HIIT (high intensity interval training) is increasingly getting popular as people start to realise and understand its benefits. HIIT has already existed in exercise programmes – for example, when you do 10 x 100-metre sprints, that’s HIIT! These days though, gyms offer pure HIIT classes, typically lasting no longer than 30 minutes, eg. Virgin Active Singapore has a class called Thirty HIT. There are HIIT-specific gyms as well, like Ritual.
There is a newly-opened fitness centre in town that offers HIIT as well, in a studio that is uncannily similar to Ritual’s setup. This particular studio is called R.I.O.T. (Redefined Intense Organised Training) and it is part of Revolution, the name of said fitness centre. It created some rife unhappiness in the community as netizens found the format of R.I.O.T. too close to Ritual’s.
I have to admit, when I first saw the R.I.O.T. studio, instantly I felt it really looked like Ritual, with marked out boxes 1 to 10 on a black floor, a white brick wall and equipment laid down the middle. The workout has three different levels too, each about 20 minutes++ long and classes run every half hour.
However, the content of the workouts (ie. specific exercises) is not quite the same. Workouts at R.I.O.T. have a touch of TacFit; not surprising as the one who designed the programme is Julian Tan, ex-Special Ops and Navy SEALS. Ritual’s workouts are planned by Ian Tan and head trainer Shrek.
Here’s a more detailed comparison I did of Ritual vs. R.I.O.T.:
Ritual: Opened on 21 January 2013 by MMA fighter Brad Robinson and strength & conditioning coach Ian Tan
Ritual: 30 minutes in and out – that’s the Ritual concept. You book your class through their website, turn up and get workout attire that is provided (no need for shoes), smash the 20-minute workout, get showered quickly and grab a protein shake on your way out if you need some post-exercise refuel – all in just 30 minutes is possible. There is only one type of workout, which is the HIIT workout for the day.
Revolution: Revolution spans across 8,200 square feet with a yoga studio, pilates studio, MMA fitness studio, the R.I.O.T. studio, infrared saunas and massage rooms. There are 30-minute and 60-minute classes, including Zumba, MMA, kickboxing, yoga and pilates. No workout attire is provided, shoes are optional. You get in, get your access card for the specific studio you are going to, get changed in the toilet, work out, shower, get a massage if you want, then grab a juice or sandwich at their Seed Juice bar before leaving.
Ritual: 11 North Canal Rd, #03-01 (nearest MRT: Raffles Place or Clarke Quay)
Revolution: VivoCity Skypark, #03-01 (nearest MRT: Harbourfront)
Ritual: Classes run every half hour from 6.30am to 9pm (every day except for Saturdays 9am to 3pm and closed on Sundays).
R.I.O.T.: Classes run every half hour from 7.45am to 10.45am, 12.15pm to 3.15pm and 5.15pm to 9.15pm (every day except Saturday and Sunday starts at 8.45am and ends at 7.45pm)
Setup + Equipment
Ritual: Boxes numbered 1 to 10 marked out on the floor for each trainee with the various equipment down the middle. Equipment include dumbbells (5/10/15kg), kettlebells (8/12/16/20kg), medicine balls (6/9kg), TRX, gym rings.
R.I.O.T.: Boxes numbered 1 to 10 marked out on the floor for each trainee with the various equipment down the middle as well. Equipment include kettlebells (2/4/6/8/12/16kg), clubbells (5/10/15/20lbs), bouncing medicine balls (4/8/10kg), boxes, TRX, gym rings.
Ritual: A fitness assessment is compulsory for all newcomers, where the trainer will go through each move to check for form and also assess the level of workout. You start with a 2-minute warm up and then go into a workout that is not more than 20 minutes long. Every day, there is a new workout written on the blackboard. To cater to varying fitness levels, there are three different levels and even a Beginner’s Board.
The exercises in the workouts typically involve a mix of pull-ups (and its variations), squats, lunges, KB swings, KB deadlifts, DB overhead presses, burpees, mountain climbers, push ups, rows, ball slams etc.
R.I.O.T.: No fitness assessment prior to training. Workouts range from 22 to 25 minutes long with a new workout each day as well, with a few minutes before for warm-up and familiarisation, and a few minutes after for cool down. There are also three different levels for varying fitness abilities, demonstrated on videos through the television screens. (Screen 1 shows Level 1, Screen 2 shows Level 2, etc.)
The exercises in the workouts do include the usual burpees, push ups, KB swings, rows, but because of the equipment, there are things like dips (done with the box) and moves with the clubbells like arm cast and front pendulum. On my first visit there, I had jumping jacks and swimmer stretch too. OH – there are ball slams too, but the balls can bounce up to you, whereas Ritual’s ball slams have to be picked up.
Ritual: Besides t-shirt and shorts for the workout, face and bath towels are provided too. There are shower stalls and lockers. The shower area is not gender specific, but each shower stall comes with a dry area (within the stall) where you can hang your clothes up or admire yourself in the full-length mirror after. Toilets are located just outside the entrance.
Revolution: Face towel is provided upon checking in, but bath towels are stored in the toilets. Toilets are separate for male and female and they are spacious, with shower stalls, lockers and toilets. The shower stalls have the same shower heads as Ritual (rainforest and normal) and same glass doors. But there are no locks on the shower stalls, no hooks to hang up my clothes and no separate dry area. This is pretty common with most gyms in Singapore – small shower stalls with no dry area; we usually just place the clothes and towel over the top of the door.
Ritual: Free one-week trial; $369 a month for one-year membership (unlimited classes). Protein shakes are additional costs. On your first visit, you get a free Heroic (large sized) shake.
Revolution: No free trial but you can get a $45 one-week pass; promo price of $280 a month (unlimited sessions for all classes from yoga to pilates to kickboxing to R.I.O.T.) on monthly renewal (no contract); usual price is $380 a month. Every month you get a free massage, but any more beyond that are chargeable. Food from the cafe are additional costs.
Conclusion: It is unfortunate that the R.I.O.T. studio is set up so similarly to Ritual’s, with the same format of classes every half hour. But if we go down to the nitty gritty details, the equipment is not the same and the workout style is different. Also, R.I.O.T. is just one part of the entire Revolution gym.
By the way, just for reference, other gyms I’ve been to, such as Virgin Active, have their HIIT area like this: marked out boxes too, with equipment around. Or, it will just be an empty floor and people grab their own equipment and find their own space.