Category Archives: Features Singapore

Singapore to host 2025 World Para Swimming Championships

Competition to be held in Asia for the first time in history with around 600 athletes set to compete at the world-class OCBC Aquatic Centre within the Singapore Sports Hub from 3 to 9 October 2025.

Singapore’s top Para swimmers joined an event in the host city to mark the announcement of the 2025 World Para Swimming Championships ⒸAndy Chua/SDSC

World Para Swimming and the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) unveiled on Monday (5 February) Singapore as the host city for the 12th edition of the World Para Swimming Championships. The Championships will unfold at the world-class OCBC Aquatic Centre within the Singapore Sports Hub, from 3 to 9 October 2025.

Aligned with Singapore’s 60th birthday celebration, the World Para Swimming Championships will serve as a testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity. Significantly, this milestone event marks the inaugural occasion of the World Para Swimming Championships being hosted in Asia. It also presents a rare opportunity for swimmers, both with and without disabilities, to vie for victory as the 2025 World Aquatics Championships is also going to be held in Singapore.

Craig Nicholson, Head of World Para Swimming, said: “We are delighted to announce that next year’s World Championships will take place in Singapore, marking the first time the competition is held in Asia. This is a major milestone for our sport and is also evidence of the growth of Para swimming in the country and the region. Singapore hosted the Citi Para Swimming World Series for the first time in 2019 and since then we have had the opportunity to see first-hand the great work of the Singapore Disability Sports Council, providing opportunities and breaking barriers for persons with disabilities in society. We look forward to working together with the SDSC and their partners to welcome the world’s best Para swimmers to the OCBC Aquatic Centre in 2025.”

Para swimming has been a consistent stronghold for Team Singapore, producing Paralympic medallists and world record holders such as Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh Rui Si. Additionally, Asian Para Games medallist Toh Wei Soong, Asian record holder Sophie Soon and numerous ASEAN Para Games medallists have contributed to the nation’s rich Para swimming legacy. Beyond elite competition, the SDSC also welcomes nearly 100 individuals with physical, visual and intellectual disabilities to its national championships annually.

Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of the SDSC, expressed, “We envision this landmark event propelling Singapore onto the global stage as a country that commits to empower individuals of all abilities. With the generous support of Sport Singapore and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, we aim to reach out to more Singaporeans through the awareness and partnerships that will be fostered by this event.”

“There remains a large number of Singaporeans with disabilities who can find inspiration, success and achievement in Para swimming and Para sport. We would like everyone to be able to gain inspiration and confidence from the exceptional Para swimmers that they will witness at this event. We implore supportive partners and sponsors to collaborate with us in forging a lasting legacy for persons with disabilities and the broader Singaporean community.”

“The 2025 World Para Swimming Championships promise to be an unforgettable celebration of diversity, athleticism, and community.”

Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, who graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour, said, “Hosting the World Para Swimming Championships is a significant milestone for the disability sport community in Singapore. It will enable our Team Singapore athletes to compete against the world’s top Para swimmers on home ground, and inspire Singaporeans, as they witness the competition up close.”

Transformative impact

Community activations featuring various Para sports in Singapore are in the plans to raise awareness and reach more persons with disabilities.

“SportSG fully supports efforts to uplift the lives of persons with disabilities through sport, through initiatives such as our Para Sport Academies, SportCares programmes, and inclusive ActiveSG facilities. Hosting the World Para Swimming Championships will enable us to build on these efforts in the same year that Singapore will also host the World Aquatics Championships and celebrate SG60. The organising committee seeks to co-create this event with our partners and deliver a memorable experience for all athletes, officials and members of our community. We look forward to everyone’s active participation in cheering for the world’s best aquatics athletes and immersing in the event festivities,” said Alan Goh, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Singapore 2025 World Para Swimming Championships.

Five-time Paralympic champion swimmer Yip Pin Xiu added, “I never imagined that we would one day get to showcase Para swimming to this level in Singapore. To know that it would happen at a world-class pool, with the top Para swimmers in the world competing right here on our little island, feels truly surreal. It not only shows that Singapore has taken concrete strides towards promoting inclusivity over the years but has received the confidence to play a leading role in the global landscape. I hope that more Singaporeans and organisations will take up the opportunity to watch the Para swimmers at the World Championships and find ways to be a part of this. Together we can understand how sports, and respect, can help to transform our stories as individuals and as a community.”

Emphasising the sense of community, Para swimmers, athletes from diverse sports, coaches, officials, and parents joyously marked the announcement with a traditional ‘lo hei’—a cherished Singaporean dish during the Lunar New Year that symbolises the act of “tossing for good fortune.” This heart-warming gesture was a collective wish for success in the upcoming World Championships.

Singapore has successfully hosted international Para swimming events in recent years, in particular the Citi Para Swimming World Series in both 2019 and 2023. It remains the sole Asian destination on the tour in 2024. The biennial World Para Swimming Championships, most recently hosted in 2023 in Manchester, Great Britain is anticipated to draw approximately 600 elite Para swimmers from over 60 nations to the vibrant garden city.

As part of the leadup to the Championships, a new Para swimming learn-to-swim programme, called Swim Together, was also introduced by the SDSC on Monday.

Developed by World Para Swimming, Singapore will be one of the first countries globally to launch the programme, with workshops commencing in May 2024 alongside the Citi Para Swimming World Series Singapore. The SDSC aims to equip more local swim coaches with the skills and confidence to welcome individuals with disabilities into the world of swimming.

 

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Olympic Esports Week Singapore 2023

Via PRNewsGIG

Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Olympic Esports Week 2023!

The Olympic Esports Series 2023 is a global virtual and simulated sports competition created by the IOC in collaboration with International Federations and game publishers. The finals, held live this year for the first time, is one of the highlights of the OEW at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre. There are nine featured sports for the Olympic Esports Series: Archery, baseball, chess, cycling, dance, sailing, tennis, taekwondo, and motorsport.

Ticket holders will be able to experience a wide variety of games with a host of additional titles set to be announced for the line-up of exhibition matches. Visitors who are inspired by the Olympic Esports Finals and exhibition match action can also try their hand at selected games at the free-to-play zone. This will also be an opportunity to explore the latest innovations across virtual sports and gaming such as motorsport, baseball, cycling, cricket and more.

