Let’s face it—you hardly ever need all the fluff that come with that thousand-dollar gym membership. If your New Year resolution is to take your fitness level several notches higher, these no-pain-no-gain regimes get the job done—and they don’t even involve the A/Cs.  


Not for the faint-hearted, Crossfit is the strength and conditioning program du jour for military academies, special operations units and martial artists. Each hour-long session can involve everything short of climbing buildings—gymnastics, squats, rowing, running­—each carefully timed and scored. Unlike most other classes where all you get from slacking off is a meek frown, this one takes motivation to a whole new level. If the next person’s grunting doesn’t set you off, someone shouting, “Oh come on, that’s pathetic!” from across the room will. 
$225-275 per month at the Reebok Crossfit Enduro Box.

Kettlebell Training

For the uninitiated, kettlebell lifting is a sport—and by that we mean there are actual competitions, such as the New York Open Kettlebell Sport Championships happening in April. It involves using cannonball-like cast iron weights to perform ballistic exercises. A pro kettlebell lifter is expected to do this for 10 minutes without putting the weight down, engaging the entire body in the same cardio, flexibility and strength training you’d get from working on a farm. It’s not easy—each kettlebell weighs 24-32 kilograms—but the swinging probably makes this the most fun out of the three regimes.
A Kettlebells 101 course ($450) is conducted by the Integrated Training Institute at various venues islandwide.

Strongman Training

If your main aim is to get strong, dragging incredibly heavy loads across a distance as a regime—shockingly simple as it may sound—is probably your best bet. The training involves quite a bit of kettlebell lifting (how many overhead swings can you do in 45 seconds?) but the main element of strongman is tire flipping. That’s 200-250 kilograms per flip (and seven flips without stopping if you’re in a competition). Check out the next Strongman Challenge (starts Feb 24, 10am at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub Atrium) to psych yourself up before your first session at AlphaFit. With its sleds, logs, yokes and tires, this fuss-free gym is probably the best equipped in town for strongman training. 
$45 per drop-in class at AlphaFit.


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The founder of Scandinavian lifestyle brand Style:Nordic recently wrote CAN!, a book about being an entrepreneur in Singapore. He talks to Hidayah Salamat about starting over and being in love with life.

When I landed in Singapore, my first impression of the city state was that it was cosmopolitan, abundant and warm.

When the first container carrying my Style:Nordic products and private stuff arrived at the harbor, I cried. I was so excited about the new life I was about to start.

I didn’t have a book to show at my own book launch! The printer couldn’t make it in time so I had to present with flash cards bearing quotes from the book.

“Stay calm and bide your time” has got to be the worst advice anyone has ever given me. I can understand it, but as an entrepreneur, I’d rather do something about the situation.

I don’t have an actual bucket list, but I definitely want to have more experiences, both in business and relationships.

I don’t leave home without my phone, keys, wallet, good spirit and a smile on my lips.

I think the education system in Singapore follows too much of a “stuffing a sausage” kind of style. Instead of giving students a context with which they can relate to in their learning, they just teach you stuff without explaining how best to apply it.

I’ve already showcased Scandinavian design in Singapore; now I want to do it the other way round—show Europe what Singapore is about!, my first impression of the city state was that it was cosmopolitan, abundant and warm.

I get annoyed by people who aren’t curious and willing to see things in a new perspective. In today’s society, we all need to be open-minded and receptive to changes. I think Singaporeans are generally more open than Europeans.

I had surgery last July that made me understand I’m not going to live forever. A month later, my dad passed away. 2012 wasn’t an easy year, but I still love life.

Even if you plan things and projects right down to the minute, you never know what’s going to happen.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. But if you do make resolutions, you should stick to them. Be decisive. Own them and earn them!

I measure personal success by how much I can share it with others... the more, the merrier.

People who do something with their ideas are very admirable. We always learn something by acting on our ideas, for better or for worst.

I usually fall for someone who’s got a bigger brain than mine, someone I can learn from and have discussions about life with. Also, someone who can make me smile. 

I’ve decided to move back to Sweden. I talked about it in my book but in a nutshell, I was starting to get the “been there, done that” feeling.

Being kind and honest is really quite underrated in today’s society.


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Get on the Windows 8 bandwagon with these convertible laptops.

Lenka’s “Everything at Once” may be annoying as the soundtrack of the Windows 8 TVC, but you’ve got to admit it’s apt. Microsoft’s most exciting development yet not only offers speedy startup time, a dreamy software backup feature and a dynamic desktop interface that rivals Android, it’s also brought on these genius hybrids that do the jobs of both a laptop and a tablet better than each can do on its own.

HP Envy x2   

11.6” LED-backlit IPS display | 1.4kg | Up to 64GB SSD hard drive storage | Intel Atom 1.80GHz processor | Windows 8
At 2cm thick when attached, this tablet-keyboard combo isn’t the most portable around, but its sleek build and NFC technology score it points. Switching from laptop to tablet is quick as a snap: just slide the magnetic latch on the keyboard dock and you’re set. The battery, which supposedly lasts 14 hours, drains from the keyboard portion first before touching the slate.

$1,099 from Best Denki

Samsung ATIV Smart PC

11.6” PLS display | 878g without keyboard | 128GB SSD hard drive storage | Intel Core i5 processor | Windows 8

Just when we thought there was truly no match for the iPad, along comes a contender. Similar to the ASUS Transformer (another convertible laptop not yet available here), the ATIV is a handheld PC that still weighs close to nothing when the clamshell keyboard is hinged to it. There’s no retina display but if you belong to the mobile office camp, you’ll love it—it runs really smoothly and stays cool despite constant use.

