During this current period of working from home, we are more sedentary than ever. In between errands, families, zoom meetings and more, it might seem like an impossible task to schedule in some much needed exercise. Feeling already overwhelmed by life but still wanting to keep in shape, I decided to try out Ritual Gym which promises 30-min workouts that are efficient and effective.
Entering Ritual Gym for the first time, the helpful receptionist assisted me with registration for the intro session. The casual and friendly atmosphere set me at ease and made everything feel a little less intimidating to newbies like me. Each staff member was very friendly and greeted every customer by name as they walked by.
Super friendly and awesome staff
I started with the hour-long, one-to-one intro session, which can be booked separately from the normal slots, at no extra cost. This is recommended for all newcomers and I strongly encourage everyone to go through the introductory session as it was extremely detailed and beneficial. Basically, it was a personal training session.
My assigned trainer, Bernard, watched out for my posture and assessed my movements, strength, level of fitness and flexibility in basic exercises. He was extremely detailed, knowledgeable in form and anatomy and took a lot of notes on my profile. If my form was a little bit off, he would point it out to me, explain why it was off and potentially damaging, and help me with corrections.
Enjoying my introductory session with Bernard
Ritual Gym is built around a set of basic exercises, which the trainer goes through in detail in the introductory session. As I was not completely new to exercise, I already knew some of them – squats, pushups, burpees, deadlifts. Still, it was no walk in the park. There are also some unorthodox equipment and exercises, such as suspension trainers and rings to do pull-ups on.
Hanging rings and suspension trainers
What makes Ritual Gym stand out is the excellent level customization. Using variations of the basic exercises, Ritual has created a series of progressions to suit all levels, high or low. For example, my trainer pointed out that the weighted lunge was too easy for me (which I secretly hoped he wouldn’t notice) and he made me lift the weight overhead while lunging, into a more challenging overhead lunge. And when I was getting tired towards the end and no longer doing my pushups in perfect form, he instructed me to skip the pushup portion in the burpee. I like the emphasis on form throughout the entire session – it prevents injury and builds strength in all the right places. Even after a gentle build up in the introductory session and only 2 sets, I was panting and collapsed on a bench.
Next, I went back to Ritual Gym to experience the actual sessions. Every day, a different set of exercises with different lengths of workout and timing are written on their blackboard. They are helpfully broken down by level, so it was easy to increase or decrease difficulty for each exercise. At the start, deciphering the jargon on the blackboard did feel like reading a different language, but the trainer was more than happy to explain and demonstrate each movement if you’re unfamiliar. After a couple of sessions, I was much more familiar with the different movements and wasn’t so lost each day.
The all important blackboard determining the torture of the day.
The normal sessions start every 30 minutes. This makes it very easy to fit a workout into your own schedule whenever you’re free, instead of the other way around. However, there were some hours of the day that did not have sessions, and somewhat frustratingly, they were during peak and popular times. For example, in the period I went to Ritual, the Raffles Place branch did not have any slots from 11am to 4pm, while Orchard was missing slots from 12pm to 2.30pm.
Even with the lack of some popular slots, Ritual Gym has one of the most flexible schedules available and is perfect for those with unpredictable schedules – you can book a session right up to 2 minutes before the start of the session. The cancellation policy is also very flexible, at just 30min before the session. You can practically walk in a few minutes before a session, as long as there is a spot available. The more popular slots, like the evening slots, needed some advance booking – I booked mine before lunch time. On the whole, it’s a relief not to have to set your alarm to grab your slot the second it is released, unlike some other fitness classes.
To make things easy, there is also the Ritual app, which is very well designed, intuitive to use and very easy to book and cancel slots. It even shows your workout history, account information, goals and more.
Even the most absentminded or spontaneous person will enjoy Ritual’s approach of removing barriers to exercising. I literally walked in with my office clothes bringing nothing except myself, and was able to do a workout.
They provide towels and a workout kit in various sizes. (Some branches even have gender differentiated t shirts and shorts, although the Raffles Place branch was unisex.) Plus, the workout is done barefoot, which I absolutely love because I hate lugging around bulky exercise shoes the most.The Ritual outfit was comfortable and kept me cool, although I probably won’t be winning any beauty contests in it.
No more excuse to skip a workout by forgetting your workout gear
Modelling their workout kit
The locker room and shower facilities were top notch, but do note that they are unisex. Digital locks on the lockers allowed me to store my belongings securely and retrieve them easily. The showers were also very spacious, with a separate shower cubicle (with ample hot water) and changing area. Shampoo, conditioner and soap are provided as well. There are even hair dryers provided, so it’s possible to glam yourself up after sweating it out.
Very well built and spacious locker rooms
Who says you can’t look glamorous before, during and after exercise?
Is it really enough to workout for 20min? After trying a few sessions, I could unequivocally say yes. 30 seconds per exercise doesn’t sound long, until you’re doing burpees. After every session, my heart rate remained elevated with the post exercise buzz. And I was definitely rather sore the next morning. I did find that different days did have different levels of intensity. Some days were more cardio and speed based, which felt a little easier to me, while I suffered on the strength heavy days. The short duration also ensured that I wasn’t completely wiped out after a session, which meant that I could still go to my next meeting without crawling out of the gym. However, for those who like to be completely spent after a gym session, it may not feel enough for you.
Due to the small group size (a maximum of 10) and each person being in a separated area without shared equipment, masks are allowed to be off during exercise, which is definitely necessary because you’ll be panting a lot. If you’re frustrated by masks during exercise, it’s definitely a pleasant experience to have your mask off in a socially distanced space of your own. After each 30min round, Ritual Gym also provides paper towels and disinfectant spray to disinfect any equipment used during the round, which is nice attention to cleanliness and safety.
The deadlift, an exercise which many people do wrongly, is within reach with the trainers’ expert guidance
The workout area with numbered pods for socially distanced exercising
I went to a total of 3 outlets, and all 3 provided the same facilities, with spacious showers and locker areas, and workout equipment. It’s nice to have consistent facilities and equipment throughout all branches so I always knew what to expect. Although you can access all locations during the trial, the basic Ritual Gym membership is only valid for the location of your choice. If you prefer to have options of multiple locations, there is a small top-up fee (about 10% more) required. Ritual Gym currently has 5 locations in Singapore scattered across the island, so it was easy to find a location that I could easily drop into in between work and errands.
Yes, you can really finish the entire process in 30min!
The customer journey at Ritual Gym is extremely well thought out and they have managed to remove a lot of hurdles and excuses that we make to avoid working out. It’s customized for busy and frazzled people who don’t want to fuss about scheduling or remembering to bring their workout gear, but still want to keep fit and get strong. The small group size and trainers’ attention make each session feel like a personal training session.
With the high intensity and efficient results of Ritual Gym, it’s perfect for achieving short-term goals. For myself, I timed my 2-week trial to end just in time for a photoshoot and was not disappointed with the results. I definitely felt stronger after a few sessions and could cope with the intensity better.
For anyone who doesn’t know where to start with fitness, or who is looking for a simple, efficient and hassle-free solution to keeping fit, I would recommend giving Ritual Gym a try. For DollarsAndSense readers, Ritual Gym is offering a promo code (DOLLARANDSENSE) for a 14-day Unlimited Trial Pass for just $49 (usual price at $89). If you are interested, you can sign up here.
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This article contains affiliate links. DollarsAndSense may receive a share of the revenue from your sign-ups. You can refer to our editorial policy here.