“The Olympic Esports Week Singapore 2023 is a truly unique event, bringing together a wide and diverse variety of elements for a celebration of virtual sports, gaming and esports. From the exciting live finals of the Olympic Esports Series 2023 which will showcase some of the world’s best players, to the free-to-play zone for everyone to get involved – we hope to inspire sports, gaming and esports fans of all levels and backgrounds. We have made a deliberate decision to organise the OEW 2023 so that this Olympic event is accessible to as many people as possible and for everyone to be a part of the first-ever OEW,” said Mr Mark Chay, Co-chair of the Local Organising Committee for OEW 2023.

Singapore’s hosting of the inaugural Olympic Esports Week will also be boosted by the support of organisations known for being among the best in their respective fields. Partners include all Worldwide Olympic Partners (https://olympics.com/ioc/partners) as well as local event partners; global technology leader Alibaba, Singapore Airlines, virtual reality company PICO, network connectivity provider Singtel, one-stop esports solution provider VSPO and real estate group CapitaLand.

Mr Chay also said: “Similar to an athlete’s sporting success on the global stage, staging a global event like the OEW requires the support of a team of committed partners and stakeholders. The local organising committee is grateful to have the backing of partners whose visions and goals align with ours. We are all working hard together to ensure that fans, players and officials get to enjoy some of the best of physical-hybrid and virtual sport in June.”

Those in Singapore will also get a sneak preview of the OEW experience from 5 May 2023 with a roving trailer bringing the world of esports and virtual sports to 13 locations across Singapore for a period of 50 days up until the Olympic Esports Week. This will give visitors the opportunity to try the OEW titles first hand, compete to win attractive prizes and meet with key leaders in the world of esports and virtual sports. Other exciting programmes will also take place in various key locations across Singapore.

Here are some exciting updates from the Olympic Channel:

Esports – DISH: The story of a successful streaming entrepreneur

https://youtu.be/exIuFEMa8R4
https://youtu.be/l4T2ISszxdo

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AsiaFitnessToday.com Olympic Esports Week Singapore 2023 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Quote Source: https://www.asiafitnesstoday.com/olympic-esports-week-singapore-2023

The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon is back as a World Athletics Gold Label Race

Via AFTNN

The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) marks its return this year as a World Athletics Gold Label Race for the first time since the pandemic. The three-day festival, which hosts the International Elite Race and the Singapore National Championships will take place from 1 – 3 December 2023, and is expected to draw up to 50,000 participants. The SCSM 2023 International Elite Race will feature some of the world’s top long-distance runners, as well as top Singaporeans vying for the honour of being crowned national champion at marathon and half marathon distances.

To ensure that participants and spectators have the most enjoyable experience, the running route will include iconic landmarks through the city. More details on the route and road closures will be confirmed closer to the event. Speaking on the launch, Jeff Edwards, Managing Director of Asia for the IRONMAN Group, said, “The positive feedback and success from last year was extremely encouraging, and we, along with our partners are focused on making the 2023 race experience even better. This commitment to improve reflects this year’s theme, ‘Our Race to Go Beyond’, which aims to encourage the community to surpass their own expectations and push their boundaries. Enhancements are in the works not just to the routes, but the overall experience to really go beyond previous expectations. We’re building up event festivities and initiatives to better engage the running community in Singapore and further promote a positive running culture. Apart from the return of the Elite Race, we also have several initiatives planned along the course to provide memorable experiences for runners, spectators and the overall community.” Patrick Lee, Cluster CEO, Singapore and ASEAN Markets (Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and representative offices), Standard Chartered said: “We’re proud to be the title sponsor of The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon for over two decades. It is one the most prestigious races in the region and Singapore’s marquee running event. With the return of the World Athletics Gold Label and the National Championships, we look forward to seeing the best international and local long-distance athletes return to the start line this year. At the same time, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon is a race for everyone – bringing people from all walks of life together to stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle, while binding our community through the shared values of resilience and determination.” Keith Tan, Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, said: “The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, with its world-class athletes and race organisation, continues to set Singapore apart as a leading destination for sports tourism in the region. SCSM is a key highlight in Singapore’s sporting calendar, and I am confident it will offer a fulfilling experience for both locals and visitors against the backdrop of our vibrant city.”

Credit Ironman Group

Similar to last year’s edition, participants will also be able to sign up for the Double Up Challenge, as well as the SCSM TCS Corporate Challenge. For the Double Up Challenge, participants can choose to register for either the 5km or 10km category, combined with a half marathon 21.1km or marathon 42.195km. Upon completion, they will receive their respective event finisher medals and an exclusive Double Up Challenge medal. The SCSM Corporate Challenge will also be taking place this year. Corporate rates are available for companies who wish to participate in SCSM2023.

Organisers, The IRONMAN Group, have also announced the return of the Singapore National Championships, which will see Singapore’s top national athletes compete in the marathon (Open and Masters categories) and half marathon. Each category is limited to a field size of 15 male and 15 female athletes.

To qualify and compete for the prize purse, athletes must be a current member of a Singapore running club affiliated with Singapore Athletics and must have had achieved their respective category’s qualification timing in a World Athletics or National Federation sanctioned race from 1 January 2022 to 31 October 2023. Male athletes running in the marathon category will need to have a timing of 2hrs 45min 00sec or less, while the female athletes will have to achieve a timing of 3hrs 15min 00sec or better.

For the Masters’ category, the qualification timing is 3hrs 00min 00sec or less for male athletes and 3hrs 30min 00sec or less for female athletes.

For the half marathon category, male and female athletes will need to have an official timing of 1hr 15min 00sec and 1hr 30min 00sec or less respectively, within the same qualifying window period. Registration for the National Championships will commence from 27 April and ends on 31 October 2023. All qualifying times submitted will be subject to review and verification, and not all qualifiers will be automatically accepted nor guaranteed entry.

Lien Choong Luen, President, Singapore Athletics (SA) said, “We are excited to be working with the IRONMAN Group once again to bring back the National Championships at SCSM this year. We look forward to witnessing our top athletes competing for the coveted title of national champion, whilst also allowing local runners to experience what it’s like to compete among elites at the region’s marquee event. Beyond the National Championships, we are also looking forward to delivering a race experience that engages the local running community, including community activations supporting the Kids Dash, 5km and 10km events.”

