I stumbled into my first day at Ultimate Performance Singapore still hungover and reeking of alcohol. I was suffering from acute back pains, had become weaker, and was desperate for a solution. Entering my late 20s, my body could no longer withstand the nightly barrage of alcohol and decadent suppers afterward. My physique, which used to be fairly low-maintenance, had crumbled under the weight of junk food into soft and lumpy disrepair.

Ultimate Performance Singapore is a personal training gym that is extremely serious about helping its clients achieve maximum results. Its trainers immediately threw me off the deep end, into a no-alcohol, no-carbohydrate, and no-dairy regimen.

Coming off carbs to encourage my body to burn fat instead was nothing less than torture, but I gradually adapted and soon enjoyed the steady level of energy that fat metabolism provided me with. Before I knew it, I was beginning to relish how my intense compound workouts and strict diet were rapidly shaving fat off my body. I lost approximately a kilogram per week, and had dropped from 37% body fat to 22% within six weeks. I have never had this much lean muscle mass in my life. I now better cherish my body, as well as the lessons that I learned from this rejuvenating transformation. Here are the hard truths I've picked up along the way. 

Andre Frois on personal training at Ultimate Performance Fitness

Many of us are addicted to carbs without even knowing it
If you often feel lethargic and constantly require naps or carbohydrate-rich pick-me-ups, it might be because your body has become reliant on burning carbohydrates and is averse to burning fat. This means your fat reserves are seldom tapped, while ingested excess carbohydrates are converted to fat and join the party at your problem areas.

Alcohol is a triple threat
Besides the sugar content of alcoholic drinks, alcohol also keeps the liver busy with breaking alcohol down, resulting in the liver not being able to continually metabolise fat and carbohydrates. The toxic by-products of alcoholic breakdown are retained within fat and encourage fat storage.

I lost approximately a kilogram per week, and had dropped from 37% body fat to 22% within six weeks

Running is a much less effective method of weight loss than resistance training
Surprise, surprise. As modern fitness articles prescribe, hit the rack instead of the track if you wish to drop body fat.

Frequent exercise makes you younger
Provided you are protecting yourself from the sun and are performing your repetitions with the right form, subjecting the body to daily exercise speeds up its recovery response mechanisms. If you keep it up, aches and injuries will become a distant memory.

Reward yourself with incentives other than junk food
Preservatives, bad fat and bad carbs have no place in your body. Would you eat a piece of plastic if it were deep fried? Then stay away from "food" that your school teachers warned you about. Bear in mind that cheat days, if you so choose to indulge in them, come with their ramifications too.

Warming up is absolutely necessary
Doctors see countless older adults hurting themselves daily as a result of jumping directly into an exercise. Long hours of bad posture at the office desk are harmful enough, while leaping into a workout with some muscles still "asleep" is extremely dangerous.

Someone pushing you goes a long way
Although they cost more than your solo trip to the gym, personal trainers hold you accountable to your fitness goals. They are motivators that act as an extra pair of eyes, in case the form of your exercises slackens, as well as certified consultants who can offer advice at every step of your unique improvement curve. My sincere thanks goes out to my trainer Firdaus Zainal, who worked tirelessly to help me reach my fitness goals. 

Ultimate Performance Singapore. 21st floor, 105 Cecil Street. Tel: 6536 8649. You may book your consultations here.

About Andre Frois

Andre is a freelance journalist who posts his articles on andrefrois.com and an independent publisher whose books can be viewed on afstorytellers.com.