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Best gyms in Singapore for express workouts

From high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to a burst of stationary cycling, we pick out five workouts under 30 minutes that still pack a punch

Don’t break a sweat when it comes to finding a gym to sweat in. These five ensure you get your dose of endorphins in about the same amount of time you take to wolf down your lunch – because spending hours at the gym is so passé.

For those who like: fat-burning HIIT
Photo: S1NGMAVEN
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For those who like: fat-burning HIIT

Ritual
Duration: 20 minutes

Ritual specialises in high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which combines strength training with cardio to ensure you get a full-body workout in every session. Because its owners believe in training the body as a machine and not with machines, you won’t find treadmills or bikes here. Instead, there are dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, suspension ropes and gymnastic rings that you’ll use during the sessions.

During a 20-minute session, you’ll do different exercises such as burpees, push-ups, kettlebell swings and squats with minimal rest time (about 15 seconds) and with at least one trainer on the floor motivating you to pick up your pace. Each session can accommodate up to ten people, and starts every half-hour so there are no excuses to skip. Ritual also has a ‘fuel bar’ where you can treat yourself to a hard-earned post-workout protein shake. Clothes, towels and toiletries are provided and the shock-absorbent gym floor means no shoes are required – just rock up and work out. 

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Raffles Place
For those who like: an electrifying workout
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For those who like: an electrifying workout

VisionGym
Duration: 20 minutes

With iPad stations located all over, VisionGym doesn’t look like your run-of-the-mill gym. But then again, it isn’t. It's the first fitness studio in Singapore to specialise in Electro Muscle Stimulation (EMS) training, where electrical impulse currents are used to stimulate your muscles. It’s not as painful as it sounds ­– the current is adjusted according to each individual, and ours only mildly tingles.

The contractions stimulated by EMS reach deep muscle tissues and are said to be 18 times more effective than conventional weight training. A typical workout involves wearing a special PowerSuit while executing basic bodyweight exercises. The PowerSuit connects wirelessly to an app (that’s what the iPad stations are for), controlled by the trainer. The programme is simple: for the whole 20 minutes, you do an exercise (say, a plank or lunges) while the current is turned on. And when it’s off, you take a breather.

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Tanjong Pagar
For those who like: camaraderie and competition
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For those who like: camaraderie and competition

Mobcon at CrossFit Mobilus
Duration: 30 minutes

Unlike most gyms, there’s no shortage of congratulatory cheers at CrossFit Mobilus. Yes, the community bond here is strong even when competing for the fastest timing. And MobCon, a 30-minute metabolic conditioning class designed to increase stamina, isn’t any different.

The key workout in MobCon is the Workout of the Day, otherwise known as WOD. It’s a series of exercises set by the trainer that are to be completed within the shortest time possible – and the idea here, surprise, surprise, is to keep trying to beat your previous time. The exercises range from cycling on an Airdyne to barbell deadlifts, and they’re always performed with a partner. Don’t you worry, lone wolves – the camaraderie that grows from performing the WOD as a pair within a group is perhaps the most attractive aspect of CrossFit Mobilus. 

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Raffles Place
For those who like: cosy, women-only gyms
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For those who like: cosy, women-only gyms

Contours Express
Duration: 30 minutes

Ladies, if you’re not a fan of grunting men crowding up the gym, this is for you. Contours Express has a friendly and non-intimidating family gym environment for women to tone, burn calories, improve overall flexibility and, of course, make new friends.

Its full body circuit training includes machine work that targets all major muscle groups, floor exercises and cardio. Newcomers are given an initial body fat percentage assessment to determine the areas to work on, after which the trainers tailor fitness plans according to goals, health and medical conditions. Trainers then check in every six weeks to assess your progress.

Contour Express has branches all over Singapore’s heartlands, so you can always fit in a workout before or after work.

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Tampines

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