Alan Goh, Chief Executive Officer at Sport Singapore shared: “We are pleased to see the return of both international and local elite racing at SCSM. This is a testament of the SCSM’s reputation as a world- class event for both professional and recreational runners. According to our annual National Sports Participation Survey, running consistently ranks as one of the most popular sports among Singaporeans. Besides elite athletes competing for a podium finish, we look forward to seeing families, friends and running interest groups out in numbers during Singapore’s largest running event. SportSG will continue to work with our many partners to make sporting events in Singapore unique and an enjoyable experience for all participants and spectators.”

The three-day event will kick off with the Kids Dash on Friday evening, followed by the 5km and 10km on Saturday morning, while the marathon and half marathon categories will flag off on Sunday morning.

Priority registration for SCSM2023 will be open from 26 April at 10.00am Singapore time for SCSM 300KM Club runners as well as marathon participants of SCSM2022. Tier 1 pricing for the marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5km and Kids Dash are $113, $95, $76, $58, and $38 respectively. Public registration, as well as registration for the Kids Dash will begin on 27 April at 10.00am Singapore time. In addition, Standard Chartered cardholders will enjoy a 15% discount off registration fees.

To register and for more information, please visit https://singaporemarathon.com.


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AFT Interviews: Dr. Desmond Menon on genes & if we’re predisposed to diseases of our parents

Team AsiaFitnessToday.com speaks with medical lab scientist and founder of R3Gen Dr. Desmond Menon based in Perth, Western Australia. Dr. Menon consults on medical and sports medicine projects, but what’s most interesting was his early days as a researcher, where he was his own experiment. Growing up as a kid with asthma, Dr. Menon looked to science to get himself fit and healthy after a string of allergic reactions to prescribed medications. Today, he supports a number of University-based sports medicine projects, one of which looks at the effects of the menstrual cycle on the performance of elite female cyclists.

AsiaFitnessToday.com’s The Kurang Manis Podcast co-hosts Jasmine Low and Nikki Yeo met Desmond at The Fit Summit in 2019, and have been keeping in touch about DNA testing methods, genetics and our predisposition to diseases our parents had/have.

We asked Desmond to explain what his job entails, and he shared that his work in Medical Laboratory Science is an area specialising in ensuring that the appropriate biomarkers are collected and analysed the correct way to ensure that the results obtained are valid and provide accuracy. Nowadays, most medical/sports science projects, especially multidisciplinary projects have very complex agendas and hope to investigate multiple variables within the study. When there is blood work involved, often there is not enough understanding within the team or enough funding within the project to thoroughly consider the requirements to ensure that appropriate markers are taken and measured at the appropriate timeframe in an appropriate protocol to ensure validity of the results obtained from the analyses.

I have seen projects where the principal investigator was essentially experimenting with varying centrifuging speeds to find out what would provide him with a ‘good sample’ to analyse for blood markers studied within his study.

There are procedures already established in medical laboratory science, such as the rotational speed and gravitational force required, depending on the analyte to be measured, when centrifuging blood collection tubes.

Additionally, when blood is collected for storage as well, there are variables that will also need to be considered to ensure the integrity of the sample is maintained throughout the storage period and how it is treated to ensure that results obtained from analyses thereafter are still valid.

In some studies, samples require immediate analyses as the results dictate the following steps for the participant within the project. 

What I do at R3Gen, is to help to meet these requirements by ensuring that samples are analysed ‘STAT’ to accommodate the project protocols, organising the process from pre-analytical blood collection, all the way to post-analytical result provision and sample storage if required for future analyses, cost effectively.

What this does for projects is to help investigators dedicate their focus and time on the actual project instead, and freeing up their limited resource to ensure the proposed intent of the project is not short-changed.

As the work of a Medical Lab Scientist can get technical with jargons, we asked him more questions from a ‘layman’ to gain more understanding into his work. This is what we discovered…

Understanding genetics and lifestyle

AFT: Can a couch potato be transformed, coached and guided into the fastest runner on the track and field?

DM: The intervention. As an experiment, one has a protocol requiring them to lay on the couch, eat whatever they want and be as sedentary as possible. The other has a protocol requiring them to have a regimented diet and planned intense activity during their day. Each therefore, as a result of their interventions, encourage very different genetic expressions to meet the demand set out.

It’s not that complicated if we wanted to encourage a positive/healthy change. It’s a issue of mind over matter, and thereafter, it’s really an endurance race to see how long you can keep your new intervention going.

Maximising performance is ultimately about a body’s propensity to enhancing its plasticity. With training, plasticity is attained. Looking at it simply, it’s about effecting an underlying lifestyle change.

Understanding your body’s physical baseline

AFT: So what you mean is we are able to increase and improve our baseline with the correct training and interventions in lifestyle and diet?

DM: Interventions – from a scientific perspective, it’s an intervention. For an everyday person, it’s a lifestyle habit. 

There was a study done on 70,000 nurses who were in the 40-65 years age range. They were selected to participate in a Nurses Health Study. They found that there was a huge correlation between chronic diseases and their movement patterns, there was a direct link on those who moved more and those who didn’t. 

AFT: Do our genes alone predispose us to a particular health condition? 

DM: Looking over a broad time frame, the Centre for Disease Control USA (CDC) reports that genes do not predispose us to the health condition. Therefore, while our genes provide us with a blue-print, a lot of what is expressed from our genes is actually quite plastic and is a reflection of the intervention that we provide.

AFT: In a recent conversation, we discussed habit and culture at home. Our health is not merely a physiological or gene makeup, it’s very much a cultural and habitual makeup too. Imagine a child growing up at home where his father imposes his eating beliefs, lifes and dislikes upon his child. It’s what the father brings home, what he eats, or snacks that the child will learn and adopt.

DM: Here’s some information I have found to be interesting. Grandparents have a big part to play in the grandchild, especially from the maternal side. Here’s the explanation from a physiological side. If a female child, whatever a grandmother goes through in her life, has an impact on her genetic expression (that’s her lifestyle intervention). These expressions invariably have an effect on her eggs she is carrying. If one of those eggs contribute to a conception of a female child, during the development of that fetus, the eggs in the fetus also start to develop 8 to 20 weeks after it has started to grow. As such, whatever the grandmother is exposed to in her lifestyle in essence has an impact on her future child, and that of her grandchild. 

AFT: Tell us a little about the types of fitness interventions.

DM: Exercise movements can basically be split up into different modalities. Concentric moves for example a flex going up stairs or eccentric moves for example a controlled extension like when you’re going down stairs. These are antagonistic moves and give an idea how your muscles work.

It requires a certain amount of energy or resource from our bodies when applied. How much exactly we don’t know, but if we understood that, we could then prescribe it better. They found that participants going down the stairs had a more significant benefit seen in their health markers – insulin sensitivity increased, bone density increased and cholesterol decreased. 

It provides some insight into how exercise could be prescriptive. So by understanding this kind of exercise, one could then prescribe more efficient options to patients.

AFT: Hypothetically, can we transform a couch potato into the fastest man on the planet? Imagine Usain Bolt or Nicol David, an athlete whose body is so efficient, and if we turn them into a couch potato with bad habits, what would then happen? Desmond suspects that scientific evidence suggest that we can definitely provide an intervention to transform the couch potato participant into something closer to an Usain Bolt.

DM: An elite swimmer expands less energy to swim across the pool as his body is fine tuned to it as compared to a less than healthy individual.

GLUTS 4 gene, expressed based on lifestyle

DM: GLUTS 4 gene is considered one example of a lifestyle gene. It’s expression is altered by the level of muscle contraction. Failure to be active enough, could lead to the body being predisposed to diabetes by storing a lot of insulin. 

In the video above, I shared a photo from my school days – I was an avid distance runner weighing in at only 69kg in my competition weight. I injured my knee (torn ACL and partial torn meniscus) in the army, and had to change sport. I got addicted to lifting weights in the gym as a result of seeing gains from physiotherapy on my legs post knee surgery. I had to undergo surgery to reconstruct my ACL. In that short amount of time that I was off my feet or on crutches, the loss of quad muscle was very visible. It is almost like an intervention experiment on myself, where the intervention here is the removal of as much muscle activity in my left quad over that period. It was shocking to see how fast your body decides to remove that musculature as a form of conservation of energy and resource. 

After a few years of weight lifting, I managed to weigh in at 110KG with 12% body fat. While Dr. Desmond considered it an improvement, his mom’s was of the opinion that he had ruined her good work by looking “buff” like that. What it was for him, was a science experiment. He diligently weighed what he ate and how he trained to better understand the correlation between the intervention and the epigenetic expression.

Coming from an active family, Dr. Desmond’s mother was a runner for the state of Perak, Malaysia. His maternal great grandmother lived up to 100 and his maternal grandmother will be turning 100 soon. It seems health & fitness is a natural state of being for his family.

At one point, he collected data of his own blood work to determine the impact of his training and diet on his health markers and was able to see how his body was responding to what he was doing. It took a good number of years, but progressively trained the body to accept 8 meals a day from 3 to 4 meals before, while still maintaining an average 12% body fat. (At that point he was eating 8 meals a day like a gym fanatic. Also knew what he was doing with exercise.) In pathology, he learnt about the association between high CK and CK-MB (proteins present in heart muscle, also in skeletal muscles) with cardiovascular episodes. He found that the intense gym training produced abnormally high levels of CK and CKMB in his blood that looked like he was having small little cardiac episodes, but were actually attributed to the high amount of skeletal muscle tearing (hypertrophy) from his intense gym sessions. 

AFT: How do we then measure a person’s baseline, or maximum exercise intervention before the body shows a high or overly high CK/CKMD level. Is there a sweet spot between exercise and too much exercise? 

DM: Essentially, we need to understand that our baseline changes according to our lifestyle (intervention protocols).

In many professional athletes, part of their routine is having blood test done to identify how well their body is coping with their interventions and ensure that their body is showing signs of being in optimum performance. There are a whole barrage of markers that can be capitalised on if need be. For the everday athlete, perhaps these are not necessary or available but there are more basic markers readily available that can be capitalised on by anyone concerned about their health to ensure that their body is performing well to their lifestyle interventions. When monitored over time, these can provide a good indication over time of how we’re coping.

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Special Bonus Edition on Spotify Only features “Lorna’s Kitchen” by Singapore’s Jazz Great, Jeremy Monteiro

We are pleased to feature a song written by Singapore’s great Jazz muso Jeremy Monteiro, dedicated to his aunt Lorna. Titled Lorna’s Kitchen, we know for a fact that her Debal curry is divine. This episode is dedicated to Lorna – an amazing person whose fiery curry speaks volumes for her passion for life. We love you, Lorna! 


This interview was recorded live with special guests in the panel:

  • Datuk Nicol David, World No. 1 Squash Champion, voted The World Games Greatest Athlete of All Time
  • Dr. Pran Yoganathan, Gastroenterologist & hepatologist
  • Papi Zak, Standup comedian

Listen all platforms


Chinese New Year – Nian

AFT TV selects this Chinese New Year story, Nian – a legend reimagined as a contemporary coming-of-age story. Shot on an iPhone 12 Pro Max, this short film was directed by Lulu Wang and created by the team behind the Golden Globe nominated film, The Farewell which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2019, with the original score by Alex Weston.

The making of…

https://youtu.be/9pHO5hpgj7k

This heart warming story by award-winning producer/director – Lulu Wang reminds us of the reunion dinner to welcome in the Chinese Lunar New Year. 2021 welcomes the Year of the Ox.

We’ve also selected another heartwarming film surrouding reunion dinners. This one’s from Singapore, it’s short and sweet.

Where will you be this Lunar New Year? Share your story by emailing us at editor@asiafitnesstoday.com.

HomeTeamNS Debuts Singapore’s First Smart Clubhouse in Khatib

The new 21,000sqm Khatib Clubhouse comes sustainably designed with many first of-its-kind facilities and a plethora of amenities 

HomeTeamNS has opened the new Khatib Clubhouse, the first-ever ‘smart’ clubhouse in Singapore equipped with digital capabilities, eco-friendly innovations and multiple first-of-its-kind facilities. 

HomeTeamNS is a non-profit organisation set up to recognise the invaluable contributions of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) NSmen to the safety and security of the nation. HomeTeamNS aims to build a greater sense of camaraderie amongst SPF and SCDF NSmen by providing a shared environment for them to network and build bonds through sporting and social activities. 

The Khatib Clubhouse had its groundbreaking ceremony on 12 July 2018 and is purpose-built with the needs of Home Team National Servicemen (NSmen) in mind. The 21,000 square metre five-storey clubhouse is located within walking distance of Khatib MRT station and has an ‘urban retreat’ theme. It caters to NSmen from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), in recognition and appreciation of their contributions towards Singapore’s safety and security, and leverages technology to provide an engaging experience for them and their families. 

“The opening of the HomeTeamNS Khatib Clubhouse is very timely, given that we are also celebrating our 15th Anniversary this year. HomeTeamNS has come a long way since its inception in 2005. This year, we celebrate the bond between our Home Team NSmen and their families under the theme ‘We are Family’,” said Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, President of HomeTeamNS. “To encourage and help foster better relationships between our men and their families, HomeTeamNS will introduce new family-centric initiatives and membership rewards in the upcoming months,” he added.

Ms Agnes Eu, Chief Executive of HomeTeamNS, said: “Since the groundbreaking ceremony in 2018, various HomeTeamNS committees, including our Development Committee and Advisory Panel, have been heavily involved in the planning and development of the new Khatib Clubhouse. We are pleased to unveil what promises to be an innovative and unique experience for NSmen, by NSmen, and where members of the HomeTeamNS community can bond through social, recreational and sporting activities.” 

“The Clubhouse and its offerings are sustainably designed and purpose-built to cater to the needs and aspirations of current and future generations of the HomeTeamNS community, and to foster Home Team identity and pride,” Ms Eu added. “Through the introduction of unique experiences supported by eco-conscious technology, we aim to lead the change and inspire new benchmarks for how clubhouses operate – in terms of design, facilities and offerings.” 

HomeTeamNS’ Khatib Clubhouse boasts a number of firsts in the history of clubhouses in Singapore. They are: 

1) Largest Multi-Installation Indoor Adventure Hub 

Spanning 2,800 square metres across four storeys, Adventure HQ is Singapore’s largest multi-installation indoor hub – complete with ten kaleidoscopic installations that cater to thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies of all levels. 

The all-weather facility, which features dynamic obstacle and aerial installations designed for recreational activity, cohesion-bonding and team-building activities, is home to many firsts, including: 

• Singapore’s first indoor Roll Glider at 233m long 

• Singapore’s longest indoor slide at 14m long 

• Singapore’s first 165m-long indoor artificial caving 

• Singapore’s first-of-its-kind 15m Cloud Climb 

• Singapore’s biggest two-tiered, 16-obstacle indoor challenge rope course 

Adventure HQ at Khatib also comes with a variety of high and low obstacles such as a ninja course, sensory adventure trails and various rock and boulder climbing walls.

2) Indoor Player versus Player (PvP) Airsoft Arena 

Due to open in Q4 2020, TactSim, Singapore’s first indoor Player versus Player (PvP) airsoft arena is designed as an indoor Tactical Simulator to help Home Team NSmen improve their marksmanship, decision-making and leadership skills in an urban environment. Offering a range of realistic equipment and unique gameplay environment, TactSim features multiple programming possibilities incorporating realistic security-related and emergency scenarios. 

Participants can engage in skirmishes or scenario games against each other in groups of up to 40 players per game, using airsoft replicas that launch 6mm plastic pellets at safe velocities. In compliance with prevailing COVID-19 Safe Management Measures, the group size is currently limited to ten players (five against five per game). Catering to all levels of airsoft enthusiasts, TactSim comes with one target shooting range and two PvP airsoft arenas specially equipped with advanced moving wall panels, creating a different environment for every round and maximising gameplay experience. 

3) Peranakan-themed Indoor Playground 

At 650 square metres, T-Play Khatib is the only Peranakan-themed indoor playground in Singapore, inspired by the pioneering spirit of early Peranakans and the vibrant colours and images associated with the culture. In partnership with The Intan, Singapore’s award-winning Peranakan Home Museum, HomeTeamNS has incorporated Singapore’s rich Peranakan culture into the playground at T-Play Khatib, where parents and their children can appreciate Peranakan culture through a unique and enjoyable audio, visual and sensory experience. 

The indoor children’s playground encourages parent-child bonding through interactive structures and play elements that are designed to allow children to freely express their creativity. Key highlights include a climbing slide tunnel, sports pitch, a foam ball shooting arena, an interactive trampoline, ball pit and a ninja course, all conceptualised to engage the child’s brain development, motion coordination and sense of direction.

Range of other facilities for all ages 

The new Khatib clubhouse also comes equipped with a range of other recreational facilities and F&B outlets to cater to the needs of the HomeTeamNS community, including four ManCaves decked out with the latest entertainment gizmos and a private BBQ patio. The ManCaves come in two sizes –55 square metres (“Regular) and 90 square metres (“Deluxe”). These ManCaves make the perfect urban hangout spaces for NSmen to gather, rekindle friendships and build camaraderie. 

The clubhouse is also home to the largest and only Fitness Workz Premium gym, spanning 1,500 square metres. Fully loaded with state-of-the-art equipment and nine premium workout zones, Fitness Workz Premium comes equipped with an assortment of cardiovascular machines, functional and conditioning training via first-of-its-kind Guardians Bridge, a free and plate-loaded weights zone, as well as a mezzanine floor for both fitness courses and unique boxing vault sessions. Fitness Workz Premium also comes with an Endless Ladder, which SCDF firefighters use to improve their limb coordination and cardiovascular stamina. This underscores HomeTeamNS’ efforts in providing specialised training equipment to specifically meet our NSmen’s fitness needs. 

Aside from the new and exciting facilities available at HomeTeamNS Khatib, the clubhouse will also house many popular F&B, entertainment, recreational and educational outlets. 

To ensure the safety and well-being of all visitors, Safe Management Measures are in place across all HomeTeamNS clubhouses, including Khatib.

Shaping an energy-efficient environment 

Designed by the award-winning DP Architects in collaboration with Architectural engineering firm WSP, the Khatib Clubhouse was built with a sustainable and community-oriented mandate in mind. Accorded the BCA Green Mark Platinum certification, the clubhouse comes with energy-efficiency features, such as charging stations for electric cars, solar panels, smart lighting controls, rainwater harvesting and more. 

Sustainable innovations that help offset overall energy consumption include the multiple volume indoor arena which utilises passive cooling and open air breeze, consuming no more electricity than the equivalent of one light bulb, and approximately 1,370 square metres of solar photovoltaic panels housed on the rooftop which can generate 198,000 kWh of electricity annually. The clubhouse’s new rainwater harvesting system will also play a significant role in water conservation.

HomeTeamNS Khatib is also the first clubhouse in Singapore to incorporate an ECO filtration system for its swimming pool, which sanitises the water without the need for chemicals like chlorine, and has twice the lifetime usage of conventional decontamination methods. The ECO filtration system also requires less water for cleaning, saving up to 30 per cent of water. 

Clubhouse 3.0 

In a bid to create seamless online-to-offline experiences, the clubhouse will also leverage technology to help better engage members, providing them with a comfortable and seamless visitation experience. The new digital offerings will cater to the changing needs and aspirations of current and future generations of NSmen, and their families. 

Innovations such as self-service kiosks and “chatbots” will allow members to renew their membership, make payments and book facilities with greater ease. 

The HomeTeamNS Mobile App will allow members to access these features on the go, and check crowd levels and access member-exclusive facilities via their digital membership card across all HomeTeamNS clubhouses. HomeTeamNS membership rewards and benefits can also be redeemed via this app. 

HomeTeamNS 15th Anniversary – Celebrating Family 

In appreciation of the Lifesavers (Singapore Civil Defence Force) and Protectors (Singapore Police Force), HomeTeamNS is celebrating its 15th Anniversary with the theme “We are Family”, focusing on helping Home Team NSmen foster stronger relationships with their loved ones. 

To commemorate this anniversary, a series of exciting family-centric initiatives will be rolled out in the coming months. The rewards and incentives will include membership and clubhouse tenant promotions. More information will be provided in October 2020. 

Do follow HomeTeamNS’ Facebook page, for the latest updates. More details on the Khatib Clubhouse can be found on https://www.hometeamns.sg/khatib/. Members can also download the HomeTeamNS mobile app via https://www.hometeamns.sg/mobile-app/

A moment with Will Skinner, CEO of UFIT Singapore

The CEO of UFIT looks so young you may mistake him for an inexperienced person trying to make it in the fitness industry. However, Will Skinner has more experience than you and I combined. This former professional rugby player brings over his years of rugby experience into the commercial aspect of fitness. Of this, he says “I feel like I never made a switch.”

“Yes, I was in the office a little more, but I was still involved with something I love, and so always want to do my best and expect the best from others,” he added.

He says that there is a lot that can be learned from sports and business, and he doesn’t think his approach to business is any different from during his sports days. “I’m sure all the guys I work with get fed up with me using sporting analogies day-to-day – whether it be recruiting and growing a team or academy like Alex Ferguson or developing our own culture like the All Blacks – sport-to-business synergies and comparisons are endless. If it makes me think I’m managing Manchester United or the All Blacks then I’m happy, too.”

Physical Exercise

The main gym at UFIT Club Street

As for physical exercise, he says “Physical exercise is highly important as part of a wider approach to general health, but it’s also equally important to get the balance right. We encourage everybody to also look at their nutritional journey and that is why we have a team of nutritionists on-hand at every (UFIT) Hub to get you on track. Whether you need advice on weight loss, clinical nutrition or sports nutrition, this type of holistic view of looking at fitness will enable you to ignite that fire and take you to the next level.

However, if you are new or hesitant to begin exercising, don’t despair. Will says that UFIT understands your struggles. All you have to do is to take the first step to go to UFIT and they will help you. “We have the ability and skill to support and guide you and to make that journey fun, so that you want to stick to it and keep coming back for more,” he says.

It may sound dubious to some but don’t let that stop you from getting healthier and fitter as UFIT is systematic and starts from the very basic.

The Approach

Step into UFIT Club Street Hub to begin your transformation journey

UFIT’s approach is not strictly focused on fitness alone but on one’s overall health. They believe that everyone is unique and therefore requires a unique approach accordingly to their needs. It is safe to say that UFIT is not your typical one-size-fits-all gym, but rather one that offers a full end-to-end service.

“Everybody starts with a health consultation with the Hub Manager. This is an in-depth analysis of their body composition and identifies various health metrics to highlight any imbalances in their body and discrepancies in lifestyle. With this data, we are able to suggest an appropriate fitness and wellness plan as we have the best information to plan this person’s journey. Our holistic approach allows us to determine whether we need to take them back to a position of health and/or fitness or to take them to that next level if they are an elite athlete and have the ability to dedicate themselves to a sports performance lifestyle.

Our clients also undertake mobility tests at their first session with a trainer or therapist and this helps to identify imbalances that might impede their progress or that we have to be mindful of.

Everything we do is bespoke and enables us to test and track a person’s progress whatever stage of the journey they are at.”

Injuries

Now, if you have had prior injuries UFIT would be able to assist you too and it is something that Will Skinner knows a lot about as it was a neck injury that put him into early retirement from professional rugby.

“Rehabilitation and recovery have always been a part of our services. Our trainers are highly qualified and take this approach very seriously with regards to ensuring everybody performs exercises correctly, takes time to recover and gets the right level of professional support when needed. We opened our first dedicated Physiotherapy Clinic at Raffles Quay in 2016, went on to open one-north UFIT Clinic in 2017, and Orchard UFIT Clinic in 2018. This allowed us to build a team of the absolute best Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Sports Massage, Pilates and Rehab specialists in Singapore, on hand at all times to help recharge our clients.

The three new Hub destinations are also carefully structured so that Physio and Rehab services are fully integrated into our offering, with Club Street having nine dedicated treatment rooms within the same building as our fitness studios. Therapists and Trainers share patient notes and can easily refer clients back and forth between teams, using our bespoke UFIT Online Coaching Platform, for the best care they can provide,” says Will.

