Athleticism is not a one-size-fits-all game. It comes in many forms, from top athletes to fitness gurus, and then there’s me. Can I call myself a fitness freak? I do go to the gym at least five days a week (if that qualifies), but the problem is complacency. I do not push myself to do anything remotely tough (I’ve not moved from lifting more than 4-8kg of weights in ten years).
My BMI is ideal and I don’t feel the need to change my body vastly, but I require a structured fitness plan that would get my overall health back on track. Why? I’m prediabetic and my doctor told me: slim does not always mean fit — pay attention to the fat inside.
This health concern took me to The Lab at StudioRepublik, a state-of-the-art fitness hub, where I booked to go through a K8 body composition and functional movement assessment, diet consultation, a personal training session, and a physiotherapy consultation — all in one day. The Lab has been devised to optimise integrated wellness, combining prehab, rehab, nutrition and personal training to ensure clients are in their peak condition, both physically and mentally.
It all started with a functional movement assessment with Dayna Kendall-Ball, Movement Specialist. “It’s just basic screening before you go in-depth,” she says, putting me at ease. My overall movement pattern is tested — this includes imbalances, areas of restriction, instability, tightness in the joints and core control. It involves exercises such as squats, lunges, and leg raises. I knew I was pathetic, but Dayna reassures me, saying, “You didn’t score a zero in anything.” Not very consoling!
Recommendation: I’m told to work on my awareness and correct muscle engagement, and that I should add mobility to my routine and try to be strong and stable in challenging positions.
This is followed by the body composition assessment with a two machines — a Fit3D scanner and Bod Pod. Fit3D’s ProScanner creates a 360-degree, 3D digital avatar of you complete with measurements and body composition stats, in a quick 40 seconds. All you have to do is step onto the platform, adjust the handles, and hold onto the buttons to allow the scan to start. The most important measurements are then mapped out onto your 3D image.
The Bod Pod is an egg-shaped screening device that also measures body composition. Once you’re say inside, it uses air displacement to precisely measure your weight, body fat percentage and fat-free mass. It’s considered so highly accurate that it can measure even minuscule changes in your body fat, muscles, bones and organs.
How does one prepare for the screening? Wear minimal form-fitting clothing — bathing suit, sports bra, leggings or tight shorts. Then, you get the data on email. It shows your weight, of course, alongside measurements — hips, waist, thighs, arms, body fat percentage, and so on. My results weren’t perfect and the image of my 3D avatar looked a bit disturbing!
All of this detailed information can motivate people to improve their fitness goals. On the one hand, I love the idea of having these objective measurements to track progress, but I also know that this revelation is going to cause serious obsession.
After this, I sit down for a very detailed diet consultation with Kathryn Stewart, Dietitian. She patiently listens to my concerns, asks me questions and doesn’t make me feel guilty about my bad indulgences. Her diet plans are not aimed at making you quit what you love, but exercising moderation. She breaks everything down to calories, recommends a 500kcal a day deficit, and tells me how to go about it.
Next in line is my personal training session with Ivo Lipovski, Personal Trainer. By now, I’m resigned to the fact that I need help, so I don’t resist any pain he puts me through. “You can abuse me, I’m used to it,” he says.
I go through rounds of ball squeezes, resistance band kicks, squats against the wall with the ball, planks, superman fly, bench raises and steps up. I huff and puff, but get through it all while trying to maintain a smile. Towards the end, I’m at my happiest. The reason: I have always resisted pull-ups and push-ups, blaming my weak forearms. When I’m pushed to do it — albeit with resistance bands — I can manage three sets of ten reps in each exercise.
My final session is a physiotherapy consultation with Jacek Wozniakowski. I told him about the problems I experience when I work out. My issue is mostly stiffness and a little lack of flexibility that restricts movement. He tries to explore the behaviour of my symptoms, what aggravates or eases them, and then he provides advice with an indication of the nature of the problem. With all of that done, he arrives at a diagnosis and recommends some exercises. He explains and shows how they are done, including a few exercises at the specialised gym for rehabilitation of injured athletes.
As I am preparing to leave, I’m shown around the entire facility. I realise what they mean when they say it is “an immersive, state-of-the-art environment where you can lose yourself — and discover a whole new you.”
StudioRepublik combines complete wellness services with performing arts and music studios, group exercise programmes and an all-day restaurant.
A few years ago, going to the gym was a necessary inconvenience. You would get in, do your workout and leave as quickly as possible. With a more immersive approach to fitness — moving beyond the physical and tapping into your sense of sight, sound, feel and even taste — it’s a place you want to hang out.
If you are someone who finds yourself checking the time during your gym sessions, this experience might be for you. It is impossible to get bored when there is so much sensory stimulation going on!