Review: Passport Asia mobile app for exercise classes

I found out about Passport Asia one month ago from a friend, who told me with sparkling eyes that she has been attending exercise classes around the island – ranging from gymnastics to yoga to spinning – just by signing up with one mobile phone app.

I took little convincing. I love trying classes at different studios. Passport Asia hooks you up to 200 different exercise studios and you can select classes from kickboxing to judo to hip hop dance. You can even sign up for bubble bump soccer. If you don’t know what’s that, just take a look below – it looks awesome.

bubble bump

When the app first launched on smartphones, it was free for the first month. My friend tried out a dizzy array of classes before deciding to commit to paying $59 a month for four classes. That’s just $13.75 per class. A drop-in yoga class might¬†cost $25 at the bare minimum. A boxing class in the business district costs around $40.

The first class I signed up for was adult ballet at Wings to Wings. When I arrived at the studio at Boat Quay, one of the teachers manning the reception cheerily that the class was on the second floor. The ballet teacher, Denise, took our attendance and asked us which app we were using – Passport Asia or its competitor KFit – before starting the class with minimal fuss. There were no complicated forms to fill in, which made the whole process very pleasant indeed.

The class itself was really fun. There were only six of us so the teacher had enough time to go round and correct each one of us. We did plies at the barre, jumps in the centre and also did assisted stretching. At the end of the class, I whipped out my phone again to book more dance classes at Wings to Wings.

The first thing you see when you open the app is this:

The landing page for the Passport Asia app
The landing page for the Passport Asia app

You can use the search bar on top to search for a class you like – such as yoga or even the studio’s name. Alternatively, you can scroll down and click on the type of class you want to attend.

This filters for the class you want to attend – circuit training, in my case – and lists them by day. You can even filter further to specify the location, time of class and specific studio.

I chose circuit training
I chose circuit training

Apart from ballet at Wings to Wings, I also attended boxing conditioning at Level gym, which is located at Telok Ayer in the city centre. Once again, the process was fuss free. I arrived earlier to fill in a form, noted that I was from Passport Asia and I was good to go. At the end of the class, the boxing coach told us he would see us next week and there was no talk of signing up for any packages. I was very happy that the whole experience was easy.

And because I was curious, I also downloaded the KFit app, which is rival to Passport Asia. In comparison, KFit’s interface was a lot more cumbersome. The landing page looks similar, except that it insists that there are zero activities this week. KFit’s interface has improved a lot since I last wrote this post. I am happy to see that they now rival Passport Asia’s interface.

IMG_3554

I also could not¬†find a search function. The filtering only allows me to filter for broad activities, such as martial arts, and location, but I couldn’t search specifically for judo or karate. If I wanted to go for a ballet class, I have to filter for dance and zumba, then scroll through every day to look for ballet classes. And because I could not filter for specific studios, I could not see what other classes were offered by the same studio.

You can now search by typing in key words, by ratings, distance and trending.

IMG_3555

Maybe it was just me being dense but I certainly had a much harder time grappling with KFit’s interface. When I downloaded the app, they had a promotion that allowed you to go for one free class per month. I attended a judo class at Aljunied and like Passport Asia, the experience was very nice and there was no hard selling.

There were some overlapping classes with Passport Asia and KFit. The ballet classes I attended, for example, were available on both platforms. The judo class I took on KFit was not found on Passport Asia. In general, I felt that KFit offered a wider variety of martial arts classes.

Overall, I chose to go with Passport Asia because of ease of use and because I could go for unlimited classes at Wings to Wings. On occasion, studios might choose to limit your attendance to a certain number of times per month to encourage you to sign up directly with them. Level gym, for example, only allowed me to go for classes twice a month.

The two issues I found with Passport Asia was that I had to “check in” the app to register my attendance.¬†I did not do it for the first two times and was registered as a “no-show.” I was fined $15 for each “no-show,” which meant that I was charged $30 unfairly for classes that I attended. I emailed the support team, who were quick to respond. They could only give me a coupon for $30 off for the following month but could not reverse the charges on my credit card. So, users beware. You have to check in on the app either before or directly after the class. Leave it too long and the deadline to “check in” would have passed and that’s a $15 fine.

The second issue is that you cannot book back-to-back classes. For example, if Studio X has two classes, one starting at 7pm and another starting at 8pm, you can only book one of them. Passport Asia restricts you from booking classes that start within half an hour of each other.
Edit: Seems like I am able to now!

It costs $99 a month to attended unlimited classes and $59 for four classes per month. Passport Asia has replaced their $99 unlimited pass with a more inferior system.