The male changing room at UFIT Club Street

Founded in 2011, UFIT was set up to deliver a higher level of personal training than what was available in Singapore at the time. Starting with one gym at Amoy Street, it quickly expanded to become the country’s largest independently owned fitness community. The business is multi-award winning and offers Personal Training, indoor and outdoor Group Training, Physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation related services, and Nutrition alongside its other businesses, Youth Academy, Retreats, Education and Corporate Performance.

Recently, the fitness centre celebrated a decade by opening its new integrated Hub at Club Street, Singapore.

Starting your pain-free journey with a postural check

Singapore ranks among the highest in the world for body and head pain, according to the 2017 GSK Global Pain Index which surveyed 19,000 adults across 32 countries. About 85 percent of 500 Singaporeans surveyed reported having experienced head and body pain, with four in 10 suffering body pain every week. The statistics of pain are not just attributed to an aging population, statistics of more cases of knee arthritis plaguing young and active Singaporeans have been on the rise as well.  

There are different degrees of sedentary danger

However, there are hidden muscle groups in our bodies that are under-utilised and sadly in the case of a population growing ever sedentary, completely switched off. For many Singaporeans, the muscles in the hip complex are not triggering, which becomes a major cause of concern, affecting people across all ages and walks of life. 

As the growing number of patients suffering from chronic pain from and without exercise increases, it becomes clearer that a postural check is becoming as important as a health check, and that having a good trainer, who knows the exercises you need to guide you along is the way forward.

Unfortunately, Singaporeans are not as aware of their health as they would like to think. The issues and problems that eventually result in chronic pain are often compounded, and people only get aware of it when pain and discomfort comes and doesn’t go away. Here are some things we can do today to address pain before you feel it and to see how a postural check is essential in helping the muscles in the hip complex.

Understanding the hip complex 

The muscles in the hip complex are part of the human kinetic chain, when strong and mobile, it helps to relieve pressure from your lower back & knee joints (two of the most problematic joints), minimising the chance of injuries.

There is a wide range of movement that is available to our anatomy. In the case of the hip complex, understanding the range of motion that you have is important.

People tend to be stronger in front to back movements (sagittal plane) as seen in when we sit down and stand up. We enjoy a similar level of strength through rotational movements (transverse plane) when we get in and out of cars.

However, we are weaker through side-to-side movements (frontal plane) when we engage in more demanding physical activities, such as salsa, or belly dancing. No matter how you look at it, the hip complex is an integral part of many movements that we engage in to get through our day, and the list gets even more detailed.

The planes of movements we have available to the hip complex

Get a postural check done

Similar to a health screening, a postural check is important, it gives you a detailed front, side, and back view. This overall picture gives your trainers and your health coaches insights into any lapses in your posture, to clearly identify the problems you are facing now, and to prevent other issues that could arise from a neglected hip complex.                            

Fixing bad habits

Posture and the way we move is inherently unique between individuals. A good postural check will reveal the bad habits that you are unaware of. 

Here are some of the common ones that we see in regards to the hip complex:

1) Locking your knees when you are standing. Are you aware of the weight shift when you stand? Are you favouring one leg more than the other? Being attuned to the weight shift when you stand, will let you and your trainer know the steps to take to regain a neutral stance.

2) Tight calf muscles. A common problem that comes with a dormant hip complex. Under the careful supervision of a qualified trainer and with a set of exercises done with a wobble board, the tightness will be gone before you know it. Looking good in heels in useless if you come back home in pain ladies.                            

3) Forward head tilt. Our excessive use of screens and weak back muscles are a primary cause of this.   

4) Forward roll on shoulders, and a rounded back. Being hunched over the desk using the computer for long hours is a key culprit.             

Switching on and off certain muscles

Activate your core”. The advice we hear from fitness professionals more often these days. Just because your core is fired up during a planking exercise does not mean that it has to be all the time. 

By referring to the postural check, your trainer will be able to gauge from how you move to identify which muscles are overworking, and which ones are overly dormant. This knowledge is invaluable to prescribing the right exercises. Muscles that are unknowingly being fired up all the time, you will eventually encounter issues of muscle imbalance, which can result in unnecessary injury.

In conclusion

The importance of posture and how bad posture can damage you

Singapore’s push for more exercise across the board is a great direction, the Exercise Is Medicine Singapore initiative has been gaining traction, where more medical professionals are subscribing to include exercise as part of their patients’ prescriptions as we see benefits that range from combatting lifestyle diseases to curing chronic pain. The human body is a fascinating and complex machine, able to compensate to still function a detailed article gives us a glimpse of the other ways that our bodies could otherwise respond.

With the advancements in sports science, exercise prescriptions have changed over the years. And the importance of the muscles in the hip complex become ever more relevant to an increasingly digital lifestyle. Understand that everyone is different, the exercises that we should follow through from our postural checks might seem challenging, and the changes look small, but they are ultimately crucial for us to live pain-free.                      

 

THE UFIT WAY: UFIT Health and Fitness Celebrates A Decade with New Rebrand, Digital Transformation and UFIT Hubs

UFIT Health and Fitness (UFIT), Singapore’s largest independently owned fitness community, celebrates a decade of success with a recommitment to their core beliefs, the consolidation of the outlets into three integrated health and fitness hubs, and UFIT’s ongoing digital transformation. This signifies UFIT’s growth and focus as they move towards providing a higher- quality holistic service for a personalised health experience. 

UFIT’s purpose is to ignite and strengthen the greatness in everyone, and ultimately, to celebrate the journey with each individual. Every member will receive a health consultation to mark a starting point and set goals. After which, clients will be prescribed the best course for each individual – be it a personal trainer, physio, group classes, a personal nutrition plan or a combination of all these services to suit. 

Will Skinner, CEO of UFIT

Will Skinner, CEO at UFIT, says, “After nearly a decade in Singapore, UFIT is at a crossroads where we take stock of where we are and what we need to do to move forward into the new era. Whether it be our clients or our staff, we are creating the very best environment for all those that step through the doors when it comes to achieving results. Our redefined vision and purpose statements are what has led us to make these changes, and these will continue to be the cornerstones of every decision we make going forward.” 

