As the owner of Fitness-Buffet I have a special interest in anyone working in the fitness industry. Knowing that you should be exercising is not enough, what is needed is people, like Keith, who can help you discover the fun and satisfaction that can be had from a great workout.
Being a relatively young entrant in this industry, what many people do not know about Aileron Wellness is the amount of effort we put into educating our trainers. Unlike many gyms which are driven by number of man-hours clocked in training clients, we are painstakingly motivated by the content of our training programmes and style of training we deliver. That is why I do not hesitate to send my trainers to different parts of the world to learn from the best. And I make the effort to bring in fitness experts to share their knowledge; just this year, I brought in functional anatomy expert Chuck Wolf, who has trained Olympians and PGA players alike, to conduct a 3-day Mentorship programme at our gym.
I can confidently say that Aileron Wellness delivers the best of both worlds – both our software (of trainers and the training programmes) and hardware (of our facility and equipment) are remarkable.
What’s your story?
Since young, I have been an active boy and a proponent of health and fitness. When the opportunity to set up a gym and to make it my career came up, I grabbed it immediately. Four years on, Aileron Wellness has become one of Singapore’s leading boutique gym offering a unique proposition for one’s journey to wellness.
Instead of merely fitness, I am of the belief that adopting an all-encompassing approach towards wellness is the way to raise the quality of living. That means it’s not just about exercising, but also being aware of the food you eat, your thoughts and mental health, and the environment you put yourself in.
To date, Singapore still has an adolescent health and fitness scene. Compared with the USA and Australia, we are 5 years behind and I hope to bridge this gap through education within the next couple of years.
What excites you most about your industry?
It is dynamic and ever-changing. Every day, there are new findings on the human body, functional movement, food and nutrition and more, and my team and I get excited about them. What is also great is that there are many communities in the region and around the world who are very passionate about these topics and we exchange ideas and knowledge with one another.
One of the biggest satisfactions about the industry is that you get to impact lives directly. Every client who tells me how they have become better, stronger or more fulfilled in life reinforces my conviction that I’ve chosen to be in the right industry.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Aileron Wellness is based in Singapore, amidst the lush Sentosa, so that our clients can pull themselves away from the concrete jungle and busk in nature for at least one hour a day.
Our trainers travel around Asia and beyond not only to learn from other experts, but also to teach others. I myself am a Master Trainer who is certified to accredit personal trainers in the region.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I like Singapore for its great corporate governance and the ease with which companies can run businesses. The infrastructure is also intact and allows room for us to flourish. There are also many business venture opportunities companies can ride on.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, Singapore has a young health and fitness scene, which means there’s lots of room for this industry to develop.
Indonesia and the Philippines are also ideal for business because of the burgeoning middle class, and the young demographics of the average citizen spells potential for growth. With rising GDP, the increased affluence allows them to pay more attention and income to fitness.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There’s no formula for success, only hard work; there’s no shortcut to this if one wants to be successful in business.
Also, stay focused on doing extremely well with what you do, and keep your vision in mind all the time. When you can do this, the rest will follow suit.
Who inspires you?
Singapore’s founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew has been a source of inspiration. Running a company is hard enough, let alone a country, but he did it extremely well. During the era when he was building Singapore, it was even more difficult but he overcame all odds. I am inspired by his strong sense of vision and tenacity; it’s not easy to be visionary.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I chanced upon this quote that goes, “Without self-discipline, you will always find a way not to win”. This applies not just to fitness but also to whatever we do in our lives.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would study way harder in college, during which I spent too much time in my Co-curricular activities and having fun with friends.
I started doing business when I was 25. Given a chance to turn back time, I would start doing so earlier.
How do you unwind?
Nowadays, I don’t get a lot of time to unwind. When I do, I go for a run by the beach or work out at the gym. Recently, I’ve also taken up piano lessons and I hope to play a full piece of music by the end of this year.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love to eat and I enjoy Chinese food, so definitely Hong Kong is my pick. My favourite food in Hong Kong is liu sha bao (custard bun).
Everyone in business should read this book:
Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks.
When he founded Starbucks, he identified and capitalised on many opportunities. To me, his focus on education amongst the team members as well as building the company based on shared benefits for employees was instrumental in his success. On top of that, he was dedicated to precision in brewing the perfect cup of coffee and educating his staff about it, who are the people eventually serving the beverage.
Thanks to these factors, within such a short time frame, he could monopolise the coffee market in many parts of the USA. His mind and vision cover all aspects of a business; we all know that it’s hard to be good in everything but Schultz could do it. He is the kind of entrepreneur I want to be.
How can people connect with you?
I can easily hit it off with anyone who shares the same vision and mindset. I’m always an email or phone call away, and my Facebook is open to everyone who wants to be friends.
This Interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur: