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Personal Trainer | Samantha’s Journey

Hi everybody, I am Samantha, Personal trainer for Team UAF, and this is my boring/awesome (you decide, but please be nice!) fitness journey that I am sharing with you.

From a young age, I’ve always been interested in martial arts but didn’t exactly know which one I wanted to try until the TV series, “The Contender Asia” came on. It was only then that I knew I had to sign up for Muay Thai lessons at the Community Centre. I practiced it for about a year and gave it up after some bad decisions I’ve made in dating. A year into the relationship, I realized that I had given up too much and decided that I’d be better off if I had ended it. While it was easy to get rid of the emotional baggage, I was still plagued by the physical one – the massive amount of weight that I had put on during the relationship. (how many of you experience this?) I really wanted to get back in shape and get back into Muay Thai again. Muay Thai training was different this time as I gradually started training for fights. On top of the usual pad work, I was introduced to strength training and a bit of cross-fit. The change in my own physique planted a seed of interest in personal training, but I didn’t do anything with that thought at that time as I was busy with my final year in school.

Stepping into the working world, I stopped Muay Thai training because of time, work was an entire different level of stress. I depended solely on Muay Thai to keep my weight in check and because I stopped it, my weight went back up. I did not watch my diet AT ALL. I was overeating and going for fast food at least once a week and my concept of sugar intake was misconstrued. I had stopped the fizzies and went for the supposedly “healthier option” of green tea (with sugar) and carton fruit juices. At 70kg, this was the heaviest I’ve ever been and I never thought of doing anything about it until I started experiencing chest pains for about 2 weeks. Back then, I was assisting doctors in the hospital with their research on coronary stents and seeing scans of patients with clogged arteries made me wonder how bad were mine. I was eventually admitted to the A&E while I was at work. Fortunately, it was a false alarm, but I recognized that if I had continued living like that, coupled with the fact that I had a borderline high cholesterol panel, I would definitely end up with a real one in time to come.

That pushed me to take my first steps in diet adjustments. Drinks with hidden sugars were the first to go. I reduced my fast food intake to once a month, stopped snacking and began controlling my carb intake (I was a very hungry person and always went for at least 2 servings of carbs to keep me full). I started counting my calories and swapped carbs for protein. I wasn’t exercising at that time and despite that, I lost about 5kg in 3 months. Soon after, a friend of mine invited me to do a half-marathon with her in Gold Coast, Australia. Running 21km was a huge feat for me as I never liked running. I trained 3 times a week, and because of that, my weight decreased even further. In a year, I had lost 13kg. My cholesterol panel reversed to the healthy ranges and clothes shopping actually became enjoyable.

Through my personal experience, I was convinced that I didn’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of money on things that do not work – slimming pills, creams, wraps, diet plans that are not sustainable etc. Very often, people don’t know where to start or what to do because they are misled by hearsay, the things they read online or guaranteed solutions to weight loss offered by Product X that promises minimal effort on one’s own part. I really wanted to show the misguided that weight loss is possible and sustainable through lifestyle changes. My interest in becoming a personal trainer grew, but I couldn’t get started as I was in the middle of a career transition and I wasn’t sure if I could commit to a 3-month long course.

The new job that I landed myself in was a demanding one. I hardly had time to work out, let alone sleep. Sleeping anywhere above 5 hours was a bonus as the nature of the job required me to work round the clock. I was extremely depressed when the hard work I had put in to keep the weight off crept back in. On some days, I went without food during the day as I didn’t have the appetite to eat and it pretty much messed up my metabolism. All the important things I needed to stay healthy – sleep, exercise, proper diet wasn’t even in place. I even contemplated the purpose of my existence as I didn’t feel like I was living at all. Finally, I decided to resign and sought a job that gave me time to live the way I wanted.

Thankfully, I was blessed enough to find a job that gave me personal time after work. The colleagues there were also a positive influence as they believed in the importance of an active lifestyle. We would sometimes go to the gym together, and there was a form of unspoken accountability to make sure that I was hitting the gym weekly. After shelving my plans of attending the ACE-CPT course for 4 years (or more), I finally got started on it. Mid-way through the course, a friend introduced me to Jovin, founder of Urban Active Fitness, who gave me the opportunity to work as a personal trainer.  Together with the other experienced trainers, they have helped me in preparation for my ACE-CPT exam as I sought guidance with practice questions I had doubts with. I worked hard at it for 3 months, attended evening lessons at the International Sports Academy (ISA) 2 to 3 times a week, and revised the content on days when there were no lessons. The hard work paid off; I not only passed but was also one of the top scorers in the class.

