Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Welcome to Singapore

Hi all,

Some time in late 2010 i made a massive personal decision to look for new pastures, a new challenge and a chance to carry on my travel and world fitness education. After having 2 offers from Hong Kong and Singapore (SNG), i decided to go with the latter... and it already seems like the right choice. When i was thinking about the content of this blog, i decided against comparing SNG and my former home, Bahrain. I loved my time there i never get into the habit of critising places i have lived or still have friends. Just like my home town, Llanelli. I honestly don't think i could ever live there again (for many reasons) but that doesn't mean i don't like the place. 

Home, Sweet Home

Anyway, i digress.... These are the things i have noticed in my first month in SNG.

The first thing i noticed (quite literally) coming off the plane was the humid Climate. If you are a sweaty person, you would fit right in here... sweatin' hell! I have spent the first 2 weeks perspiring (posh name for sweating) and generally being warm. Im getting used to it i think, but locals tell me you cant get used to it - it just is. You sweat in SNG, you will have 3-4 showers per day, get over it. 

As a walk to work everyday i pass locals engaging in exercises. People have an Active lifestyle here. Of course there are sedentary people everywhere and this place is no different, but i haven't noticed an abundance of seriously obese people yet, maybe because everyone walks around? Maybe because i work in a gym and i am generally around trimmer people? i pass the same guy every morning doing his 'old man exercises' which are tragic at best - but you know what, he is staying active, i respect the fact that he is off his ass and moving. When i walk home i pass an elderly Tai chi evening class every night, outdoor activities seem to be popular in my neighbourhood (insert red light district jokes here).

Locals love evening Tai Chi

The Food is excellent and really expensive in places. Its interesting to see what is cheap here - Salmon, spinach, Pak choy, organic vegetables are all foods you would pay a lot for in the UK, here they are great value. So no real excuses to overeat on bad foods. Supplements are an outrage! GNC have total dominance in the market and their prices are crazy. When the woman told me GNC standard gold whey was $S200 (100 quid) i nearly choked... "but its buy one, get one free this month" Yeah, i should f*cking hope so. Again, this gives me a chance to get back to proper nutrition and focus on whole foods. I am about to talk with Maximuscle about distributing their products which is great news - i've always liked their stuff and my clients will benefit from them too.

Alcohol is expensive, which is a great thing if you're trying to get back in shape. I don't actually mind this. There are happy hours and cheaper alternatives but i would have to drink on weekdays and in street food joints to take advantage.

Local drinking joints are street side and inexpensive

There is such a wide mix of People here that its hard to say generally what 'people' are like. Its a real blend of cultures and pretty cool to be a part of. Of course, i went to Boat Quay recently and was pleased to see the english 'culture' of getting rat-assed and being sick in public was still very much on display. Brilliant... we are a bunch of dicks with limited class really, aren't we?
I guess i am comparing Orchard Road against anything i saw in Bahrain by saying its nothing like it. The atmosphere, the crowds, the air... everything says more living. My old home does seem pretty dead when i think about it now, not that its a bad thing... its just a really different environment. I particularly enjoy the chirpy music that plays outside my gym each morning - it nearly puts me in a good mood, nearly.

Orchard Road at night

The Public transport system is amazing. Really easy, really cheap and always on time. If i go into this anymore i will be labelled as a bus/train pervert so thats all on that.

The gym is pretty cool, all the people who train here 'seem' to have the right idea about 'functional training' although it has made me re-think about the whole subject (maybe a should write a blog about it) I just see too much of... how can i put it?.... hmmmm.... "f*cking around" in gyms, yes perfect. I mean do you really need to balance on a bosu ball with one leg and do a shoulder press? What happened to a DB shoulder press? I hear fat people talking about the nuances of shoulder training when they should really lose some inches around the waist.

Some member, bless her... (sarcasm) tried to sell Spinning to my PT client while i was training him. Yeah cheers for that, my new 'office-worker' client who has bi-lateral hip tightness and resultant lower back issues really need to spend another hour of his day "smashing" an already tight left hip!!! Thats the thing about cereal-box philosphy, its dangerous in a gym. A little knowledge is dangerous, this lady obviously had it. But i digress....

Im talking about gym users here (and trainers). Basic movements are 'functional'. Squats, lunges, pulls, pushes, etc. It seems that the basics are being over-looked for the latest balancing act, it's bullshit. I honestly cant remember seriously using a bosu ball in the last 6 years - maybe they are good for something? Answers on a postcard below please!

Can you guess what is going to happen next?

I really like the bulgarian bag (like a sandbag) for fat loss circuits and the viper seems like a decent kit for  a change of angles. I will add these to my fat loss circuits in time, but for now the correction/strength programming (which works) is still my go-to method for client success... Cheers to the guys at Cressey Performance for that!

Bodybuilding training is very much prevalent here in Singapore, which is surprising. Its been a while since i've trained in a genuine 'civvy' gym so maybe time has stood still and people still train like i used to when i was 18? I'm still to find out. Im seeing a lot of T-shirt muscles and big waists in my first month here and maybe its a reflection of the training/partying culture of ex-pats here? Read the latest T nation ( article by TC called "the testosterone principles - most bodybuilders look like crap" its a good read about the above topic.

Ok, thats me done. My next blog is going to offend some folk but its honestly how i feel about the subject: De-constructing group exercise classes

It should be controversial at the very least.

Share on FB, if you like this :)


  1. Nath, that blog is first class my a proper insight into your first few weeks in your new home, as well as an insight into the culture there. Plus, you're stil talking shop. Honestly mate, I didn't want the blog to end.

  2. Horses Sweat, Men Perspire, and Women Glow :)

  3. @ Nick, Thanks fella. Pass on to other people if you can, get the ball rolling again!

    @ Zain, what are you on about???

  4. What up nathan! trying to send an email to the address on your card, keeps coming back. Hmmm...get at me Thomas


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