I met Shaun in April 2017 on my 62nd birthday. My doctor had just recommended weight training to improve my bone density, so when Shaun opened his new gym on Haig Road it was perfect timing for me. Although I had worked out on weight machines in the past, I had never considered using barbells. This was new territory for me.

Using the Starting Strength programme, Shaun started at the very beginning, patiently explaining each movement. They all felt strange initially, and I was pretty sure my knee problems and shoulder pain would mean that squats and overhead presses would not be possible, and how could a deadlift be safe for my back?

But while my muscles were tired after each workout, I never experienced pain. I realised that Shaun’s careful attention to form meant that I was able to do the movements safely and to gradually lift heavier weights without injury. Shaun has also been very helpful with ideas on how to continue training when I’m overseas. He sends WhatsApp feedback and encouragement regularly.

I feel stronger and more confident about how to safely move my body and lift heavy things in my daily life. While my main goal is to improve my strength and bone density,it’s been motivating and fun to work towards mini challenges along the way. Earlier this year I deadlifted my body weight, which I never expected to do. My whole family was impressed. Now I deadlift more than my body weight every week. My new goal is to achieve one unassisted chin up, and I can see that I’m getting close.

Thank you Shaun and Starting Strength!

ps. Now It’s 2020 and I’m still training at Hygieia. I can now do several unassisted pullups after each training session, and I have a new deadlift goal, of course. After deadlifting my bodyweight, I decided to keep working at it, and gradually I deadlifted the bodyweight of my daughter, then my husband and finally my son. Now I have my eyes set on some Singaporean national records.

Given my age, I had expected all progress to stop after a year or so. It’s a credit to Shawn and Hygieia that I’ve continued to learn and to progress—without injury—and to enjoy the training sessions and the very supportive Hygieia community.


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.