Saturday, April 21, 2007

Staying Fit In Style

GONE were those days when working out in a typical gym per se was privy to just one confined segment of the market – the macho type and men only. I happened to be one of them in my much younger days. Since then, evolution of sorts has come a long way and it’s all thanks to an array of tried-and-tested formulas in the one decade or so that has somewhat changed general public perception of a sweaty gym of the past era to what it is today; that is the sleek and modern fitness centre one can never dream of.

While fitness centre compete among them for the slice of the growing market, notwithstanding it is certainly getting more and more congested, particularly so for new players joining the fray and in their attempt to get customers to sign-up as members, there is always a hefty discounted membership price with plenty of ‘complimentary condiments’ like spa, welcome drink, personal coaching, etc. thrown in. Bearing in mind, the one that appeals to the specified target audience is likely to stay for a longer while and possibly with the right business approach, flourish too. With this fast growing trend as can be seen in the yuppies and the retirees or what have we, keeping a regular schedule with one’s favourite fitness centre has certainly become a lifestyle of sorts for many of us.

In bustling Singapore and like many developed cities elsewhere, when people have become more affluent with good income, better lifestyle and with spare cash to spend; most people would yearn to look good. But merely looking good is not just about flaunting on a designer shirt or pants or trying to wear an elegant gown to a party, if all these can fit in just nicely – literally speaking. While we have earned enough to make us live comfortably, we too have to work hard to achieve a good physique. Mind over body, this can even dare a dainty lady who used to shun exercises to run on the treadmill smelling nothing but sweat for she dearly wants to project her physical best or an obese man overcoming his own fear of being mocked at to keep to his schedule with his trainer burning calories in the gym.

Most, if not all in the fitness centre shares one common goal, it is to shed away the excess and re-emerge lean and fit. Heart willing but sometimes mind may not be that willing, there must be some kind of commitment; an absolute resolve to see fruition after a rigorous session and coupled with these, encouragements from friends and relatives definitely play one vital role too. To some, a person’s confidence is largely boosted knowing he or she has already overcome the almost impossible task of achieving a fit physique marvels by many.

So much about changes in present day gym but what makes an ideal fitness centre? Modern time fitness centre is not just about pumping irons or running the treadmills, period. The fitness centre should offer an array of floor exercises offered conducted by trained instructors, yoga, aerobic and boxercise to name a few. Notably, different fitness centres do have their own concoction of exercise therapies which are, well almost the same type but only cleverly named by marketing guru to stimulate people’s interest for a good cause, just like a food menu in a restaurant.

More so for the ladies perhaps, there is always the in-house spa which readily offers body wraps, body scrubs, aromatherapy, massages, facials and waxing services, among many after a tiring schedule. Not wanting to overlook the male segment of the market which is one growing segment though, an innovative fitness centre should spare no effort in chunking out somewhat similar services but of the masculine types.

A state-of-the-art fitness centre should also be equipped with tastefully designed rooms for people to meet, to sip their favourite beverages or snacks or simply laze around reading one’s favourite novel or magazine. It is not only a fitness centre, it should be an integrated centre of sorts that attracts people for varied reasons but keeping fit and healthy is still the key.

Affordability is one criteria but location is just as important, if not even more. One may argue that Singapore is a small place and public transportation is very convenient to almost everywhere in the island but people are likely to choose one that is located in the heart of city which may cost slightly more than one outside the city centre. Easy accessibility prevails in most instances.

Having sleek and most modern machines, nice and cozy corner, assorted range of exercises that may attract people, affordable prices and well-toned instructors always around to guide will still come to naught if the customer service is mediocre at the reception for this is still very much the vulnerable service industry like any hotel or restaurant. If the owner or management of a fitness centre only believes in showing off the best hardware in their equipment and facilities to their customers but paying less attention to the software element in employing friendly and sociably people to handle the customer service department, people are more likely to sign up for one that has a good combination of the good hardware and software.

The combination of each criteria as indicated above should serve a good guide in choosing a choice fitness centre for those who are still pondering. I have made mine that fits my bill or rather my budget; it is Energy One Fitness & Beyond in Safra Club. One last advice before I sign off, once your mind is made up and payment already done, there is not way out now except to make the best out of it for you are doing it for yourself. Stay fit and live healthy!

Writer's Note: This is the 2nd assignment which was vetted by his tutor with this remark, 'Promising but it is an uphill task to get this message across for unknown writer'.