Personal Training Client: Dez Low
Personal Trainer: Tan Long
I came to FTI with a litany of problems and injuries. I was suffering from chronic pain for 15 years and accustomed to taking a cocktail of painkillers and nerve medications. Even after having surgery for slipped disc, my lower back pain relapsed and intensified to the point where I could not walk or climb stairs.
I had several dangerous moments when I was unable to cross a road within the time the green man was lit and motorists had to give way to me inching across the rest of the street. I also have ligament injuries in my ankle and wrist and referred pain in my knees and other joints. Over time I had new injuries stacked on old ones from accidents and attempts to exercise.
Not surprisingly, I was a regular at chiropractic, physio and rehab clinics.
Coming to FTI, I first met Nelson and then Samuel who worked with me on releasing muscles that had become extremely stiff and tense, either from compensation or muscle guarding. We also focused on retraining muscles that were weak or dormant in order to provide better stability and support for injured areas. Thanks to them, I experienced my first respite from chronic pain after such a long while.
I was then introduced to Tan Long as part of the '2 coaches are better than 1' programme when I expressed my wish to start strength training in earnest.
I started training twice a week with Tan Long since Jun 2021. Very quickly, I began building muscle tone, my balance is steadily improving, and I am working with heavier weights now compared to 20 years ago when I was younger and injury free.
I feel more energetic now than at any other time in my adult life, and am feeling more confident in my body's ability to move and load-bear without risking twists, sprains or injury. That is a big win for me.
When I first learnt that Tan Long was a martial arts fighter I was worried he would be a bootcamp trainer - the type who regards the extreme as normal - and push me beyond my abilities. My foremost concern was not to trigger another pain incident in the course of training. I was fearful of overexerting or being in certain positions that might hurt my wrist, ankles or lower back.
Tan Long gave me a lot of reassurance and took time to test the range of my motion and strength before starting my training plan. He checks in with me before every session and does the necessary release work or warm up to ensure I am ready for the exercises that day. He has taught me the invaluable lesson of working with discomfort rather than shirking away from it, while at the same time being alert for pain or fatigue. The training he has designed addresses three areas.
First, (re)training muscles to prevent injury relapse.
Secondly, general conditioning for core strength, balance and cardio health.
Thirdly, and most gratifying to me, body building and strength training.
The attention given to incorporating these components makes the training holistic in addressing mobility, flexibility and strength. I see improvements steadily and this keeps me positive and motivated to stay the course.
I feel that Tan Long's own experience overcoming his injuries and continuing to train athletically gives him a lot of credibility when he encourages me to not give in to fear. He is very patient and an effusive cheerleader. I am buoyed by his confidence in me. He has helped me redefine my limits and discover that I am capable of more than I imagined.
Tan Long takes training his clients very seriously. From taking copious notes at every session, to tracking progress and designing routines that are varied and interesting, he pours a lot of heart and thought into creating the best outcomes for his clients. He observes every movement attentively and has a sharp eye for maintaining proper form.
Contrary to the bootcamp trainer personality I was wary of, Tan Long has a friendly, earnest, easygoing manner that creates a relaxed atmosphere amid what could be intense activity. If enjoying the journey is as important to you as the outcome, come train with him.
I enjoy the unique combination of personal training with a rehab slant. In spite of my many pre-existing injuries and limitations, Tan Long correspondingly whips up endless modifications - changing angles, tools, weights, equipment, and even adding padding to make sure I can train confidently and comfortably.
The wide assortment of movement and activity we work through always gives me something to look forward to when I am on my way to a training session. I love that training is uplifting and I laugh a lot - when I flail about trying to maintain balance, when I think I look odd trying a new activity, when I succeed at a challenging set. In my books, this is a great way to sweat.
I feel cared for and safe when training with Tan Long, yet he knows when I can be pushed to go harder and further. I have come to trust his expertise and judgment as I have become stronger, more energetic and, unexpectedly, more cheerful.
Most of all, I can now plan my schedule around activities as I please without giving second thought to managing pain. This is truly liberating.