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Gym Equipment & Gear

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As a frequent runner and gym-goer, I have been looking for a headset that would suit my needs for a while. 
It being Bluetooth was, of course, the key point: getting all tangled up in a wire during a run is one of the worst feelings an athlete can experience (although this might be a slight exaggeration)

I also needed it to be somewhat waterproof – Singapore is a great playground for runners, as long as they are not afraid of getting sweaty.. or drenched.
Finally, I needed to stay in place – most of the wireless headsets’ earplugs are not adapted to small ears like mine and won’t stay in for an extended period of time.

After testing some products from Jabra and other brands and listening to my ultra-running friends’ recommendations, I decided to go ahead with the Aeropex from Aftershokz. Here is my honest review, after more than a year of using it daily.

aftershockz aeropex
picture: @dirganfasapixels

What are bone conduction earphones?

What convinced me to buy them, apart from the design itself, was the use of interesting technology – Bone conduction, which allows the earphones to sit ON your ears, rather than going in, like more traditional models. 
The 2 most noticeable advantages of this are:
1. Safety – as it doesn’t isolate you from the outside sounds, you can run/walk/cycle with them without putting yourself at risk of an accident due to something you hadn’t heard coming. 
2. Great for people with hearing difficulties – as it doesn’t rely solely on the eardrums, people with impaired hearing can get a better experience than with normal earphones. 

More information about bone conduction headphones and how they work here. 

This model from Aftershockz is, of course, not the only one available on the market based on this technology – but it is the main brand commercializing it in Singapore, meaning you can go to a shop and give it a try to see if you like it or not. 


Pros of the Aftershokz Aeropex:

  • perfect for outdoor sports – the bone conduction system allows the user to stay aware of their surroundings while getting a great audio experience
  • sweat & rainproof
  • Very light yet not fragile at all
  • fits every head
  • The battery can last & recharging it takes less than 2hrs
  • The in-built microphone is very decent and allows to take phone calls – but the lack of noise-cancellation makes it difficult to have a call outdoor, especially near busy roads. 

 

Cons of the Aftershockz Aeropex:

  • No noise-cancellation functionality (simply because they don’t get into your ears). However, they come with internal earplugs you can use along with the headset – which can come in handy in a crowded & noisy environment such as the gym.
  • Within 14 months of usage, I had to fill a warranty claim twice – the charger had stopped working properly, and the battery life was down to a few hours.
    However, Singapore’s warranty service is very responsive, efficient and offered an immediate solution both times. Aftershokz products are covered by a 2year warranty, which makes them a safe bet.


So, should you buy the Aeropex earset from Aftershockz?

YES

If you are looking for very light yet sturdy running/cycling earphones that won’t move during your sessions. 

NO

If you need noise-cancellation, or if you intend to swim with your new earphones.

 

 Last thoughts:

Overall, one of my best sports-related purchases of 2019 – I can’t spend a single day without using it, and I would happily recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable headset to run, cycle or go to the gym. 
If you are looking for a more technical review, TechRadar has published an extensive article about those – check it out! 

 

Where to buy Aftershokz Aeropex in Singapore: 
Stereo 68, #04-06 Orchard Rd, Plaza Singapura, 238839
MobyShop 14 #02-52 Scotts Road, Far East Plaza, 228213

 

The circuit-breaker made me realise I didn’t need a gym to exercise: if I needed some endorphins, I could simply put my running shoes on, and go for a jog in my neighbourhood. From there, I started to run more, faster, longer. Ultimately, I had to step up and improve my gear – running 25km with an armband wasn’t an option, and I got a cheap camel bag to hold my hydration pack, energy bar & phone. It did the job, of course, but you lose the impression of freedom that usually comes with running. I was back on the hunt for the perfect running bag, that could hold my stuff without being a burden. That’s how I came across Naked Innovations’ Running Band. As I know some of you might still be trying to figure out what works best for them, I thought I’d share my views on what became my go-to running belt. 

naked innovations sport belt running

Wait, what is the Naked Running band about? 

The Running Band from Naked is a belt, that sits nicely on the bony part of your hips. No shoulder strap, no zip, nothing – you have to get it on like a skirt or a pair of pants, and pull it up to your waist.
Then what? Then it stays there, are allow you to pack everything you need for your run. Literally EVERYTHING. Phone, keys, wallet, but also energy gels or bars, CrampFix, a flask (up to 500ml) – You can even use the straps to hold your running/trekking poles.

