The pandemic has resulted in two kinds of people – you’re either getting takeout daily and binge-watching Netflix or, if you’re like me, looking for a full body workout to boost your health, embrace self-care and – hopefully – fit back into your pre-WFH jeans. If you fall into the latter category, there’s a new fitness trend in town that promises to improve not just your fitness, but your mental abilities too.
SMARTfit, according to their website, is a “form of functional training with a higher emphasis on cognitive and balance in motion outcomes.” Confused? So was I. Which is why I traded my pants for shorts to spend a day with Dave Dizon, 48, a personal trainer and SMARTfit expert at Parkroyal on Beach Road Singapore to find out what all the fuss is all about.
What exactly is SMARTfit and how is it different from other workout systems?
Dave: Unlike other workouts which tend to only focus on physical fitness, SMARTfit engages the mind as well – this significantly enhances our everyday mental and physical capabilities. SMARTfit does this by using a gamified approach to training which adds an element of engagement and enjoyment.
You mean you get to play games while training?
Dave: In a way, yes. For example, one gamified activity requires users to chase down a single target that will light up on one screen (among many) sequentially within a set timeframe. Another one requires users to solve a simple math question before the other target screens light up with multiple-choice answers where you have to look for the right answer. You don’t have to worry about seeing the same questions over and over again – SMARTfit has over 2,000 pre-designed challenges incorporated into its system so you’ll never get bored.
These challenges may sound simple. But when you perform these tasks concurrently with drills like pushups, burpees or jumping jacks in between, it fires up your competitive spirit and can get pretty intense!
Cool. Who is SMARTfit for then?
Dave: Anyone and everyone. Besides being used by professional athletes like the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team, it’s also used for neurological and vestibular health rehab and the prevention and slowing down of conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s among the elderly. It’s also a great activity for kids to unleash all their energy while working on their cognitive development.
Where’s the best place to try this mind-body workout?
Dave: Parkroyal on Beach Road is the only hotel in Singapore that offers the SMARTfit programme. We’re also the only hotel that offers EMS or Electrical Muscle Stimulation training too. The electrical stimulation makes your body work harder when exercising, meaning you get the benefits of a longer workout in less time. So, if you’d like to try these programmes in the comfort of a luxury hotel, just look for me!
Sounds good. How can I benefit from SMARTfit?
Dave: First of all, you’re guaranteed fun! Secondly, you can expect to see improvements in your coordination, endurance, functional and cardiovascular fitness. Because SMARTfit is so versatile and customisable, there are no limits to what it can do to help refine your speed, balance, strength or focus. It truly is the best modern brain and body training solution.
First-person: We Try Out SMARTfit
Encircled by the main SMARTfit target screen and five smaller ones, I had to energetically strike the screen with a pool noodle (you can also use a dumbbell or a ball) whenever it lit up with the correct symbol or answer. The aim was to get the most strikes within a preset time limit. One activity also required me to switch between hands before a strike as instructed by the symbol.
Being naturally competitive, I found myself wanting to better my previous score after each session and before I knew it, I felt like I just finished a 3km sprint – all in the short space of just 10 minutes. Adding to that intensity was the fact that split-second cognitive decisions needed to be made simultaneously, which is unlike any workout I’ve ever done. Drenched in sweat and with muscles screaming for mercy, I felt like I’d done a full-body workout and had no doubt that SMARTfit does exactly what it says on the tin.
For those interested in SMARTfit or EMS, Parkroyal on Beach Road is offering packages starting at $80 for a 30-minute session. Participants can also choose to split between both programs over 30-minutes if they prefer to try both.
Alternatively, check out more innovative gym and full body workout experiences here.