August 27

Is it worth paying a personal trainer for weight loss in Singapore?


In case you’re wondering, this is not a sponsored post.

You’re stuck. No matter how hard you try, you see your weight not dropping. You step on the scales everyday but groan internally as you wonder why the weight doesn’t change.

If that’s you, high five.

Tired of watching your weight but not seeing any difference?

Me too.

If you’re reading this, you might be wondering if it’s worth it to shell out thousands for a personal trainer, especially when things seem, okay.

You might have tried things like paying $9.90 for an Athlean app subscription, giving you exercises. Or you’ve read all the books on dieting. And you’re even paying the $149 a month for that Pure Gym membership.

But nothing seems to be working.

My story

In October 2019, after moving back to Singapore, I was tired, and fat. Despite trying everything I knew to lose weight (celery shakes, anyone?), it wasn’t working.

I was working out 3 times a week, and swimming twice a week. Yet despite this, I kept being stubbornly stuck at 68kg.

Then I remembered Nicholas Ng, the founder of Beach Bod Brah. He had been my buddy in the army, always going for gym sessions during the nights out.

I decided to try it.

What do you actually get from a coach?

Shelling out thousands for a personal trainer might not be the first thing people think of, especially when they think about their fitness.

But think about it this way. If you would pay that much money for a gym membership (prices usually start from $90 per month), wouldn’t you want to at least know how to use the gym most effectively?

Wouldn’t you want to stop wasting your time in the gym, and instead get your goals effectively?

Here’s what Nicholas did for me.

Of course the headline figure would be the weight loss of 13kg in 5 months, but there were other benefits as well.
Of course the headline figure would be the weight loss of 13kg in 5 months, but there were other benefits as well.

A proper training programme

If you don’t want to look like a noob in the gym, doing random strings of exercises, Nicholas helps you get the reps in, with the right exercises.

I wasn’t unfamiliar with the idea of getting a training programme. After all, in my university gym, I also had complimentary coach sessions to teach me how to lift weights in the right way.

But what I saw was the difference in Nicholas and other coaches was this.

  Nicholas Ng Other coaches
Types of exercises More varied, and more focused on the most effective ones, such as the compound movements They would usually focus on those that most used
Equipment needed Could focus on home workouts too They normally recommended that you use the gym
Post-prescription correction After you get the workout, you would be asked to film yourself doing your workout, send it to him over a WhatsApp group, and Nicholas would then correct the form Usually you would have to wait a month before they corrected it

Correcting forms

You might think that online training methods don’t work, but from what I saw, it did work very well.

A year ago, Nicholas and I were talking to a fitness trainer. She said,

For every session, I do the same mostly for every client.

Nicholas pointed out that was how he found out that she was not that good.

With Nicholas, when you’re with him, you will get an understanding of what kind of striation (which specific line of your muscle you want trained), how to enforce a certain type of veination, and how to work in a way that works.

Getting stuck in your growth? It may be time to get a coach.

Monitoring over Whatsapp

You would have to send pictures of everything you ate to him, which made you a lot more conscious of how you ate.

Each week, you would also be asked to fill in a chart around your weight.

MyFitnessPal tracking

One of the things that Nicholas is most particular about is in terms of calorie tracking. As a friend, I can testify that he also does this for every single thing he eats. Each time we eat together, he would find food that would fit the macros he needed for the day.

When you first start, this can feel clunky, especially with the weighing of the food. It can feel difficult.

But eventually this will help you get a clearer understanding of just what’s giving you those additional pounds.

You might be surprised at just how much calories a brownie has.

And you would stop complaining about why you’re working so hard at the gym, but still not losing weight. The answer is in the calories.

Coaches, compared

You might start thinking about those that are with gym chains like Fitness First, Pure, and Anytime Fitness. First, you need to ask yourself,

If they were so good, why would they still be at a chain?

From what I’ve heard from chains like Fitness First, whilst you may pay $100 per session as a client, the trainer gets $20 per session. Yup.


Why do they still stay rather than venture out on their own?

One reason may just be that they are not that good.

How about those from the gym chains?

Recently I met a friend who had been a fitness trainer with Fitness First. He told me that for the training he had to become certified as a coach (beyond the basic certification he had taken), he had a two week course at Fitness First. And at Fitness First, their test was not how they trained their client.

It was how they closed the sale.

I say it again.

It was how they sold, not how successful they were with coaching someone’s fitness.

He felt like a fraud when he eventually had to sell clients $100 per training session, when all he had was two weeks of training.

If you’re looking for a coach…

Look no further.

For someone who’s won Mr World Singapore 2020, it’s testament to the skill he brings to the table.



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