[Photo Story] I Tried Out an Hour At SPARKD Gym To See How It Helps Train Employees’ Brain Fitness To Optimise Them At Work

Singapore is known to be a thriving and booming business hub that is home to a multitude of corporations. However, a productive workforce may often neglect their wellbeing and their mental health. This may eventually lead to poorer quality of work. 

According to global consultancy firm Mercer Mash Benefits, in 2022, 66% of employers in Singapore took the necessary action needed to address mental health challenges their employees were facing. However, this percentage is still below the global average at 70%. 

SPARKD, is a brain fitness gym that aims to make a change to this. It offers clients and businesses mind and body fitness solutions targeted to improve users’ mental and physical strength.

In this article, I will be sharing my experience at SPARKD to find out if it could be a potential mind-body wellness solution for employees.

Read Also: Complete Guide To Maximising Your Fitness & Gym Activities Using ClassPass

SPARKD Gym, In The Heart Of CBD

Located in the heart of CBD at Robinsons Road, SPARKD is nestled in the business hub of Singapore. From my workplace at Dollars and Sense at International Plaza, Tanjong Pagar, it is about a five-minute walk away. It is located on the fifth storey of an office building, and you can identify it from the banners at the lobby.

The 1,570 square feet space provided is suitable for groups and can hold about 25 to 30 pax comfortably.

For larger groups (or larger companies with around 40 to 100 employees), the team at SPARKD will bring down their equipment and according to the capacity of the space provided, plan suitable workouts and activities.

A part of the exercise space at SPARKD Gym / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

“State Of The Art” SMART Equipment  

SPARKD specialises in dual-task cognitive based training. This means that the training challenges one to use both the brain and body.

Also known as SMART Fits, the equipment used at SPARKD is unlike those you usually see at regular gyms. 

For instance, the ‘REAX lights’ uses LED lights and technology to test your reaction time by tapping on lights. This is usually paired with a form of physical exercise like jogging on the spot.

The “Reaxlights” Board tests your reaction time with the sequencing of lights. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

The “Reflexion” screen is a wide digital screen which tests your field of vision and level of focus with a variety of games. 

SPARKD’s “Reflexion” board uses pixelated gamification. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

Similar to how virtual game platforms like Wii or Xbox work, the “Multiball” screen at SPARKD has a variety of games which utilises sports equipment like soccer balls or tennis rackets to be played. 

SPARKD’s “Multiball” projector screen uses virtual technology and games for training. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

I was skeptical at first about how a bunch of digital screens and lights could help me attain a fulfilling brain body workout. Most importantly how would it help me improve my mental wellbeing. 

But after learning that some of the technological equipment were inspired by training programs designed for US and Canadian athletes such as F1 racers and world-famous soccer teams, I was a little more convinced. 

I decided to test these out to see if they fulfil the role of training both brain and body, and also if they cater to people who do not regularly exercise, like myself. 

How I Learnt to Develop My Mental and Physical Skills While Working Out 

I tested out the “Reaxboard”, where I was to balance on the moving board, do squats while at the same time throw a weighted ball to a partner. This was quite a challenge for someone like me who doesn’t work out much. 

The exercise tested my hand-leg coordination, and I could see how attempting to focus on three things at once could develop my skills in multi-tasking.

My attempt at doing squats, balancing and throwing a weighted ball while smiling in pain on the “Reaxboard”. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

It took a few attempts before my coordination kicked in and I could focus on throwing the ball to the other person. Multi-tasking is another skill I learnt from this exercise which is an essential skill for employees managing multiple tasks at one go in the workplace. 

I also decided to try out the “Reflexion” screen which tested my level of focus and field of vision through the gamification of an old school computer game ‘minefield’.

My (failed) strategy was to use two hands at once as fast as I can. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

The activity definitely tested my level of focus for one but also my reaction time and field of vision which I learnt was quite narrow. It was a challenge trying to click on as many times as possible from one end of the screen to another. I could see that repeatedly doing this exercise would be beneficial for me in the long run especially when needing the focus to work with tight deadlines. 

Another digitised equipment which challenged both mind and body was the “Reaxlights”. I did not get to try out this but by witnessing others I could tell that it was not easy. This particular exercise tested out your reaction time, speed, critical thinking and agility. There are different variations to this exercise, but the main aim was to select the odd light out within a limited time. 

You have to be pretty fast in moving and thinking using the “Reaxlights”. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

From Zero To “Hero”

Trying these workouts not only dispelled my doubts about the digitised equipments but also allowed me to learn insights about my own health and the benefits of such workouts.

As a person with zero gym experience, I found these workouts to be quite challenging. However, I learnt that each equipment could be customised to suit each individual’s preferences and preferred intensity levels. 

For instance, I witnessed how modifications such as adding a dumbbell while solving math equations is of a higher intensity level. This would be for someone who is used to the activity and want to add on physical training.

As a non-experienced gym-goer I found that a simpler game such as sequencing the alphabets while balancing on a balance mound would provide enough of a challenge as well as lower the intensity levels of the exercise at hand.

It was still a challenge to reach the bottom of the screen. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

Post Gym Workout: Gather Real Data About Your Performance

I was both surprised and impressed that after each workout, you get to look at a brief statistical overview on your performance.

Performance evaluations are tracked by an app. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

I find that this would be useful for employees to track their progress and figure out their areas of improvement whether it be mentally or physically. 

This could boost motivation and provide a direction for employees looking to improve a certain skill of theirs. I can also see this as potentially a team bonding exercise, as there can be “healthy” competitions on the physical and mental challenges.

Glad To Have The Motivating Gym Staff To Keep the Endorphins Coming

Seeing as I was an amateur at working out, and an introvert, I was a little intimidated and hesitant to try out the bizarre looking equipments. 

SPARKD’s brain health coaches were quick to provide reassurances and were enthusiastic in showing the right ways to go about using the equipments. I noticed that these proactive approaches helps to enable a person that is hesitant or discouraged to give a go at the exercises. 

SPARKD’s Brain Health Coaches giving a demonstration. / Image Credit: DollarsAndSense

Comparing to professional gym trainers who often adopt the cold and harsh approach – which would sometimes make one feeling unmotivated after a workout – this is definitely a more welcomed approach especially for the inexperienced or perhaps office workers who need to reconnect with their exercising routines.

SPARKD Gym Corporate Rates And Other Features 

Overall, I found that SPARKD’s unique training session can help build up an employee’s individual skills such as critical thinking or focus, while getting some gym time done. The classes would also likely work for team building sessions too.

The gym is offering a 10% discount on all membership packages if more than 5 people from the same company signs up and here are the membership tiers and prices after corporate discounts:

  • 1 month: $233.10
  • 3 months: $215.10 per month (Total: $645.30)
  • 6 months: $197.10 per month (Total: $1182.60)
  • 12 months: $179.10 per month (Total: $2149.20)

Besides corporate discounts, other offerings such as virtual sessions allow corporates with clients overseas to join a private or group session via Zoom.

Tailored programs are also offered to cater to any business needs or team building objectives. This includes a brain health assessment for individuals. This test can be taken online, and results will be sent to SPARKD’s own brain health coaches and a specific exercise regime will be planned accordingly. 

Indeed, taking some time off after work to sweat it out at a gym does seem like a good way to destress and take your mind off work.

Address: SPARKD Gym

61 Robinson Rd, Unit 05-02, Singapore 068893

Read Also: SMARTSingapore Gym Membership Cheatsheet (2023 Edition)

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