“Train for a stronger tomorrow”, says Shrek, Master Coach of Ritual

What are your objectives for training? To lose weight, to stay healthy, to ease the guilt from over-indulging, to relieve stress, to feel good after sweating it out? For Shrek (whose real name is Muhammad Ismail), he feels that people in general should approach working out for a better and stronger tomorrow.

The 31-year-old Master Coach at Ritual said, “Approach training for a better and stronger tomorrow, instead of training with a specific purpose like weight loss and just wanting the numbers on the scale to go down. Many people get too specific and obsessed with their goals, and then they end up stopping once they achieve their goals. But if you focus on wanting to become better and stronger, you will keep doing it, keep lifting until you are 60 for example, so you can run around and play with your grandkids.”

That’s why the training philosophy at Ritual is to fit the everyday person into functional training that covers every aspect of the energy system in your body (from strength to cardiovascular), “Our workouts here are based on HIIT (high intensity interval training) and we try to fit everybody in, from the average person on the street to those with more advanced fitness backgrounds such as athletes. We have three different levels and a beginner’s board to cater to the varying fitness levels,” Shrek explained. “All workouts are kept to 20 minutes, because that is all you need. Most people think they need hours in the gym, but here we shorten things for maximum effectiveness.”

Workouts at Ritual are of intense, short bursts designed to give maximum benefits. [Read more about the benefits of HIIT by Ritual co-founder Ian Tan here.] This helps people to become more efficient, leading to convenience, which is what Ritual prides itself on. Short workout time, attire provided, sessions run every half hour, a shake bar if you need to eat – it aims to take away as many excuses possible that people give to escape exercise.

Here is a short Q&A with Shrek to help you understand more about training at Ritual:

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Q: What are some of the misconceptions that people have of Ritual?
A: Some people think it is circuit training where you move from station to station, but here you have your own station and own set of equipment. Then there are those who assume this is CrossFit.

Q: How many times can one train at Ritual in a week?
A: For beginners, I would suggest two to three times a week. Working out at high intensity taxes the  body and leaves you feeling sore, so you need to give your body time to recover. For those new to Ritual, you need time to condition your body to the intensity, otherwise you might end up wearing down and getting injured.

For regulars, it is ok to come every day or every other day, depending on your schedule and goals. However, coming every day does not mean pushing yourself 100% all the time. I would recommend going hard for two days, taking a day off then coming back for another two days. Alternatively, go hard on alternate days.

Q: Who plans the workouts at Ritual and how far ahead are the workouts planned?
A: When we first started, Ian and I planned the workouts together but after the first few months, I was given the flexibility and freedom to do it. I plan the workouts on a weekly basis, not a few months in advance as some people might think. Every day that I am here I observe our members and how they respond to the workout, so I can improvise immediately.

Q: Is it possible for members to become so fit that Ritual is not challenging enough for them?
A: We do have members with very high fitness levels (for example some can do Level 3 three times in a row) and should they find our workouts not challenging enough, I will try to understand what they mean. Sometimes when I observe how they train, they may be holding back, not going at 100%, not lifting heavy enough, or going at a pace not intense enough.

We make an effort to connect with every member here so we can understand their limitations, if any. For those at more advanced levels, we try to keep things fresh for them by introducing new variations. We can always tweak it to make the workouts harder or fresher.

Q: Is working out at Ritual enough or should people do more?
A: It all depends on the person’s goals and the level of fitness. The higher the level of fitness he or she has, the higher the volume of intensity needed, and I would recommend to add on other forms of exercise, like more lifting and more cardio.

Q: What can people expect from a typical day at Ritual?
A: They can expect utmost convenience and efficiency. They don’t need to spend hours here; there is no treadmill; they don’t need to worry about what to do. Just come in and do the workout prescribed. If the movements are different from what they usually practise, there are coaches on the floor to correct and also encourage.

Q: Is 20 minutes really enough?
A: It sounds short but if you push hard, that’s really all you need. If you go at 80 to 90%, it will be tough to last more than 20 minutes. The more advanced ones may want to do two sessions or complement it with other forms of training they have outside. Otherwise,they can come in 15 minutes earlier and do their own warm up first.

*Shrek may look fierce, but he really is a sweetheart and will answer any queries you have.

Those interested in trying out Ritual for themselves can book a one-week trial here.