New Hubs 

Committed to offering a high quality, holistic, integrated service, UFIT will be consolidating into integrated Hubs with the first-ever UFIT Hub at 21 Club Street. The integrated Hub will be a one-stop destination for Health and Fitness and will unite UFIT’s core offerings of Personal Training, Group Exercise, Physiotherapy and Nutrition under one roof. Alongside these offerings, the Hubs will also provide clients with access to Sports Medicine, health testing and an indoor-open floor studio. 

Enhancing the entire end to end fitness journey, the Club Street Hub will also see the opening of Burn, a restaurant with a carefully curated food and beverage menu. Burn will feature a wood-fired oven for grilled meats and pizza, salads that will be chargeable by weight, and kombucha on tap. 

UFIT Club Street lobby artistic impression

The Club Street outlet will be the first of three Hubs that UFIT operates. This destination will see the merging of UFIT’s iconic Amoy Street location, the Clinic at Raffles Quay, and the personal training arm of UFIT’s Tanjong Pagar site. 

Two further Hubs have been created at existing sites at Orchard, linking up UFIT Orchard and UFIT Clinic Orchard, and in the West with UFIT One-North and UFIT Clinic One-North. 

UFIT’s Digital Transformation 

With the integrated Hubs, UFIT will be optimised for data collection to better aid members’ fitness journeys. UFIT will have a bespoke Online Coaching platform that will enable UFIT trainers and professionals to better guide and influence clients on their fitness journey, as well as tools such as full-body scanners and health and performance screenings. Using the data collected, trainers will be able to advise clients better, giving them more individual insights on their clients, and allowing them to better tailor the offerings. 

Furthermore, UFIT will begin offering a credit-based system on their app, enabling clients to purchase credits directly via the app and redeemed across any classes in the Group Training portfolio, including outdoor Bootcamps and Indoor classes at the Club Street studio. 

“As we move to integrate our services under one roof, we want to showcase the best that UFIT has to offer and help create the right environment for our team to ‘Ignite their client’s Greatness!’”, said Dean Ahmad, COO and Co-Founder of UFIT. 

UFIT was founded in 2011 in Singapore with one personal training gym on Amoy Street, and quickly expanded to become the country’s largest independently owned fitness community. The business is multi-award winning and offers Personal Training, indoor and outdoor Group Training, Physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation related services, and Nutrition alongside its other businesses, Youth Academy, Retreats, Education and Corporate Performance. 

The rise of personalised nutrition

Everyone wants to be as healthy as they can be. However, while wearable technology has made it possible for people to track their physical activity, personalised nutrition has yet to be fully addressed. 

For example – while it is basic understanding that a clean diet and frequent exercise will lead to weight loss, a one-size fits all approach may not work for everybody.  

Perhaps some people need more calcium, while others may need to up their protein intake. Each body is different, and in-depth analysis can provide a clearer picture of what needs to be done.

 

How does personalised nutrition work?

Sandeep Gupta, Chief Founder & Director of the Expert Nutraceutical Advocacy Council (ENAC) says consumers are constantly finding ways to monitor their health status. 

“We are entering an age of personalised nutrition where science and technology can dictate which food is right for us. It’s not only for weight management, but more importantly to manage our overall health and well-being,” says Gupta, who is a speaker the Vitafoods Asia 2019 Conference.

“Not long ago, we believed our genetic makeup was pre-determined and a biological reality,” he says. “The emergence of epigenetics, which is the study of mechanisms that switch genes on and off, has shed light on the fact that our genes are fluid and can be shaped by various internal and external factors,” Gupta notes.

Personalised nutrition companies collect and analyse your biodata, after which, they customise nutrition plans that help you meet your health goals, be it weight management or disease prevention. 

Biodata is collected in various ways. For instance, wearable devices can collect rudimentary data such as your rate of physical activity or height and weight. Home testing kits collect specialised data such as DNA, nutrient levels in blood, blood types and even gut microbiomes.

Europe and the United States are at the forefront of personalised nutrition. It is also a growing trend in Asia, with developed countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore seeing most activity. 

Some examples in Asia include Singapore’s Imagene Labs, which formulates supplements and fitness solutions according to DNA; and Nestle Japan’s partnership with Genesis Healthcare and Halmek Ventures, both of which are DNA labs based in Japan, designed to provide personalised nutrition advice for senior citizens. The partnership has garnered over 100,000 participants since its announcement in May last year.

Less developed countries in Asia have yet to catch on due to the high costs of personalised nutrition programmes, where fees can run into the hundreds or even thousands, says Thomas Hayes, an analyst at Lux Research.

 

Personalised nutrition’s purpose and challenges

Disease prevention is a key aim of personalised nutrition. Diabetes, which can be prevented through improving one’s diet, is one disease Hayes, who is also a speaker the Vitafoods Asia 2019 Conference, hopes personalised nutrition will help eliminate.

Type 2 diabetes, the more common form of diabetes, afflicts nearly half a billion people around the globe. Hayes adds that the global cost of diabetes is estimated to be almost US$1 trillion per year; the bulk of this cost is spent on managing the complications that arise from diabetes, rather than treating diabetes itself.

“The combination of increasing disease prevalence and increasing per capita cost signals that new solutions are needed to supplement, or replace, traditional diabetes prevention and management tools,” he explains.

Personalised nutrition, says Hayes, can help on the prevention front, by uncovering genetic qualities of those who predisposed to develop diabetes.

“As such, we see genetics being a necessary data input in forming personalised nutrition recommendations and products for diabetes prevention,” he adds.

But key challenges in its mainstream adoption remain – there needs to be more scientifically-backed evidence on what works and what does not. That will also justify the higher costs involved in customising nutrition plans, says Hayes.

Gupta agrees with Hayes.

“It can be challenging to design effective and efficient personalised nutrition services for different individuals and getting the technology in sync with parameters like individual dietary preferences, age group, health conditions, and so on. Doing this is costly and companies may face growth constraints as a result,” he says. 

Furthermore, the data needs to be extra secure to ensure it does not end up in the wrong hands, says Gupta. 

To resolve these issues, Hayes recommends that personalised nutrition start-ups partner with large corporations to offset the high costs of research and customisation.

“A personalised nutrition start-up can approach a large corporation pitching it as a preventative tool for employees. Corporations can offset costs and offer it as part of healthcare benefits. Insurers can also work with employers to cover the cost of personalised nutrition programmes.” he says.