$1,149-1,299 not including keyboard ($189) from Newstead

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13  

13.3” IPS display | 1.54kg | 128GB SSD hard drive storage | Intel Core i7 processor | Windows 8

While a little too wide to be the most portable tablet around, the Yoga 13 makes a fine laptop. It’s relatively small and light, has a knock-resistant rubberized chassis, and smoothly converts to a tent (for when you want to watch the news while scoffing down your breakfast). Lucky for us, the make with the fastest processor is available in Singapore.

$1,899 from Newstead


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With gyms so fancy they feel like home, there's no reason to put off those New Year resolutions.

Celebrity Fitness

Celebrity Fitness’s pioneer outlet in Rochester Park gives you great views of greenery from the treadmill. It’s also equipped with impressive facilities, including top-security lockers (accessible only with your membership card), as well as cardio machines with built-in personal TV and high-speed Internet. If you’re sick of your regular routine, we recommend their Floating Yoga (they’re the first to introduce it in Singapore), peloton spinning and myriad aerobics classes.

Pure Fitness Asia Square

If you’re looking for convenience, check out this swanky and practically faultless facility in Marina Bay. The huge shower and locker rooms provide everything from fluffy towels to full workout attire. There’re four Macs set up by the reception table so you can check in on work during lunch hour, as well as an impressive library of DVDs for rent. The cardio area overlooks the magnificent cityscape, but the real jaw-droppers are the indoor training pool, a 4 by 35m track and the MMA Zone, fondly known as “The Cage”.

Sky Fitness

They can’t seem to pamper you enough here—you’ve got views of Sentosa and Mount Faber, a relatively comprehensive array of free weights, a spa, a child-minding facility, a health food cafe, and get this: a concierge service. That’s right—you can get your laundry picked up, next flight booked and movie seats reserved while you work those abs. If that doesn’t motivate you, their in-house training programs—one of which is golf conditioning—should do the trick, as should their dance and yoga classes.

Verita Gym

It’s a regular gym, but because it’s situated within the Verita Advanced Wellness center, it’s one of our top picks. As a member of the center, you get access to not just the gym facilities, but also a host of other services that improve your well-being. The fact that it’s located in a quiet patch right off Orchard already scores it points, but the yoga, pilates and TRX classes, massages, high-tech therapies (including one in a salt cave), as well as an aroma bar make it a real gem.


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Together with partner Fadhli Kamarudin, Hendra Rosa set up Green Messengers Singapore, an environmentally friendly courier company, which delivers documents, packages, letters and food by bicycle.

How did Green Messengers come about?

I talked to a childhood friend and cycling buddy of mine about it for years, but it only took off when I was back in school studying finance and got acquainted with my classmate, now my business partner. I was complaining about how bad the courier service provider was for the bank I was working in. It was then that we decided to set up Green Messengers. 

Why do you think no one thought of this before here?
Leonardo Da Vinci said, “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough, we must do.” I’m very sure tons of people have thought of this, but we're the first to make it happen.

What is it with Singapore not having proper cycling paths? 
I understand that the government mentions the park connectors as cycling paths, but they don’t serve the same purpose—using the connectors for daily commute may result in much longer routes. We have plans to work with the proper authorities to construct a feasible platform for cyclists and drivers to commute on the same roads safely. 

What are the pros and cons of working as a bike messenger?
Nothing is better than doing the job you love. But the paradox is, a chore is still a chore. There’s also the possibility that the traffic can and will kill you.


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The city’s newest hotel spas will make you yearn for a staycation.

Away Spa
With rainforest-inspired decor and a jacuzzi area soaked in aglowing purple hue, the Away Spa isn’t somewhere you’ll forget in a hurry. The nine guest rooms and suites here, each equipped with its own private plunge pool, are perfect for anyone feeling burnt out in the run-up to Christmas. The spa menu is basic with single massage ($250 for 90 minutes) and facial ($220 for 90 minutes) options, but book a Smooth Sensation body polish ($75 for 30 minutes) or even their Coast to Coast regeneration therapy ($140 for 60 minutes)—said to reduce cellulite appearance and water retention—and you should be set.

Estheva Spa
Having been named one of Condé Nast Traveler’s Best City Spas to Visit in 2011, Estheva Spa is easily the best luxury day spa in town. Its recently opened flagship outlet in Raffles Hotel boasts fresh flowers, calming pastels and grand chandeliers, making you feel like you’re a guest in Martha Stewart’s home (no, not the prison cell, the other one). Estheva’s signature treatments are carried out in large, plush spa suites; try their renowned Choc De- Ager ($355 for 150 minutes), an anti-aging treatment that’s said to possess mood-boosting properties, or their Christmas Magic Scrub with Personalised Massage (12 options available; $210 for 110 minutes).

The Spa Artisan
This one is by the folks behind Aramsa, The Garden Spa and is located in the CBD area—great for 9-to-5ers. The main draws are the Red Flower treatments—using 100 percent natural and organic ingredients—which include hammam (Turkish bath) rituals ($350 for 150 minutes). It’s small but cozy, with fresh wall creepers in the hallways, swing seats and a dimly-lit lounge area. There are some quirky elements here too, like the aptly-named nail spa Pedi Field, as well as an aromatherapy bar where you can blend your own treatment oils.

St. Gregory
The fifth home of this award-winning hotel spa chain is at Pan Pacific Orchard and it’s an earthy and tranquil space inspired by the ocean. Though it’s small, with only four treatment rooms, a foot reflexology room and a luxuriously Zen suite, its hush, intimate vibe makes you feel as if you’ve escaped somewhere far away from the city. One treatment unique to this branch is the St. Gregory Hot and Cold Stone Music Therapy Booster ($190 for 75 minutes), a massage which helps calm the mind, rebalance energy and ease aches and muscle tension. With an extensive spa menu of over 40 treatments, there’s bound to be something to remedy any ailment and melt away stress. 


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