THE RIGHT BALANCE Former national gymnast Gregory Gan opens up about the journey that led him to Gym Ground Fitness


THE INTERVIEW WITH GREGORY GAN lasted longer than I had anticipate­d, but the 29-year-old former gymnast had a lot to share. What began as child’s play at five turned into a struggle when he reached his teens. It wasn’t until he pulled through an injury did Gan find a new lease on life as a gymnast. This led him and his team to snag a bronze medal in gymnastics at the 2015 SEA Games ‒ Singapore’s first in the field ‒ before moving on to set up Gym Ground Fitness and begin a new journey.

How did you get your foot into gymnastics?

My parents are former gymnasts. They created their own gymnastics training company for kids while I was growing up. I was about five then and everything was like a playground. It wasn’t until I was in Primary One did my parents begin training me formally. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into (laughs).

Why do you say that? Gymnastics seems like a lot of fun.

It was tough. When I was around nine, I started training under a Belarusian coach who was very strict. I had to wake up at

6am to go to his place for body conditioni­ng before heading to school. Training resumed after that and lasted until 10pm. As tough as it was, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t until I reached my teens that I felt like it was taking a toll on my life. My love for gymnastics began to dwindle as I juggled training with school.

As it happened, I tore my elbow ligament during SEA Games 2007, when I was about to enlist. I thought then that would be a good time to retire.

What got you back into the sport then?

Singapore Gymnastics asked me to take part in SEA Games 2012, during my second year of National Service. I agreed because I did miss it a little. I had already been out of it for about two years though, so I had to get back in shape despite my ligament injury. Altough we didn’t win, returning to that environmen­t and having athletic events to look forward to rekindled a spark in me. I began university shortly after and trained in between classes, and it was easier to manage this time because I knew what was expected. The fire kept me going and in 2015, my team and I got the bronze medal, which was Singapore’s first gymnastics medal.

This led you to explore the business side of things?

You can say that. After doing an internship in an office, I decided to coach at a Pilates studio. Unfortunat­ely it closed down. I wanted to work on my own for once, so Gym Ground Fitness happened.

Existing yoga, Pilates and calistheni­cs classes also offer similar benefits through similar motions. How is Gym Ground Fitness different from those?

It’s more for those who are concerned about building strength and improving mobility and flexibilit­y using my experience­s as both a former profession­al gymnast and a coach.

As a profession­al gymnast, the emphasis on form and safety is extremely important. In most of these “trendy” classes, customers have certain fitness goals in mind. Though these classes are efficient in helping customers achieve visible results, injuries are often a consequenc­e due to the lack of safety precaution­s.

The trainers may ask if you have injuries prior to class and adjust your positions along the way, but that’s not enough. I want everything to be efficient and safe, not just to quickly get classes done.

I don’t believe in trends, or having my students strike incredible poses while forge ing that safety comes first

Sounds like you’re not a big fan of fitness classes that ride on trends.

Let’s just say my priorities are different. I don’t believe in trends, or having my students strike incredible poses while forgetting that safety comes first. Because I focus a lot on precision, efficiency and safety, students can trust that I can help them to achieve their fitness goals with few to no injuries, and thus maximising the efficacy of the workouts.

In a way it becomes like a long-term training regime for them to help reach their fitness goals in a safe environmen­t instead of a one-off thing. AM

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