After attending the ACE-CPT course, I wasn’t only interested in weight loss. I wanted to build muscle not just for aesthetics reasons but for functional ones as well.  During the course, the tutor’s sharing on how physically inactive people start to lose muscle mass past the age of 30 at a rate of 3 to 5% per decade left a very deep impression. Before, I’ve always thought that the loss of muscle mass is part of the aging process and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it. It wasn’t until the course that I realized that strength training can prevent muscle imbalances that are commonly associated with aging (i.e. backaches) and that it can play a big role in preventing falls and the many secondary complications resulting from it.

Yes, so this is my story. I hope you’ve managed to stick around, and no I don’t blame you if you’ve decided to skip through the chunk of it to read just the last paragraph. To sum it all up, I’ve taken many detours and trial and error to know what works and what doesn’t to end up where I am today. This is what I’ve learnt so far from my fitness journey:

  1. Walk away from people who force you to give up on your interests and compromise way too much on your beliefs.
  2. Always prioritize your health. You’re nothing without it.
  3. You are responsible for your own happiness. Not happy with the way things are? Do something different to experience changes. It may not always be the right decision, but at least you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want or do not want in your life.
  4. There are no short cuts to weight loss. Sustainable weight loss involves effort and discipline but it can be done without starving yourself.
  5. Learn to enjoy the process. Be patient and track your progress as you go along. When you don’t get the result you want, be honest and ask yourself what exactly is it that you have not done right? Is it your diet? Are you under training or over training? Are you getting enough rest?
  6. Plan ahead. Invest in yourself today by living healthily. Watch your diet and be active. Your future self will thank you for it.

Want to have personal training done at the convenience of your home, or Condo gym? Engage Samantha toady for an awesome Muaythai or Kickboxing session!

“I feel fitter, toner and sexier in so many ways, I am so happy with the changes.”

Kirstie’s transformation in a just a month!

I had 4 different personal trainers in the past. After many unsuccessful transformation attempts; slimming pills, diet plans and even joined a slimming centre, I felt jaded as nothing seemed to work.

I was persuaded to give it a final shot, that is when Jovin my personal trainer turned my attempts to success. Jovin listened patiently and told me that his training approach may sound unorthodox to me (given what I tried), it will however give me sustainable results and all I had to do was to trust him.

His favourite line “If something works, you would feel and see within 2 weeks. Else somethings got to change.”

We trained thrice a week. For the first time, my tummy area started toning up the way I wanted, my arms got leaner, my core felt stronger, my back muscles are tighter giving me a better posture – these were achieved within 3 weeks of training.

Every session was a different set of challenges and Jovin would tweak my diet every week. His diet plan was for me to make small impactful changes. I feel fitter, toner and sexier in so many ways, I am so happy with the changes.

Thank you Jovin for helping me achieve what I deem was unachievable and making me feel confident again. You are an awesome personal trainer and I look forward to our next workout.

Trainer Spotlight

“My clients are a reflection of my success as a Personal Trainer.”

“I owe my result to – diet, training and a good personal trainer.”

Laurence’s 4-month prep into competition.

My intent was to be ready for a local competition. Unlike my competitors, who had single-digit body fat percentages, my 21% body fat meant that I needed to work extra hard before the competition.

I was clueless about cardio, macro nutrition, and my weight training programme was a mess. For a while I tried to follow random fitness celebrities’ workouts on YouTube, until I was introduced to Tim from UAF.

I was apprehensive at first, as I heard stories about personal trainers making you sign up for a packages, then blaming you for not following the diet when the programme didn’t work.

However, Tim was different. He was patient, kind and very reasonable. He designed my training programme and diet, and the workouts were fun and full of variety.

We shared our meal plans which I very much enjoyed the process. When I ate badly, he would “fine” me with 50 burpees, 100 push-ups and 200 squats continuously without rest. I could never forget that punishment!

