The hardest part for an individual seeking a lifestyle change is to walk through the gym doors. For me, it was walking into RITUAL. It requires a commitment of time and an investment in oneself. My journey started 6 months ago when we were discussing healthcare issues at work and I realized that my business suits were getting – a little too fitting. I was not unfit. I played tennis once a week and went on runs every few days. We had just had our first child and life was, let’s just say, chaotic. I wanted to be fit enough to manage the chaos and run behind the bundle of joy. Having said that, I am not disciplined enough to go to the gym regularly and build my own workouts. Also, I prefer to get the technique right than strive for a fixed number of reps or total weight.

The geek in me started researching for boot camp options in Singapore. I enjoyed boot camp workouts because it requires short bursts of energy, has multiple exercises, uses primarily body weight and is functional training (when you are managing a baby, you are multi-tasking and picking up things at odd angles. My wife is great at it- I am not.) I am sure there are a number of great boot camp options here though I never landed up trying them. I read about RITUAL online and decided to walk-in and give it a shot. I actually got first-time lucky (for once!). The first day at the gym was hard – not that it’s any easier now. What sold me was the ability to walk-in though the day to join a session every 30 minutes, workout without carrying any gear to work, seek personalized training input and do a high intensity interval training (HIIT). I had done the latter in San Francisco, and it was exhausting. But at the end of each HIIT, I enjoyed the rush and the improvement in stamina.

HIIT is not for everyone. You either like it or not. There are theories to support the benefits of HIIT and I know there is literature to support other exercise techniques as well. My view is that if you ENJOY your workout and have a good guide (read-trainer), you will see the benefits of any of it. RITUAL has built a training crew that is approachable, pushes hard and is vested in your health. It’s the culture. I truly believe that the RITUAL crew is vested in your health because I have got sound advice and solutions to any aches, fitness or form related issues I have asked of them. Moreover, the trainer’s follow-up to check on me every few days, a practice that is a winner in my books (who does not like bespoke service and follow-up?). I learn from their years of experience in health and fitness as I am not a specialist. I rather trust, learn and apply.

Now, you may say, as a member, I will only have positive things to share (just to get it out there- I did not get paid to write this note). So, to balance my viewpoint, some of the points to consider are that RITUAL currently has only one location at Raffles Place, thereby limiting the option for some folks. Additionally, you need to make an investment that is well above a mass-gym membership. To me, value is relative. The customized attention, supportive culture and quick effective workouts are worth the value. If you are super disciplined, maybe a regular gym membership suffices.

In 6 months, I am 10 pounds lighter and have lost 3” on the waist. Facebook pics are a constant reminder of this transition. I could only survive 3 workouts a week when I first started and today I do 4-5 workouts a week because of the quicker recovery times. Is this a huge change in fitness numbers? In my view it is because I achieved it with a considerable increase in strength and fitness levels (people now call me FIT- maybe they are just humoring me). Moreover, I did not change my diet a whole lot (sorry Ian and Shrek – I am being honest though now I am worried of the payback!). The only things off my food list are places like Burger King and McDonalds (yes- fast food joints saw a drop in earnings). I am sure if I followed the RITUAL grub guide (the diet regiment that is free for all members), the change may have been more pronounced- maybe someday. I have had to spend money on new clothes (RITUAL is clearly an investment that spurs sales growth at clothing retailers- that was not in the contract guys).

At RITUAL, I have made new friends (fellow members who go through an agonizing 20 min workout together and the RITUAL crew that guides us). My goal in the next year is to scale new levels of fitness that not only make me more active and energetic but also make fitness a part of my daily routine. I am not there yet and have not set a waistline or weight goal! To me, enjoying the workout, learning from the experts on how to do every movement right and giving it 100% is more important. The results, I am certain, will follow.

2014 is here and a lot of folks are embarking on their year’s fitness goals. I wish you the best in achieving these goals as everyone deserves to be fit. If you make RITUAL your workout spot, I look forward to seeing you on the workout floor or at the (juice) bar.

Adeesh Agarwal

Member since June 2013