  • Four Star Pass: at SGD 54 this is the smart supplement to your weekly fitness routine. Allows you to book four classes per month.
  • Six Star Pass: combine value and variety at SGD 76.¬†Allows you to book six classes per month.
  • Eight Star Pass: always on track to reach your fitness goals at SGD 98.¬†Allows you to book eight classes per month. (I chose this one after my unlimited pass ended but I may cancel altogether as I tend to attend more than 8 classes per month and the platinum pro pass is not an option as it’s too expensive.)
  • Platinum Pro Pass: challenge yourself with a daily workout. Allows you to book up to 31 classes per month at SGD 179.

I signed up for the unlimited package partly because I knew I could cancel it any time I wanted to. I didn’t have to commit to a one-year package and I could pause the subscription if I were going away on a long holiday. My friend is on the four classes a month package and she tries something new each time to complement her existing workout routine.

If you want to sign up, you can use the coupon code JOYCE-346F which is good for new subscribers.

JOYCE-346F

$15 off one month’s subscription

 

Graceful and toned with Barre Sculpt on Codyapp

I am not usually a fan of home exercise videos. The last time I completed a home programme was during an exam period when I had no time to go to the yoga studio or for a run. This time, I injured my wrist and cannot even hold a plank. The doctor told me I had a cyst in my wrist and I had to avoid putting weight on it.

I decided to buy the Barre Sculpt programme on Codyapp, which costs US$39.99 for five¬†videos, each 30 minutes long. The exercises can be assessed directly from the Codyapp website or can be downloaded as an app on your iPad, iPhone and other media devices. The trainer, Jacqueline Umof, has a dance background and also taught at Tracy Anderson’s fitness studios.

How Barre Sculpt works

There are 30 days in total and each week consists of the five workouts and two rest days. At the start, we are given a short introduction on how to use the plan.

barre sculpt codyapp

The ¬†strength and beauty of this programme is that it focuses on the smaller muscles that dancers use, which are often neglected in regular cardio or strength training exercises. ¬†The movements are somewhat similar to those done in barre classes¬†but I really like that Jacqueline focuses more on ballet positions. She also uses ballet terms (“Do a deep pli√©! Saut√©!) and gets us to turn out our legs. This means that you’re not just doing pilates moves while holding a chair; you are actually doing conditioning moves that dancers use.

This is not to say that the classes are ballet classes disguised as a modern upbeat exercise routine. There is a good mixture of ab exercises on the floor; arm toning with light weights and unusual leg work with the help of a chair.

Here are screen shots of what some of the moves look like:

codyapp barre
Second position pulses from “Interval Barre”
Abs and thighs workout during "Rhythmn and Movement"
Abs and thighs workout during “Rhythmn and Movement”
Toning the arms with weights from "Dancer Core"
Toning the arms with weights from “Dancer Core”

Continue reading Graceful and toned with Barre Sculpt on Codyapp

How I lost 2 kg in two weeks

I gained 2 kg over Christmas and Chinese New Year from overeating. It was your typical case of holiday indulgences. I ate everything in sight and convinced myself that¬†I was allowed to because the holidays were meant for merry making. Alas, my metabolism couldn’t keep up, given that I was no longer a teenager. I didn’t stick to paleo eating as well – bring on the pineapple tarts and Christmas puddings.

I didn’t realise I had gained any weight (because I don’t weigh myself) until my clothes starting feeling tight on me. My stomach, which was never really slim to begin with, started protruding out and I felt self-conscious about wearing fitting clothes. Even my bra was cutting into my chest.

Was running the answer?

I decided that I would run more. Since I enjoy running, it wasn’t a chore. It just took quite a lot of time because I wanted to go for long runs and I often didn’t have an hour a day to spare. This went on for about a month before I hurt my knee and couldn’t run anymore. The frustrating thing was that my weight didn’t budge at all. I didn’t understand why it was so difficult to lose 2 kg that shouldn’t be there in the first place. To me, I was 2 kg over my equilibrium weight. I wasn’t trying to be unnaturally slim.

At the same time, I signed up for the CFA exam – which is a really tough 6-hour exam covering financial topics – for my work. My spare time was further reduced. So I didn’t have time to go to the gym now and I didn’t have time to run. I decided to look for home exercise videos.

