It gives you extra motivation to push yourself a bit further because if you see your friend working hard, you also want to try harder.

"There's also a bigger sense of achievement when you guys push each other... because you feel like you accomplished it as a team.

"We want to grow this into a community where people feel that when they come, they have buddies to embark on this fitness journey together with."

SHARING THE WORKLOAD

If I asked athletes to do the circuit by themselves, they will get tired by the third station. But when you have a teammate, you can take turns and get equal rest time which helps a lot in keeping them going.

NG ENG CHUAN, instructor, on participants pacing themselves.

Koh also highlighted the role of the instructors, who can each take up to 12 students in a class. Each class can take a maximum of 30 students, with three instructors.

"For participants to get the most out of the class, instructors need to be able to give sufficient time to each person because these exercises are a bit challenging and we want to make sure they are effective, so using the correct technique is critical."

Instructor Ng Eng Chuan added that another benefit of the team-based setting was sharing the workout load so participants do not get tired so quickly.

"If I asked athletes to do the circuit by themselves, they will get tired by the third station.

"But when you have a teammate, you can take turns and get equal rest time which helps a lot in keeping them going."

Cheang Jian Ming found it easier to keep up with the class when he relied on his teammates.

"It's more intense than I thought it would be but intensity is good because when you're tired, that's when you tend to rely on other people and make a lot of new friends," said Cheang, who exercises four times a week.

"When you're exercising by yourself you follow your own tempo. This class encourages you to push yourself more because you have to keep up with the pace."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 10, 2019, with the headline 'Get fit, make friends with Flex Fitness'. Print Edition | Subscribe