Why do I like it so much?

It’s SO light you don’t even realise you are wearing a belt. And it makes me think of Mary Poppins’ bag – the pockets are so extensible that it feels like you could store every possible item and still have room for more. The design is nice too – I can’t help it, I’m not a fan of very bright colours on running apparel, and this black & yellow combo is perfect for me.

naked innovations sport belt running

What do I like a bit less about it?

Due to the fabric, you are supposed to hand wash it with cold water – I used to just toss my cheap running bag in the washing machine, and now I spend a bit more time taking care of this belt.
Also, my shape is a bit odd, so I would have loved a size between 1 and 2 – but that’s a personal thing. I went for size 2, as I want to avoid having my belly tightly held during the longer runs.

 

Where to buy Naked Innovations Running Band in Singapore:

Naked Innovations products are available at the Red Dot Running Company, located in Joo Chiat. I’d highly suggest going there and trying the belt (or vest) out to make sure you get the right size for you. The team there will be happy to assist with any questions too.

Red Dot Running Company, 152 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427430

photography: Dirgan

Not feeling like going back to the gym after the circuit-breaker? Absolutely fine – there is no need to spend money on a gym membership to stay fit. Of course, you could find tons of excuses not to do anything – but with the right equipment and a bit of planning, it’s very easy to get into a great home-workout routine.

Here are our best tips to get your own home-gym and make the most of it!

1. Pick an objective – and stick to it!

First and foremost, if you want to stay motivated in the long run, you need to decide first what you are going for. Is your goal to…

  • lose weight?
  • gain muscle?
  • improve your performance?


It is much easier to stay on track when you train toward a well-defined objective, so you should probably spend some time crafting one. Give yourself a quantifiable goal, with a timeline... and stick to it.
It needs to be realistic (you won’t lose 20kg in 1 week, nor go from 0 to 100 pull-ups overnight) and you can even plan for some sort of reward when you achieve it – a new gadget, a new piece of gym outfit, or a meal at a nice restaurant.

You will need to track your progress, so choose some metrics that allow you to see the change. It can be your weight, some before/during/after pictures, your weightlifting or running personal records… or if you have just started working out, simply the number of sessions you log in every week, that you may want to increase over time. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve is the best way to stay motivated.


2. Get the RIGHT equipment 

You don’t need much to be able to train efficiently, build muscle or burn a crazy amount of calories, and you certainly do not need every piece of equipment available.
Just select the few that match your goals, and train hard with them. Of course, if you are afraid of getting bored, you can spice things up with a few additional pieces, like resistance bands & accessories. But the baseline is: KEEP IT SIMPLE. A few weights to choose from to encourage muscle growth, a couple of ways to do cardio (that you enjoy, don’t force yourself to go jogging if you hate it) and you’re all set up!
Here are the few pieces we would recommend getting first.

A pull-up bar

A bar to hang on is one of the home gym absolute must-haves. It is the simplest way to get better at pull-ups & chin-ups, but also to release your back from the tension accumulated all day, especially if you spend most of your time at a desk.
Quick tip: grab the bar for a 30sec active hang a few times a day (or every time you walk under the bar) to get a stronger back & a better grip in no time.

You want to make sure your bar is nicely installed and secure – if fixing it to the wall with screws is an option, please do so. It will allow you to practice a broader range of movements, including toes to bar, knees-to-chest & muscle-ups.

A pair of dumbbells (or more)

Dumbbells are great, because they let you do a broad range of exercises – you can train your entire body with just a couple of them.
They are also more challenging than barbells, as they prevent your strong side to compensate – from squats to overhead press, you will feel the difference.
Choose a weight that allows you to do various moves – you can buy a separate, lighter pair for isolation movements, like biceps curls.
For ladies, we would recommend picking a pair of 10kg, guys could pick 2 x 15kg or heavier. You should be able to do at least front rows, snatches, squats & deadlifts with them. 
Don’t panic if they feel heavy at the beginning: your body will quickly adapt, and the weight will feel much lighter soon.

Get your dumbbells from F1recreation and enjoy a 10% discount with the code HEALTHY10

A kettlebell

Kettlebells are great for HIIT training – They can be used both for the cardio part (with KB Swings, for example), and the resistance part (with KB Squats, Deadlifts or Romanian Deadlifts).
Make sure you get one that is decently heavy (12 or 16kg for ladies, 20+ for guys) in order to get the most benefits from your training.