Home exercise videos

Friends recommended Beachbody’s Insanity¬†workout by trainer Shaun T, which was touted to be the hardest workout ever put on DVD. But you get really good results, like so:

insanity workout

Continue reading How I lost 2 kg in two weeks

Staying healthy on holidays abroad

Overseas holidays are normally associated with lots of eating. We want to sample all kinds of delicious foreign food and we take a break from our usual workout routine. It’s not uncommon to come back with our bellies bloated and skin blotchy from poor eating! Even if the trip involved physical activities like¬†hiking for two days, it’s still possible to eat unwisely when we are not prepared with healthy snacks. Or we may pig out after our strenuous activity thinking that we have burnt enough calories!

How do we stay healthy on overseas holidays then? I just returned from my friend’s bachelorette party in the Maldives and indeed, we feasted non-stop! Actually, I thought we ate a lot less than our usual holidays simply because the food and drinks were prohibitively expensive. Here are a few tips:

  • Do a fast before your holiday

If you know that your holiday will involve a lot of eating and sitting around, it may be prudent to do a one-day fast before the trip to compensate for the extra intake. There are several ways to fast. My favourite is the Fast Diet method, in which you only eat 500 calories for women, and 600 calories for men, for one day. The next day you go back to eating normally. It’s not as difficult as water fasts and not as sugary as juice fasts. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend juice fasts at all given the amount of sugar consumed. The good thing about fasting is that¬†you do it just for one day¬†but studies have shown that even¬†temporary caloric restriction can¬†have many benefits for the body, including improvements in blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.

  • Start with a salad

maldives holiday inn Continue reading Staying healthy on holidays abroad

Xtend Barre class at Upside Motion

If you have been following me on Instagram (@Paleorina) you will know that I have been moaning about my knee injury. I have been unable to run without a throbbing soreness in my inner right knee and it has been driving me mad. Without running to help me expand my energy and keep me from bouncing off the walls, I needed something else to do that was low impact and interesting.

Yes, I have yoga but yoga was something very familiar to me. I wanted to try something different and exciting. Enter Xtend Barre. This is a pilates cum ballet workout that was created by an ex-ballerina in the US. The aim of this exercise was to create the long lean lines of ballerinas without actually having to take a ballet class. I mentioned in a previous post that my favourite body types are that of gymnasts and dancers so I was quite excited to try these classes!

I signed up for a one-week trial at $55 with Upside Motion that allowed me to take not only Xtend Barre classes, but also aerial yoga and pilates. In that one week, I managed to take three Xtend Barre classes under two different teachers, Laura and Saniya.

Xtend Barre Singapore

Continue reading Xtend Barre class at Upside Motion

Endurance athletes…I’m a fan

This post was inspired by Dan’s April 2013 post on endurance athletes. He personally doesn’t like the physique of endurance athletes because they look scrawny. Sprinters look better than marathon runners any day, he contends.

Aesthetics is always personal and everyone has preferences but I must say that I’m a fan of endurance athletes. ¬†Here we have US marathon runners Kara Goucher (left) and Shalane Flanagan (right) competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics. They look so sad because they didn’t manage to win any medals.

shalane flanagan Continue reading Endurance athletes…I’m a fan

Crossfit Singapore boot camp – fun, hot and itchy

Following my first CrossFit trial at CrossFit Hub, I was raring to go for more. What’s there not to like? CrossFit seemed like a fun group exercise class where you motivate each other to get fit. So when the chance came to sign up for a boot camp organised by CrossFit Singapore at only $20 for a Sunday morning session, I was quick to take up the opportunity.

The session took place at CCAB at Evans Road. This was a different location from their regular CrossFit sessions, which are held at Ubi near Tai Seng MRT.

It was an extremely hot morning. We stood in the blazing sun to register ourselves and sign disclaimer forms.

crossfit singapore

There were about 35 people, who seemed to all be new to CrossFit.

These were two of the coaches. There were about four people assisting the whole group at any point, which was good because they could pay some attention to all of us. Continue reading Crossfit Singapore boot camp – fun, hot and itchy

Intro class at Crossfit Hub

In my quest to become stronger, faster and more flexible, I signed up for a trial class at Crossfit Hub. This is one of the six CrossFit gyms in Singapore and I chose this one because it was the most reasonably priced. I went there for the 11am Sunday introduction class.

Crossfit Hub Singapore

This is the entrance of the “gym.” It was just a medium-sized space with barbells, rings and tyres for exercise. There were no machines because it is believed that your body weight is the best resistance. I like this philosophy; the machines at my gym intimidate me!

Crossfit, in the words of the trainer, is essentially a strength and conditioning workout class (I forgot to ask for her name). When I arrived, I was put in a group of four other beginners. I was the only girl. There was little in way of assessing our fitness level or any prep talk. We were shown how to do a proper squat then paired up for warm-up. Continue reading Intro class at Crossfit Hub