At Work

Good business in fitness

By Nevash Nair

Did you know obesity and being overweight are linked to more deaths worldwide than being underweight?

According to the World Health Organisation, being overweight or obese is the fifth leading risk for deaths around the world, with 2.8 million adults dying as a result each year.

In addition, 44% of diabetes, 23% of the ischaemic heart disease and between 7% and 41% of certain cancers are attributable to obesity.

In 2010, more than 40 million children under five were overweight. Once considered a problem for high-income countries, obesity is now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.

Close to 35 million overweight children are living in developing countries (Malaysia is considered a developing country) and eight million in developed countries.

Closer to home, the number of obese adult Malaysians has grown to approximately 2.6 million with 5.8 million Malaysians suffering from hypertension compared with 4.2 million six years ago.

On Monday, The Star reported that the Health Ministry is looking towards promoting healthy living by rewarding Malaysians who stay fit and could adapt an incentive-based system to encourage this habit.

MetroBiz looks at boutique fitness studios that have been mushrooming in the city that use unique methods to help the average Malaysian live a healthy lifestyle.

Sexy Fitness

The term pole dancing has always had a negative image across the globe. Before the mid-2000s, pole dancing has always been associated with exotic dancers, but promoters of the dance form have been trying to change perception and promote it as a legitimate form of dance and acrobatics.

Established dancer and choreographer Maple Loo introduced Bobbi’s Pole Studio, an Australian franchise that focuses on a new genre of fitness for women in Malaysia. Dubbed “sexy fitness”, Loo says pole dancing provides strength and flexibility.

“Dance and fitness are quite different and both offer different benefits depending on one’s goals. If you want build core strength and a sexy well-toned feminine physique through a body-weight bearing workout that incorporates a large element of dance, then pole dancing classes will deliver the fastest results,” said Loo who has been performing since she was 13 years old.

She started her career in professional dancing at 19 when she performed at Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina’s Kit Kat Klub. Soon after, she became a choreographer for Ning Baizura, Fauziah Latiff, Amy Mastura, Ziana Zain and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.

Loo initially invested RM100, 000 to start the studio and to date she has had approximately 300 students. Class fees are RM550 per person per term (two months) and students are aged between 18 and 53. Loo plans to open a second studio in the near future as the response to pole dancing fitness has been overwhelming.

Loo said age should not be a barier for women who want to live a healthy lifestyle and pole dancing is not strictly for females alone.

Total Resistance Exercise

Total Resistance Exercise (TRX) suspension training was born of necessity with the US Navy SEALs. TRX founder and inventor Randy Hetrick spent 14 years serving as a Navy SEAL commando and when his operational career culminated as a squadron commander of the SEAL’s elite special missions unit, circumstances inspired him to experiment with what would become TRX.

A relatively new boutique fitness studio, Backstage Dance & Fitness focuses on TRX training for clients. Its founder, Freida Ooi said TRX provides a unique workout experience withfresh elements.

“You can do plenty of variations and it uses your body weight. TRX is suitable for those looking for a complete workout,” said the 24-year-old who gave up a career in airlines to pursue her dream of being fitness and dance instructor.

Besides TRX, Backstage Dance & Fitness has over 20 classes for clients including samba, zumba, hip hop and yoga. “I started the studio with RM50,000 and used social networking websites to create awareness. I also provided free classes for those who were curious about us,” Ooi added.

Launched earlier this month, Backstage Dance & Fitness has 10 registered students but the aim is to secure 25 students by the end of the year. Classes are priced between RM80 and RM350 depending on the number of classes.

Personalised Training

Situated in Mid Valley City, One-On-One Personal Fitness Studio was established to fill the void left by the advent of numerous fitness franchises and their pursuit for more memberships.

“We did not want to be another commercial entity with exaggerated sales quotas that had little to do with fitness nor did we want to be ill-equipped in terms of providing our clientele with the very best fitness-related facilities and service,” said fitness director Said Alauddin Ahmad Ali.

The 26-year-old teamed up with Sokalingam brothers, Kulasingham, 32 and Patmanaban, 26, and launched One-On-One with an initial investment of RM1mil in May last year.

The trio have a combined total of 23 years of experience in personal training.

“All of us worked as personal trainers previously and we wanted to be result and service orientated, and not just about making a quick buck.

“We started with 80 clients on day one and now we have some 250 clients,” he added. Prices range from RM130 to RM155 per session depending on the clients’ needs.

One-On-One provides individualised fitness programmes designed to help clients reach their goals.

It has no monthly or yearly membership fees and does not lock clients down with commitment contracts.

Currently, One On One Personal Fitness Studio has 10 personal trainers, a majority of who are certified by the Federation Of International Sports, Aerobics & Fitness (FISAF), American Council On Exercise (ACE) and Asian Academy For Sports & Fitness Professionals (AASFP). 70% of their clientel are women and moving forward, the company plans to open a second outlet next year.

Article extracted from The Star Online (Friday July 20, 2012)