A Jump rope 

If you don’t want to run outside and don’t own a treadmill or indoor bike, make sure you get a jumping rope! You can either go for a weighted one (used in MMA gyms) or for a speed rope (the very thin one), that will allow you to also train your double under technique and burn a lot of calories in a very short amount of time.

A good quality mat

If you are into yoga, you probably have one already – if not, make sure you don’t get the cheapest models if you plan on doing burpees or any sort of cardio on your mat, as it will get damaged pretty quickly.

A BOSU Balance Trainer (especially if you are a runner!)

BOSUs (the blue half-spheres you sometimes see at the gym) are great to add imbalance, and therefore complexity to your workouts. They are also fantastic to train your ankles & knees’ stability and get stronger legs – the best way to prevent running injuries!

BOSU products available in F1 Recreation online shop (10% discount with HEALTHY10)


3. Block your schedule & get started

Now that you have your objective & equipment, comes the hardest part: make some time for your workout!
During the past few months, we all got more spare time, but it was quite easy to get absorbed by other activities – or just come up with excuses – not to work out. However, staying active is crucial, especially as the daily energy expenditure of people who started working from home has dropped quite significantly.
Make sure you find 1hour at least 3 to 5 times a week and commit to a ritual.
Try to stick to the same timeslot – it makes your other activities easier to articulate around it.
If possible, turn off your phone, and don’t let the outside world disturb you. You should take it as you “me” time and turn all your attention to your goals.
Make sure you start every session with a clear program in mind – it helps a lot turn any session a fruitful one. You can build your own training program or check out online to find the best exercises to achieve your goal.
Finally, to keep making progress, you will need to gently and regularly increase your training’s intensity – what doesn’t challenge you (and your muscles) doesn’t change you!


Picking the perfect sports gear & equipment can be tricky: it needs to look good, of course, but most importantly, it has to match your needs & practice level. If you can buy whatever you think is best for you right off the shelf, you would probably benefit a lot from advice from someone with more experience – whether you’re a professional athlete or a novice. If you feel a bit lost, fret not! Many physical stores in Singapore have qualified teams to help you pick the right gear. 

Pro-tip for beginners: There’s no need to spend a lot of money on gear & equipment if you’re just getting started with a new sport and going for mid-range quality products instead of costly & technical stuff (that you won’t be able to really take advantage of anyway) is a good way to save some bucks.

For multisports gear & equipment: Decathlon

Decathlon has now several outlets around the island & installed their flagship in Mountbatten. Regardless of your level of practice, and the discipline you’re into, there will be something for you to buy there. They only sell products from their own brand, so don’t expect to find your favourite logos there – But everything is quite cheap and it’s the best shop to get basic equipment when you start a new activity. And if you can’t make up your mind, the staff will be happy to help you choose too.

Decathlon Sports Lab, 230 Stadium Blvd, Singapore 397799
Most products available online (some of them are not listed, so don’t hesitate to visit one of the stores and ask, if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the website)

For & equipment: F1Recreation (online shop)

If you are looking for really good quality weights & professional equipment, give their website a go. They have a large range of brands, including Trigger Point, TRX, LifeFitness & Bosu – if you have spotted some accessories at the gym that you would love to bring back home, they are most likely available in F1 Recreation’s shop. If you are on a budget, you can also find pre-loved equipment there – a must to build your home-gym!

F1 Recreation – Use the promo code “HEALTHY10” for 10% off your orders!

For Crossfit gear & equipment: ArmourUP Asia

armour up asia store orchard

If Crossfit is your thing, you are in the right place. They have items that are pretty hard to find anywhere else in Singapore, including chalk, handcare products, speed ropes and international brands like KingKong, HAW & Rocktape. Can’t lie, I’m a big fan of their extensive range or wrist wraps too – there must be a pair just for you there.
Last, but not least: they are pretty well known because they offer a broad range of vibration therapy massage guns – and if you haven’t tried one already, you should probably drop by.

Visit their store in Orchard 181 Orchard Rd, #06-23 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896 or go online

For Trail running & Ultra Running Shoes & accessories: The Red Dot Running Company

red dot running company singapore
Photo credit: RDRC

Choosing running shoes can be a challenge – especially if you plan to spend long hours wearing them. Red Dot Running Company has a great selection of models across a few selected brands. They also have all sort of accessories, from gels & bars for your next long run to the comfiest socks you can imagine.
The best thing about the shop though is the team: everyone is passionate about running & outdoor adventures – ask for tips, they are always ready to help.

