We review this new fitspo find, and interview founders, Joel Tan and Leslie Kwok, about their unique rebounding program
The inner child in me was absolutely delighted when I discovered that there was a workout routine based on trampolines (more accurately referred to as rebounders). But I couldn’t help but wonder if it’d really push me to my limits. I mean, trampolines are all fun and games, right?
In a bid to find out for myself, I paid a visit to Bbounce Studio, a relatively new gym with a unique focus on rebounding – an exercise based on bouncing on rebounders (essentially, mini trampolines). The various classes focus on different aspects of fitness and can even involve bouncing with weights. Being a beginner, I opted to try out the Bbounce Lite class for a preview of this unique exercise.
I slipped into my running shoes and hopped onto a rebounder. Note that although there are handles in the front, you shouldn’t get too used to them – as Joel started the class, he reminded me that we didn’t need to hold onto them.
The class started out pretty easy. We bounced on the spot on two legs, then alternate legs. Eventually, we’d bounce backwards and forwards, left and right, to the beat of electronic music piped through the studio’s speakers. Soon enough, arm movements came into play, and it became both an exercise in cardio as well as coordination. I kept thinking how mortifying it would be if I fell off the rebounder halfway.
The beginner class, a 50-minute session is certainly intense (take that with a grain of salt; I’m not the fittest Honeycomber after all), but isn’t impossible to get through. If you’ve been putting off fitness for the longest time, or want to keep at your New Year’s resolution, we think Bbounce is an excellent way to get back into shape.
Curiosities piqued, I very eagerly sat down with Bbounce Studio founders, Joel Tan and Leslie Kwok (both national swimmers), to find out a little more about this exercise routine.
Your fitness routine at Bbounce is quite a unique one. Can you tell us more about how you two met, and how you decided to start this rebounding program?
Joel: Leslie and I both met when we were swimming together in the national team. After we retired, we wanted to come up with an exercise routine that was relevant and allowed us to keep fit while avoiding injury. So our routine at Bbounce – hybrid rebounding – symbolises exactly that. It’s a high-intensity exercise that’ll help you keep fit without getting injured.
Since it’s a low-impact exercise, is it particularly suited for people with injuries?
Leslie: If it’s a major injury, we certainly don’t recommend it. But compared to activities like running, the impact experienced during rebounding is much less. Someone who runs regularly is definitely more prone to injury than if they were to take part in rebounding.
J: Some of our customers have simple back issues like scoliosis, knee, and ankle problems, but can still take part in our classes because it’s low-impact.
So what’s ‘hybrid’ about it?
J: Hybrid rebounding actually combines different kinds of exercises with weights, both on and off the rebounder – it’s definitely one-of-a-kind. And there’s a methodology and science behind how we conduct the class too.
When did you guys start Bbounce Studio?
J: We started last year in June. But our membership size is comparable to many of the big gyms out there. We have almost two thousand members, so that’s quite a number.
L: On hindsight, when we opened the studio, we should have opened a bigger one!
One of the features of rebounding is improved lymph flow. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
L: Your lymphatic system is the body’s waste collector; it collects toxins from the various cells. When people have poor circulation, the lymphatic system doesn’t work very well. And the best way to improve circulation is through rebounding, because there’s a little bit of impact, and the vertical movement helps to improve your circulation.
J: Your body’s system is vertical, so when you do exercises that involve vertical movement like skipping and jumping, it helps the lymph flow.
What would you say are the toughest challenges you’ve faced when you started Bbounce?
J: There were many! Leslie is an experienced businessman, but I graduated just a few years ago so I had a full-time job before coming to this. The biggest issue we faced was getting people to understand and recognise what rebounding was all about– what we’re trying to market, what we’re trying to sell. And at the same time, we also wanted to let people know who we are.
L: At the start, it was also difficult to tell if there would be a market for rebounding, because I think we’re the first studio that focuses on this exercise. But sometimes, you have to take a chance and just be confident about your approach.
What are some of the first impressions of your classes?
L: Those who haven’t tried rebounding before always tell me, “Whoa, is 50 minutes enough? Is your class very easy?”, or “I’m not sure if I can keep exercising for that whole 50 minutes”.
J: The usual comment I hear is that it’s tough and that they’re trying their best to keep up – and that’s exactly what I want to hear. That’s what we strive to achieve. We want to give people an idea of how athletes train, but with moderation. We want you to experience that same feeling when you step inside here.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about fitness?
J: I personally think that the biggest misconception is that you can do whatever you want to achieve your goal. Many people don’t have a clear understanding of how their body works, and what kind of exercise suits them. That happens when people don’t have basic fitness knowledge. They also need to understand how their body reacts to the exercise; no one exercise is a perfect fit for everything. Some of them like to follow Youtube routines like “six ways to trim your abs”, so they just follow that. It doesn’t work that way.
J: Another misconception is that fitness is a chore, or that it’s boring.
So what’s your advice for people who just don’t know where to start?
J: You definitely need someone to guide you along. It doesn’t have to be an instructor; it can be a friend. The most important thing is to figure out what you want to achieve first, maybe a simple exercise three to five times a week. B
L: I think pulling friends along for classes also helps a lot, because nobody likes to do things alone.
Do you think Singaporeans are fitness-savvy?
L: I think the market for fitness is fairly big, and there are definitely people who place an importance on health in their daily routine. We see a lot of regulars.
J: Singaporeans are okay, but to be honest, the fitness industry is very static and uninspiring. But it’s getting a lot better with the introduction of classes like spinning, rebounding, and Crossfit. Singaporeans are getting there.
A healthy diet is also an important part of staying fit. Are there any small things we can do to improve our diet? After all, we do love our food!
L: Cut out soft drinks and sugar. That definitely helps a lot.
J: This is where I’ve learnt a lot from Leslie. Because of him, I’ve cut down my sugar intake drastically. Sugar causes a lot of issues like obesity and ageing, as well as diabetes, of course. Things like rice, soft drinks, and white bread have a lot of sugar inside. Since the both of us are good friends, our diet is almost the same. Even if we order sweet drinks, we’ll order a bottle of water just to dilute it.
And finally, what do you wish to accomplish this year?
L: For me, I guess it would be to spend a bit more time working out. I haven’t been taking my fitness goals as seriously. The previous years have been about work and building the business, so this year is more about health for me.
J: Mine’s to inspire more people to come here and have a good workout at Bbounce. We’ve had some great success stories with people losing a lot of weight and achieving what they want. So I want people to know that they don’t have to spend a huge amount of money or wrack their brains to have fun and exercise well. I want to spread that message.
Bbounce Studio, The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road, Singapore 238843. p. 6262 2272.