65 YO AND ON BOARD! A good friend invited me to train with her at Hygieia with Shaun while I was back visiting Singapore 6 days ago. I said yes, but was apprehensive because I have a fusion in my upper spine, had recently done rehab for a lower back injury, and have degenerative disc issues and arthritis.

Seeing my friend for the first time in a long while was an eye-opener as she is now beautifully fit and strong, as well as capable of lifting and squatting what I consider to be a great deal of weight, having belonged to many a gym when I was younger.

I had two sessions with Shaun and they were just excellent. He has years of experience and is the soul of patience, makes one feel welcome and at home no matter age or shape, and the whole atmosphere is congenial, other clients friendly and happy to share information about their obvious progress.

I was embarrassed at how much strength I have lost over time, but Shaun is skilled at reading a person’s abilities and how to modify to move them forward without over-stressing. One is sore afterwards perhaps, but feels just the soreness of exercise, and in my case, none of the normal daily joint pain from degenerative disc disease and arthritis which is a first. When the 2-day interval was up and I went back for session 2, he modified the workout yet again to work through the initial, residual soreness in my thighs, yet added some new upper body workout. Afterwards, I had NO pain for the first time in many years and was able to spend a busy day on my feet and travel a long distance, not needing an anti-inflammatory for joint pain even once. He trains so that the muscle takes the workout, not the joints. Today has been the same.

My back stopped hurting for the first time in a few years as well. It has not started again and this is the end of day 2. I had persistent, alarming discomfort from the medical physiotherapy I received from the back injury two months ago, but none after this second workout, instead feeling stronger in the back. While it seems impossible to react so soon to two workouts, as I used to work out a lot, I am always amazed when my body snaps back, just have been having less success with the “snap” until this workout with Shaun. I just never had it happen without painful joints and spine before and it is a revelation.

Shaun located a gym which teaches this exact same method of training where I live. What I wouldn’t give to be able to join Hygieia and train with Shaun, but as that is not possible, he ensured that I know where to go when I get home.


My interest in fitness started when I was around 19 years old. Being overweight for most of my growing up years, I decided to do something about it. After months of not being able to achieve the desired results, I began poring through books and articles about training and nutrition. The more I read, the more interested I became in this field, and got better results when the the newly discovered knowledge was applied. After 1 year of persistence and hard work, I lost 24kg and felt fantastic. The sense of achievement motivated me to pursue a career in working with people to help them achieve their own fitness goals.

After achieving my weight loss goal, I tried a variety of training programs for a few years, looking for a new goal to train towards. After aimlessly moving around from program to program, I chanced upon a book called Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, written by renowned strength and conditioning expert, Mark Rippetoe. Little did I know that this book was about to change my life and coaching career.

At that point, I had experience training with barbells and was relatively familiar with it but never have I come across any material that gave such explicitly detailed explanations of how to perform the barbell lifts. I devoured the book and modified my lifting technique and program. In just a few months, I was pleasantly surprised by how much stronger he had become. I now had a new goal to work towards – getting strong.

With full confidence in the efficacy of the Starting Strength methodology, I began coaching my clients using this program and got them stronger than they ever thought was possible. The consistent success my clients achieved through the program cemented my confidence in Mark Rippetoe’s teachings. I then decided to pursue the credential of being a Starting Strength Coach and I’m currently the first and only certified coach in Singapore and South-East Asia

In my 9 years of experience, I have given talks and ran programs at numerous companies and worked with a diverse group clientele of all ages with a variety of goals. Today, I specialise in coaching people in their 40s, 50s and beyond because it brings me a great sense of satisfaction to be part of the process of improving this demographics’ health and quality of life by getting them stronger.