Red Dot Running Company, 152 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427430

For cheap(er) workout attire: Changi City Point & IMM Factory Stores

If you are looking for new shorts or tops to go to the gym, head to Changi City Point (MRT Expo) or IMM (Jurong East) to visit big brands’ factory stores: Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok… You’ll surely find some treasures among the numerous discounted items. If you don’t live in the East or far West, it might be quite a journey, but with branded sports shoes starting at 40$ and clothes as low as 5$, it is definitely worth the trip.

Changi City Point, 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Singapore 486038 and
IMM, 2 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore 609601

For Sports Nutrition & Protein Powders: Nutrition Depot

Getting on a protein-rich diet might come pretty costly in Singapore – a lot of big brands are selling expensive bags of protein powders – most of them being pretty tasteless & hard to drink. If you’re looking for diversity and excellent recommendations, I’d highly recommend you to go to Nutrition Depot. The team knows their products perfectly and will be happy to provide you with the whey powders or high protein snacks that are most suitable for your needs. They also work with several brands, and there’s always something new to try – You’ll love their protein bar section!

Nutrition Depot, 2 outlets in the CBD

If you spend at least a few hours in a gym or at a Crossfit box every week, there’s no way you’ve missed it: the new big thing when it comes to recovery is massage guns. This relatively new technology aims to release the tension in your muscles through vibration therapy.
If you don’t go to the physio or haven’t hired a PT yet, you may wonder: “Should I get one for myself?” Is it worth it? Or is it another gadget you’ll buy and forget after a few months in a drawer?
I had the same question floating in my head for a while, and I decided to give it a try. I got one of the small versions: the Flow Mini, from the ArmourUP Asia shop in Orchard.
After a few weeks using it quite frequently, I’m happy to share with you my thoughts – Is it worth investing in it? Do you need one?

flow mini massage gun singapore

First, what is vibration therapy?

Vibration therapy has been created to help muscles warm up and recover faster.
Before a workout, it helps activate the muscles, increase the blood flow and get ready to perform.
After a workout, it helps relieve the pain by targeting specific muscles and decreasing lactic acid production. It can also be used before going to bed, to relax tight areas and get better quality sleep.

What makes the Flow Mini special?

Compared to most of the other massage guns, the Flow Mini is (as you could guess with the name), quite small. It makes it much easier to handle and use (especially if you have tiny hands, as I do).
Weighing only 800g, it has been made to follow athletes and sports addicts everywhere, and even comes with a travel bag. 
I’ve been quite amazed by how complete the product is, for quite a low price – you get 4 different massage heads, a travel bag & a guide to learn how to use it.

flow mini massage gun singapore
Everything that is included in the box.

After a few weeks, what do I think of it?

I’ve now been using the Flow Mini for 2 weeks – of course, I started by using it every single day when I got it, and had to slow down a bit. Overall, I’m very happy with it: it is a relief to find it at home after a hard workout or before going to sleep when my back muscles are painful (I changed my training program recently, and I have to deal with muscle soreness almost every day). I recover faster when I use it, and it definitely helps with the pain – I also realized how calming it was after a long day, as it makes the muscles numb a bit. It also forced me to take some me-time – I have a hectic lifestyle, and I often forget to take care of my body, while running around all day, training & working with clients. Taking 5 or 10 minutes after my workouts or a long day of work, just to analyze which of my muscles were sore, and relaxing with a massage, is something that I didn’t know I needed – and that I’m glad I have now!

I’m not the only one benefiting from it either: as it’s quite light, I can bring it with me and I started using it with some of my clients too – It’s definitely too good not to share.

(I have to admit, slow-mo videos of the vibration are pretty cool)

Do you need one?

I would say yes, especially if:

  • You work out a lot and would appreciate a faster recovery cycle
  • you are an athlete attending long competitions and need to keep your muscles warm
  • You have chronic muscle pain and could do with frequent massages (without having to visit a spa every day)

It costs 249S$ and it’s money well spent if you can commit to using it at least a few times a week – very occasional gym-goers might not benefit from it as much as workoutaholics would.

Where to get a Mini Flow Gun?

Visit Armour UP Asia in Orchard – 181 Orchard Rd, Orchard Central, #06-23 
Their new shop is really cool, and you can ask all of the questions you may have to the team, they are very knowledgeable and will be happy to advise.
You can also shop online: armourupasia.com