Yet, we won’t be the first to admit that sometimes our work leaves us a little tight for time and we often feel a greater burn from our gym membership fees than in our glutes. When we do manage to find the time, we’re not exactly sure where our strengths (both metaphorical and literal, of course) lie or even where to go.
Well then, thank God for GuavaPass. Founded by two millennial gents by the names of Rob Pachter and Jeffrey Liu (who both moved to Singapore from the USA roughly a year ago), GuavaPass was created to curate some of the best fitness studios in the city on a single platform. For a fixed monthly fee (no contract), members can explore and attend different fitness classes at over 70 studios in Singapore. Plus, classes are scheduled around the clock, so there’s guaranteed to be a class that fits snugly into any schedule. The only limit is how many times you can attend class at any particular studio.
Though, GuavaPass aims to be far more than just a class-booking platform, offering up everything from martial arts, yoga, HIIT bootcamps. It is as much about promoting an active and healthy lifestyle as it is about encouraging its members to go out and try something new, to challenge themselves and find their own niche in the fitness world. While Singapore has no shortage of fitness studios, co-founder Jeffrey noticed “it was very fragmented” and having freshly moved to Singapore from Santa Monica, he felt the “[fitness] lifestyle I had was missing in Asia… and so, we [Jeffrey and Rob] had this notion of basically creating this healthy community.”
Rob is quick to make clear that GuavaPass is not just for fitness newbies. When asked why there is so much appeal in classes over exercising independently, the self-confessed health junkie explained, “I don’t want to go to the gym anymore and stare at myself in the mirror doing curls… not that it’s not a good sight, but it’s very boring… I like to go to a class and get into that mindset of working out where someone is dictating what to do.”
Shifting the common view of workouts, from being a weekly punishment to being a chance to get out and actually have some fun, GuavaPass is also intended as a way of getting people to be more adventurous and try new things, knowing full well that “even if you don’t know this studio, you’re going to walk in and have a great experience… because it’s vetted out by the experts” says Rob, “every single person on our team is fit, every single person on our team takes at least a class a week.” Jeff is quick to correct him, “it’s more like a class a day… we have a guy for example, who goes to two classes a day. It’s very inspiring to see.”
So, how did they pick and choose which specific fitness studios to partner with? As Rob creatively put it, “we realised that we don’t need to have the Chinese buffet menu of 200-300 studios to be part of our network… [we] identified what the top categories we needed to have on our platform – which consisted of yoga, spinning, dance, boxing, MMA, pilates, crossfit and bootcamps”. Then, the GuavaPass guys embraced the technical expertise of their (rapidly growing) team – partly built of certified yoga instructors and even a national taekwondo champion – to identify the cream of the crop.
It must be said that some of the classes are definitely not for the faint of heart. Fortunately, the site makes clear the level of expertise required (if any) for every class.
When asking for recommendations, both men listed CruCycle (a spinning studio) as “the hot craze”, which does a “really good job of balancing the cardio…upper body and their signature move, which is working your core.” Also mentioned were bootcamps by personal training gym, Level, with Jeff remarking, “I couldn’t walk after… for a week!” While not to the same severity, I too dared to try something new in the form of a beginner’s pole-dancing class at one of GuavaPass’ partnered studios. Leaving with minor bruising on my arms from (not so gracefully) attempting a new move, it was fresh and challenging, motivating me to explore what other classes I could try.
Yet, a question that begged to be asked was – just how does GuavaPass elevate themselves from being a simple booking platform to actively forming the ‘fitness community’ they felt Singapore lacked? Rob notes GuavaPerks where they partner up with healthy establishments [like] cold press juiceries, active lifestyle brands like Lululemon, reflecting how the company is branching out beyond their offerings of calorie-torching exercises to include more holistic aspects of healthy living. GuavaPerks is intended to provide members with exclusive access to special offers at ‘healthy-living partners’ as well as access to wellness seminars and workshops. Jeffrey elaborates, “for example, we’re collaborating with Soulscape [Singapore’s largest annual outdoor yoga festival], where we’ve organised a Zen Zone, with cool ‘guava green’ beanbags on the beach, [to create] a meditative zone.”
GuavaPass may not be the only booking platform out on the market (with KFIT and Passport Asia offering something similar) but they seem to have muscled in above the rest and are reaping impressive gains. To say that the project has grown quickly would not do justice to how rapidly it has expanded in both Singapore and the APAC region. “We’re live in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore… we launch[ed] Dubai in September and Shanghai [soon] after. Melbourne and Sydney are right around the corner, as well as Taiwan”, lists Rob.
Though that’s not even the most exciting part. A GuavaPass membership is ‘multi-city’, meaning “you can use the pass just by switching your location” to attend classes at different fitness studios across the world, wherever GuavaPass exists. This means you can import your healthy lifestyle with you wherever you go… and better yet, encounter and socialise other GuavaPass members from around the world too.
It may be November but it’s never too late to get started on those New Year health and fitness resolutions. Trust us, your 2016 self will thank you for it!
By Marissa Trew | Images courtesy of GuavaPass
For more information, visit: guavapass.com
Cheang Qing Xin is the founder of QX Adventures, a