Personal Training Client: Dr Shyamala Thilagaratnam

Occupation: Doctor

Personal Trainer: Nelson Chong initially, and now Mattew Chan


It started off as a birthday gift for my brother-in-law - I thought that he might appreciate a package at FTI (which I'd heard about in a rather roundabout fashion) for his 50th birthday. The package came with a free training session with Nelson for me. Nelson worked his magic; in that one free session he had me touching my toes (which I embarrassingly had not been able to do for some time), and had figured out what needed 'fixing' - and I was hooked.


Before this, I had been exercising in fits and starts, on my own and occasionally with an instructor – and I was looking to be inspired to sustain an exercise programme. Some weight loss and Michelle Obama arms were (superficial) reasons, but more than that my LDL (bad) cholesterol levels were creeping up and the HDL (good) cholesterol on its way down. My blood pressure too, which has all along been in the healthy range, was showing signs of occasionally being a bit higher than usual.


Having been hooked after that first session, I signed up for sessions with Nelson. Much time was spent fixing my various (physical!) imbalances to optimise the actual training when it started. Nelson, in my view, performs trigger point release miracles! One afternoon, I turned up for training with a two-day old migraine - which Nelson 'cured' in 15 minutes. To say that I was impressed, is an understatement.


Training with Nelson was always fun, and there was no such thing as a 'simple exercise' - most of the exercises combined movements in the various planes; and there always was a anatomical/mechanical reason for doing the exercise in a particular way – which Nelson always happily explained in his usual clear and logical fashion.


The 'hardware' at FTI is great – lots of good and interesting equipment that I’ve not seen elsewhere. But more than the 'hardware', it’s the 'heartware' that makes all the difference. All the trainers I've encountered at FTI exude positivity. Unlike some other gyms, where the non-hot bods (like me) may feel intimidated by the super buff, the atmosphere at FTI is one of encouragement, positive vibes and inclusivity.
I now train with Mattew Chan - who is also a fantastic trainer, and like Nelson, a kind person, always generous with his knowledge. Mattew is super organised and keeps meticulous records of his clients. He takes pains to explain the rationale behind the various 'not simple' exercises, and knows exactly when to push and when not to. I truly appreciate the perfectionist streak he has - in both, planning the training sessions, and actually helping me through them. Mattew is a superb motivator…as a result of his designing fun circuits, and sending me reminder messages, I now manage to fit in 1 to 2 'self training' sessions a week, in addition to the 2 supervised sessions with Mattew. Mattew is also a mine of information when it comes to nutrition and I try to pick his brain while catching my breath between circuits!
With FTI, Mattew and Nelson, I think I've found that inspiration I'd been seeking! And oh yes, my cholesterol levels and blood pressure were all within normal after about 6 months at FTI.
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