updated 24 Feb 2013, 07:32
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Thu, Nov 22, 2012
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Speedy women-only workouts
by Jacqueline Woo

SINGAPORE - Too busy to exercise? A local gymnasium may just have the ideal riposte to that excuse.

Portuguese fitness brand Vivafit is offering a speedy 30-minute women-only circuit programme at its three gymnasiums - located in Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar and Beach Road.

The programme combines hydraulic machines and recovery platforms to provide an intensive exercise session that caters perfectly to the working woman.

Ordinarily, such fitness sessions would take about an hour.

Vivafit offers other fitness classes - like Body Vive (a workout similar to aerobics), Body Balance (a mixture of yoga, taiji and pilates) and Sh'Bam (a dance-fitness class similar to Zumba) - that also clock in at a quick 30 minutes.

It offers a pilates class which takes slightly longer, at 45 minutes.

Said general manager Cecile Jamoulle-Ogren: "Everybody's busy in Singapore, more than anywhere else in the world, and there always seems to be a good reason for not going to the gym."

With these compact sessions, she said that "there is hardly any more excuse to not exercise".

The 30-minute sessions are sufficient to improve muscle tone, residency and strength; cardio-vascular resistance; bone density; and energy.

Each session also helps one to shed an average of 350 calories.

On top of that, Vivafit gyms cater to a women-only clientele, which offers an unintimidating environment for workouts.

According to Ms Jamoulle- Ogren, the exclusivity allows women to work out in the comfort of a sisterhood, "without bothering about how uncoordinated they might look in front of members of the opposite sex".

In addition, the lack of mirrors in the workout area minimises the self-conscious factor.

She added: "Some members would be a little intimidated in traditional gyms where there are mirrors and they spot someone who is very slim, compared to themselves."

Staff and instructors - all women - know every member by name, so "it's a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere the members come into".

"We're trying to target women who would be too scared to go to a traditional gym," explained Ms Jamoulle-Ogren.

"Here, when a member comes in, she's at home."

For 29-year-old stockbroker Justina Yeow, Vivafit's all-ladies environment allows her to focus on getting fit.

Ms Yeow, who frequents the gymnasium four times a week, compared it to other gyms where "gorgeous girls who look so pretty with make-up on" train.

"Over here, you don't have to impress anyone. It's no-frills, and (the atmosphere) is more relaxing," she said.

The half-hour visit is not difficult for her to commit to, despite her busy work schedule.

Likewise for Ms Kavitha Dasari, 43, who visits the gymnasium every day during lunch.

She finds the short 30-minute workout ideal, especially as it fits into her lunchtime.

"After work, I usually go home to my children. I'm too lazy to go for long jogs, and my weekends are for spending time with my family," explained the quantity surveyor.

Since joining Vivafit in April last year, Ms Dasari's diabetic condition has taken a turn for the better, freeing her from the pain she used to feel.

"Now, if I don't go for two weeks (of gym sessions), I feel mildly uncomfortable," she said.

Vivafit membership fees range from $68 to $168, excluding a one-time joining fee of $140.

Contact Vivafit Raffles Place on 6536-3360, Vivafit Tanjong Pagar on 6226-3630 and Vivafit Beach Road on 6336-0867.

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