LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT | Alpha Bierneza, Singapore

He failed the first time he tried but now he heads Singapore’s largest chain of personal training fitness centers

30-year old Chung Tze Khit once dreamt of a mobile gym in a large air-conditioned truck.

If there’s one thing that Chung Tze Khit, managing director of Gold’s Gym Singapore, learnt in the business is the importance of partnering with someone who shares your own goals and vision. He said that this is very important as you will end up having to trust and spend a lot of time with that person. And if you are not 100% aligned, then the chances of failure will increase.

Tze Khit, 30, understands the painful truth of taking down your venture because it didn’t work out. He has been in the health and fitness industry for about ten years now. After his National Service, he did freelance personal training which required him to drive a van filled with gym equipment. He told SBR that he would then drive around Singapore providing personal training to clients.

“I originally wanted to purchase a large, air-conditioned truck that also served as a mobile gym (i.e. with all the equipment inside and clients would workout in the truck). However due to cost reasons, and the fact that it would have been too large for Singaporean roads, I scrapped that idea,” said Tze Khit.

Additionally, while internet was still relatively new back then, he launched pt.com.sg which bills itself as one of the first of its kind to match up trainers with clients. Even if Tze Kit took a stab in the dark to build it, the website is still going strong today.

While he was taking a part-time degree in Sports Science at Edith Cowan University in Perth Australia, he decided to open a brick and mortar gym. “All that moving around was tiring!,” he thought. The gym was located in Bukit Timah but they had to close it down within a year, as all four partners seemed to have different ideas and directions. “This was a real eye-opener for me, and a great learning experience,” he remarked.

After that, he took over the Gold’s Gym in Tanjong Pagar in 2010 with one other partner.

According to him, he was naturally quite nervous and he had invested quite a bit of his own funds. But at the same time, he was also excited and confident, and the results speak for themselves.

Apart from being the managing director of Gold’s Gym Singapore, Tze Khit is also managing director of Gold’s Wellness Spa, a series of spas that they will be opening over the next few weeks and months, and Results! Personal Training (pt.com.sg), providing personal trainers to the home and condo gyms.

Furthermore, he is also the president of the Personal Trainers’ Association (Singapore), the first industry association for personal trainers, which aims to improve the quality and standard of personal training, as well as becoming a forum for personal trainers and experts from Singapore and the wider region.

Finally, Tze Khit is also the principal trainer for NCSF Personal Training Certification (Singapore), one of the leading personal trainer accreditation bodies in Singapore.

With all of these significant achievement behind his back and with 20 Gold’s Gym outlet around the country. Tze Khit has proved that one failure cannot define a person. In the future, his team are focused on these three goals:

  • We intend to have 30 gyms open by next year. We run a franchise model and provide great support for all franchisees and start-up costs are very low, they typically start from SGD20,000 (refundable deposit). We will provide the fully-equipped gym for you to take over along with (fully-trained) staff and, most importantly, client leads. However, it is actually quite tough to become a franchisee in the first place as we have a very strict screening process. The candidate must, firstly, have a passion for health and fitness, preferably with a good deal of experience and leadership qualities.
  • We would like to grow the National Council for Strength and Fitness (NCSF). The NCSF is a personal trainer accreditation scheme based out of the US. I manage the accreditation here in Singapore, host the course and the exam here – the papers are sent to the US for marking and they will then send the certifications over. This course has been running for just over a year now, doing roughly one class every six weeks with a maximum class size of 20 people (average is around 15). The program is one of the best in Singapore and it allows us to ensure that personal training standards are kept very high – this is particularly important for us as many of the NCSF graduates may well come and work at Gold’s Gym or be a franchisee.
  • We would like to further develop the Personal Trainers’ Association (Singapore). This is first personal trainers industry body in Singapore, which we established last year. The Association allows us to consolidate, and grow the quality and standards of personal trainers in Singapore, and become a standard-bearer for others in the region. Additionally, it will serve as a forum for personal trainers to get together and exchange tips, advice and methods, allowing for more innovative and creative techniques to be developed. Lastly, it will serve as a platform for employers and job seekers to come together.

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