Coffee Chats: Making EnergyOne The Best Gym For NSmen

The outgoing and new chairmen of the SAFRA Gym Management Committee on their thoughts and plans for SAFRA's EnergyOne Gyms.

By Alywin Chew        27 September 2022

In our Men of SAFRA series, where we sit down for a drink and a chat with key people behind SAFRA’s engine, we caught up with two leaders in the committee overseeing the award-winning EnergyOne gym.

In July, former SAFRA Gym Management Committee chairman Peter Lam handed over his seat to fellow volunteer Dr Frankie Tan, who has wasted no time in putting his background in sports science to good use.

NSMan speaks to both men about their visions for SAFRA’s EnergyOne gyms and what members can expect to see in the future. Here, we begin with Peter Lam.

Who: Peter Lam

His drink of choice: Teh C. I usually have my tea at Yakun at SAFRA Toa Payoh or the Heavenly Wang branches at SAFRA Mount Faber and Punggol.

Where you would find him: I’m often at SAFRA Toa Payoh catching up with fellow volunteers.

Q. What does the SAFRA Gym Management Committee do?

Peter: The committee comprises a group of NSmen who oversee matters such as the development of EnergyOne gyms, the adoption of new approaches to the operations, and the recommendations of new gym equipment. 

We are a multi-disciplinary team made up of NSmen from all walks of life. We have sports and fitness experts, members of the MINDEF fitness center, lawyers and even people with marketing experience. This allows us to get holistic and constructive feedback whenever we deliberate on something.

Q. How would you describe the four years you spent as the chairman of the committee?

Peter: I was delighted to take on the chairman role as fitness has always been an integral part of my self-development process. But even though I wasn’t a stranger to fitness matters, I still managed to learn a lot from my time in the committee because this experience exposed me to even more knowledge through discussions with sports and fitness experts. We have two doctors in the committee and this meant getting to learn about topics such as sports medicine and injury management as well!

(L-R) Dr Frankie Tan and Peter Lam working out at EnergyOne Gym in SAFRA Punggol.

Q. What was your vision for SAFRA’s EnergyOne gyms?

Peter: I wanted all EnergyOne gyms to provide members with an excellent experience, both in terms of fitness environment and customer service. Any gym can easily acquire the best equipment in the world, but not all gyms have outstanding atmosphere and service staff.

Q. How did you go about achieving this?

Peter: We created our very own customer experience training programme and worked with the gym staff to implement it on the ground. Besides customer service, this programme also involved having the staff cultivate an ideal workout environment by encouraging members to practise the proper gym etiquette, such as returning gear to their respective spots after working out and not hogging equipment.

Q. How are EnergyOne gyms different from other gyms?

Peter: I think the fact that they are all situated within SAFRA clubhouses is in itself something special. You don’t just get the experience of going to a gym – you are entering a club that is meant for NSmen.

Q. What is one key benefit of EnergyOne gyms that you are happy to have brought to NSmen?

Peter: The competitive pricing. The equipment, environment and experience you get from our EnergyOne gyms are really value for money. This quality is something that the committee always strives to maintain. I’m proud of the fact that we can offer such an experience without having to charge hundreds of dollars for monthly membership fees.

(L-R) Dr Frankie and Peter taking a break from working out at EnergyOne Gym in SAFRA Punggol.

Q. Can you share one memorable experience from your time on the committee?

Peter: Organising the Energy Rush event, which was held for several years until Covid-19 struck, was truly memorable. Driven by our commitment to give our members new and exciting experiences, we got together fitness and sports experts to interact with members and share tips in a fun-filled atmosphere that featured challenges, prizes and even food and drinks. I’m really happy that this event was very well-received.

Who: Dr Frankie Tan

His drink of choice: Coffee. 

What he normally does at SAFRA: I’m almost always at the gym whenever I’m at the SAFRA clubhouse. I work out at the EnergyOne gym at SAFRA Tampines two to three times a week. I also go to SAFRA Punggol at least once a month to attend executive committee meetings.

Q. What motivated you take over the helm of the SAFRA Gym Management Committee?

Dr Frankie: I’ve been a SAFRA volunteer for many years now and given my expertise as a sports physiologist, it was only natural for me to take up the position upon request.

Q. Can you share a little about your sports background?

Dr Frankie: I’ve been involved in sport and exercise science for more than 25 years in Singapore and around the world. The pinnacle of my career was heading the Sport Science and Sport Medicine Centre at the Singapore Sport Institute in SportSG, for several years until mid-2021.

Besides my role at SportSG, I also contribute my expertise in both medical schools at the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.

Q. How would you like our NSmen to view EnergyOne gyms?

Dr Frankie: I would like our NSmen to view our EnergyOne gyms as the most value-for-money fitness facility in Singapore. Unlike the big commercial gyms, we’re a relatively smaller outfit, but we definitely do not scrimp on providing top-notch services and equipment. The fact that EnergyOne gyms have won the Gym of the Year Award twice since 2017 is a testament to all the hard work we have put in.

(L-R) Dr Frankie and Peter having a post-workout meal of grilled chicken wraps at SAFRA Punggol’s McDonald’s. SAFRA members enjoy a free apple pie or sundae with every purchase of an Extra Value Meal.

Q. Can members expect anything new now that you’re at the helm?

Dr Frankie: We are currently in talks to introduce sports physiotherapy and podiatry services to the EnergyOne gym in SAFRA Punggol. Besides being the perfect complement to our current fitness offerings, these services would go a long way to uplift our image. We want our members to know that we’re not just here to provide them with a space to train – we want to provide a holistic environment that caters to all dimensions of fitness and health.

SAFRA Punggol will be the test bed for this initiative, and if it all works out, we could roll it out across our other gyms.

Q. Have you set any KPIs for yourself?

Dr Frankie: My priority is to ensure that SAFRA’s EnergyOne gyms are dynamic enough to compete with other gyms out there. At the same time, I must ensure that the way we go about our business is sustainable. We are not like some big commercial fitness entities that have big financial backing. What this means is that we have to find ways to provide high quality services and equipment economically. It’s all about finding a balance between these two aspects.

I’m also aiming to attract more members. There should be little or no reason for NSmen not to consider EnergyOne as one of their top-choice gyms in Singapore.

Q. What would be key to ensuring that EnergyOne gyms continue to grow?

Dr Frankie: It is imperative that we stay relevant in a fast-changing landscape and evolve with the times. We will constantly look to offer the latest in the fitness industry and incorporate technology to improve the fitness experience. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have started exploring options that could allow us to circumvent gym closures.

I believe that designing compelling propositions for our NSmen would be key to our continued success. To do so, we will customise our offerings based on the demographics of the people living around each gym. Take for instance SAFRA Punggol – there are many young families living in the area and this means we should tailor our offerings for a slightly more matured audience. We also have to look at what the other gyms in the vicinity are offering and make sure we have something similar or even better.

Use your NS55 credits at EnergyOne and get up to 50% more value! Sign up for any Silver or Term plan and get 3 extra months at no additional cost, with minimum use of $50 NS55 credits. For more info, visit www.safra.sg/energyone-gym/promotions

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Photographer: Frenchescar Lim
Hair and make-up: Nikki Fu | Stylist: CK
Outfits (last photo): H&M