I learnt that mind-muscle connection is key to developing stubborn body parts, which really helped in maximising every single training session. I discovered proper lifting form and techniques and how to avoid injuries while training. I could feel my chest muscles hardening up and see lines appearing on my abs which I never have before! This journey was not only fulfilling, but also boosted my self-confidence.

After a few weeks of training, I could already see how my body is transforming. I followed my diet plan, my cardio programme was well balanced and my body fat was heading below 10%. Each time I looked in the mirror, I became more motivated, and eventually I became the best (physically) version of myself.

Trainer Spotlight

“Never do the same and expect more! Keep challenging yourself mentally and physically to be a better version of yourself.”

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Michelle’s proud transformation over half a year.

I recently attended my high school reunion and my friends were pleasantly surprised that I look healthier and more vibrant than in my teens.

I have the body type of an apple shaped endomorph and pretty much grew up as a pudgy teenager. It took hard work and persistence on both my and personal trainer, Jovin’s part – coupled with conscientious substitution of bad foods for good ones.

Jovin’s PT services are personalised; he comes in with a plan and we will follow through until we achieve the first goal then moved on to the next.

There are still times when I look at the mirror and wondered if this is really me. Through this partnership, I have conquered three vertical marathons (top 25 percentile) and the Spartan Race.

It’s been a great journey, and I’m looking forward to more healthy years to come. If you are serious about a positive change in your life, Jovin will lead you every step of the way with his contagious passionfor training and life.

I have been training with Jovin for over 6 years, and I would recommend him to anyone looking to develop healthy habits and aesthetics.

Trainer Spotlight

“It’s never too late to start."

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

Issac’s 180 degree change in his lifestyle in 4 months.

I used to spend a lot of time at work, leading to late-night supper and drinks. It was an unhealthy lifestyle and I felt out of shape.

I was introduced to my trainer Tim, who is very knowledgeable about diet, especially calorie manipulation. When my bodyfat% was stagnant, he was able to come up with different dieting techniques that are effective in reducing my bodyfat%.

He makes dieting fun and easy to follow, which was something I really appreciate as I can’t possibly eat pre-cooked meals every single day.

There are also days I eat with my colleagues, family and friends. I always feel bad after these social obligations. However, Tim was always able give the right advice to make me feel better emotionally. Plus, all the consistency in training and dieting has really paid off.

Trainer Spotlight

“Your whole body is made in the kitchen!”

“In 6 months, I went from 120kg to 85kg.”

George's most impactful birthday gift.

Being born an endomorph did not deter me from trying to keep in the best shape I can. I have tried every diet trend, from ketogenic, Atkins, and vegetarian to Weight Watchers diets. I even committed to jogging every day for 30-45mins, core training, lifting weights, and even signing up for spinning classes. But no matter how hard I tried, I was still unable to change my physique.

I felt demoralised and fell back into snacking and old habits of supper. Sleep deprivation from work made things worse and my energy level was at its all-time low.

My wife decided to sign me up for a personal training package as my birthday gift and that was when I met my PT, Jovin.

Jovin laid out a game plan for us, which consists of short to long-term goals. The first 3 weeks were all experimental. The training was fun, progressive and challenging at the same time. Jovin was so committed that he would wake up at 6 am to text and ensure that I do my fasted cardio before breaking fast.

All my workouts were recorded and we knew exactly what worked and what didn’t. We used a food log as well to track my macros.

It was an enjoyable and fulfilling journey, and every session was a new learning experience.

We measured my body fat % and stats every month, and I am so glad to see each measurement improve. I started sleeping well as I was able to channel my stress through my workouts. In 6 months, I went from 120kg to 85kg.

Most importantly, I believe I am able to sustain my physique because I really enjoy this new lifestyle. If you are looking for a trainer in Singapore who knows his stuff, Jovin is your go-to fitness trainer.

Trainer Spotlight

“The biggest challenge is taking the first step.”


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“I can’t believe that was me in the past.”

Jimmy's Body Transformation in 5 Months.

I needed a quick fix on my lifestyle and body. I was recommended to my personal trainer Jovin by a friend.

The entire process of my fitness journey was exciting as we do progressive measurements every 3 weeks, analysing of my bodyfat % and pictures, he was meticulous on which part of my body was progressing well, and which part needed more attention.

By the 3rd month I could see my chest and arms becoming more defined. By the 5th month when we compared the earlier pictures, I couldn’t believe that was me in the past and the new me was also in a way unbelievable for me, my confidence grew and my lifestyle has changed.

I manage to cut out alcohol and got into a good and balance diet regime with “cheat meals” catered as well, overall, very balanced and positively reinforcing. It shows that a good fat loss diet is not just about eating boiled chicken breast and many eggs for every meal.

Trainer Spotlight

“Dieting is not about chicken breast and eggs only!”

“Weight loss happens with the right nutrition & training.”

Malvika's Weight Loss in 2 Months.

Having just move into Singapore and surrounded by all the good food, I gained a lot of weight to the point that I find it hard to fit into all my dresses.

I tried working at different gyms, experienced some weight loss but somehow aesthetically I couldn’t change how my stomach looked.

Got desperate and decide to google for personal trainers and by luck found Urban Active Fitness and was paired with Jovin! His workouts are planned in phases, with proper structure and progression.

The training has a good mixture of fun and toughness injected, I look forward to all my workouts with Jovin and most importantly he helped me with my nutrition, which I felt contributed to my transformation.

Thank you Jovin for transforming how I look and also my eating habits.

Trainer Spotlight

“Variety is still the spice of life.”

“At 43, I am looking my best.”

Matthew's Transformation in 6 Months.

Juggling between 3 kids, a bank job, and plenty of stress, going to a gym was out of the question for me. Having a personal trainer come to my condo gym to train me was the only option available to me.

Jovin went the extra mile for me, even staying an extra 30mins after my session ended to make sure I finish my 30mins cardio session.

We did this thrice a week and he also held me accountable on days I don’t train to do 45mins cardio. I was clocking in 3 weights session and 5 cardio sessions a week with varying intensity.

Every meal I ate was eyeballed, he would explain why I needed to cut down on certain choices and giving me great alternatives for eating lunch around my office area. His efforts are proportionate to my transformation goal.

At 43, I am looking my best.

Trainer Spotlight

“Prioritize your time, use it on your health and you will thank yourself later!”

“I am able to stay fit purposefully on track now.”

Aileen's Transformation in 8 Months.

During my pregnancy, I put on about 30kg. When I looked into the mirror, I felt horrible, I had no clue how I was ever going to get back in shape.

I was matched with Gecelia of Urbanactivefitness. The first few weeks of training was challenging and tough. I felt like giving up so many times, but Gecelia was by my side the whole journey.

On non-training days she would text me, or call me to check on me which I really appreciate. She always knows what to say to boost my motivation and keep me on track. She even made her signature overnight oats for me.

Ultimately, I am able to stay purposefully on track and started losing my pre-pregnancy weight and bodyfat %.

I have regained my body shape, couldn’t have done it without her help. Thank you Urbanactivefitness and Gec!

Trainer Spotlight

“Going the extra mile for my client also reap heaps of rewards for me.”

“Training is challenging and I have really come to enjoy it.”

Bryan's Transformation in 3 Months.

I met Jeremy 3 months ago when I realised my fitness level had gone down after struggling to breathe from playing with my son. I decided that I must do something about it before it gets worse.

Jeremy is the nicest and most patient person I have met, always very attentive to my training form, and checks on my mental condition during training.

His training is everchanging, there was never 1 session that was completely the same as the previous one.

He is creative in coming up with effective yet challenging exercises that I really come to enjoy. He is also well-versed in Sports massage and have occasionally help me release tightness in my neck and shoulder.

I highly recommend Jeremy as a PT.

Trainer Spotlight

“You are your own biggest challenge.”

“Training correctly has helped me achieve a better physique at 44.”

Peter's Transformation in 5 Months.

I look forward to every PT session with Shaun, he is knowledgeable, patient and passionate about helping me change my physique.

I had a few personal trainers before, but when I met Shaun, he was meticulous and able to correct on all my lifting techniques. These small yet impactful changes in my training techniques have gotten me stronger and enable me to achieve a better physique at 44.

He was also helpful with nutrition guidance and on the days, I travel for work, he will take the effort to do video calls with me to ensure I am training, and not skipping my cardio sessions.

Highly recommend Shaun to anyone looking for a committed personal trainer.

Trainer Spotlight

“Consistency is KEY.”

UAF Annual Grand Slam 2023

UAF Team Photoshoot