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From flab to fabulous
WHERE PAIN IS GAIN
THE crew at Kilter Avenue, a new boot camp, know that no one really likes waking up at 6am to exercise. Which is why their boot camp sessions start only at 10am.
The one month-old Kilter Avenue is headed by three working professionals - Karen Heng, an account director at a public relations and branding agency; Caryn Cheah, trade ambassador for a spirits company, and Rajeev Singh, a commercial manager for a shipping company.
"The three of us met at the gym where we are all members, and bonded over a shared passion and excitement for fitness," says Ms Heng. "We all lead active lifestyles, and like working out in groups because there is a higher push of motivation; the sense of camaraderie when training with like-minded people is a feeling that we want to bring across in our boot camps."
The trio want to show that it is possible to be fit and strong mentally and physically, without having to give up what they enjoy as part of their work.
"This philosophy of balance and moderation in the way we go about our everyday life is the basis of our business," says Ms Heng. She goes to the gym before work daily, does capoeira once or twice a week, and has dinner and drinks with friends a couple of nights a week.
Ms Heng says the boot camp sessions are only one part of Kilter Avenue. "We envision Kilter Avenue to be a well-rounded fitness lifestyle brand that is also an online retailer of products that we love and fit into our lifestyle," says Ms Heng. Besides selling passes to its boot camps, at S$15 per session, Kilter Avenue also retails probiotic sodas and soy candles.
To stand out from other boot camps in town, different disciplines of sports such as capoeira, Zumba, and boxing are integrated into each session, along with bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups, sit-ups and mountain climbers. "We want to expose people to different forms of fitness, types of training and ways of workout," says Ms Heng. In addition to the exercises, time-based circuits and some sprints are thrown in.
Most other boot camps only have one trainer per class, but at Kilter Avenue, Mr Singh is the head trainer, and there is at least one other Kilter Avenue staff on hand to correct form and ensure an effective 60-minute session. Wrong form is a slippery slope to injuries and a trap of working out for long periods of time but not seeing commensurate results.
Mr Singh is a certified personal trainer, and is also a certified coach for Kettlebell, spinning, powerlifting and indoor cycling. He has also taken part in three Ironman triathlons, as well as other marathons throughout the Asia-Pacific.
Boot camps are held every Saturday at Fort Canning Hill, and in the coming months, sessions will also be held at East Coast Park and on Sundays. About 12 to 15 people attend each session, with 20 people set as the maximum. Ms Heng says the boot camps are suitable for everyone of all fitness levels.
"As our boot camp sessions play around with variations of bodyweight exercises, we are able to tailor according to levels, that is, each movement can have regressions or progressions depending on the individual's level of fitness," she explains. Also, because the circuits are time-based and not repetition-based, individuals can separately work up to their own maximum effort levels.
"We encourage those that are weaker, but at the same time, enthusiastically challenge those that are fitter. So, if we see that you can go at a faster pace than you are currently going at, we will not think twice about calling you out and giving you a run for your money," quips Ms Heng.
With Kilter Avenue, you can lose the weight you've gained from eating too many pineapple tarts and bak kwa. "You can lose body fat and gain muscle, which in turn guides you to a leaner and more efficient body, and ultimately that leads to weight loss," she says. "Having the goal of losing body fat is a more holistic approach to being healthy and fit. Weight loss is the natural consequence of that and looking better is the icing on the cake."
EAT YOUR GOALS
ICON Village, 12 Gopeng Street, #01-01
Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 8am to 9.30pm, closed on Sundays
YOLO - you only live once - so why feed your body with junk?
"Instead, you should take care of your body, eat what you love and live life to the fullest, because you only live once," says Alexis Bauduin, founder of YOLO, an eatery which focuses on serving healthy meals.
Before he started YOLO, Mr Bauduin, a French expatriate, was the typical corporate worker. He was previously working with the LVMH Group in China. "I was travelling a lot, having to entertain customers and always in a rush which made eating healthily almost impossible," he says. His unhealthy lifestyle made him sick.
Now 32, he says the turning point for him was when he was 27.
He found it harder to control his weight, and he didn't feel as energised as before. "So I decided to look into eating healthily but such eating options were limited and boring. The idea for YOLO took shape then but it was only last year that it came to fruition.
Mr Bauduin worked with a nutritionist and a chef to create the meals. "The nutritionist and I would decide which dishes we would select. We wanted to focus on dishes that people are familiar with but to make them healthier," says the first-time entrepreneur. "The chef would help with the taste and the operational side of things, as we served each meal within five minutes of ordering."
Healthier versions of familiar favourites include chicken rice but made using brown rice, and a prawn pad Thai but with added tofu, vegetables and almonds.
To make things easier, the meals are split into four categories, each with a goal in mind, which are Shape Up, Energise, Build and Glow.
"We all have a goal in mind, but we don't know what we need to eat to get to this goal. YOLO tailors meals to help customers reach their goals," he says.
A meal costs from S$9.90 for a salad with chicken, cauliflower and tabbouleh, to S$15.90 for the miso-glazed salmon steak with bak choy and quinoa. Portions are controlled so there's no overeating.
YOLO's top three meals are the miso-glazed salmon steak, coconut chicken with brown basmati rice, and cauliflower fried rice, which is shredded cauliflower that tastes like rice.
Mr Bauduin makes eating healthy fun, not only through the meal selection, but also with the eatery's slick decor and music selection, where it works with DJs to create its own music set list. Mr Bauduin says music is an important part to YOLO: "It changes from hip-hop/pop in the morning and afternoon to house music in the later afternoon and at night," he says.
This combination has become a hit with customers of all ages. "We get youngsters who come because of our decor and music, the office crowd, and even the elderly community who come to purchase a healthier version of chicken rice or the cauliflower fried rice," says Mr Bauduin.
Nakula Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil
Available at Cold Storage and Jasons supermarkets
GOING healthy need not mean making big changes in your life. You could start small, such as by switching to a different oil for cooking.
Coconut oil has been the rage for the last few years, and one of the new brands that's available is Nakula Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil. The oil is made using fresh Sri Lankan coconut flesh, and has no preservatives added to it.
Coconut oil is reported to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities, and is rich in medium chain fatty acids, which reportedly help to raise the good cholesterol levels and boost metabolism.
According to its distributor, Kevin Tan, managing director of Provenance Distributions, Nakula Coconut Oil is also unrefined, unbleached and chemically unaltered.
"Its pure properties make Nakula Coconut Oil multi-functional. You can use it both in the kitchen and in the bathroom," says Mr Tan. His company is the exclusive importer of Just Picked CocoWater, and the first to popularise premium Tetra Pak coconut water in Singapore.
He explains that Nakula Coconut Oil can be used for cooking, such as in stir-fries, grilling or roasting. Or it can be drizzled on toast in place of butter, or added to coffee and tea as well. Coconut oil can also be taken on its own as a dietary supplement.
Some users of Nakula Coconut Oil have also used it to make coconut and gula melaka granola, avocado and coconut bruschetta and even yam and coconut chiffon cake.
On the beauty side, coconut oil is said to be a natural make-up remover. It also works as a moisturizer for the face and body, and by swishing coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes, it can help to clean teeth.
Apart from its benefits, Mr Tan believes that Nakula has been popular with consumers because of its price. A 500ml jar costs S$15.95 while a one-litre jar is S$29.95. "This is one of the lowest in the market for premium unrefined organic oil," he says.