Here's the funny thing about working out - you don't realise how strong you've become, until you stop working out and then try to get back into the game. Save for some hikes up Runyon Canyon (the hard rocky route, mind you, not the easy touristy one) and other forms of cardio I will not be mentioning on the internet, I pretty much sat on my ass for the past 1.5 months. 

In my defence, I was there over the holidays and it was cold. And The Real Housewives of Atlanta seemed to always be on TV.

I digress.

I've been back at Ritual - three times now just over the past week and it actually feels like coming home. Of course, this 'home' meant that I'd be cursing under my breath while trying to execute burpees and wondering why 20 min seems to be lasting longer than my across-the-world 9,000-mile journeys.

It's no surprise of course, like everything in Singapore, or anywhere across the world, really, that people would try to replicate a winning formula. Ritual has a winning formula.


You know that phrase, 'always imitated but never duplicated'. That goes for this gym. I mean, this gym shouldn't really be called a gym - it's a weird, cult-ish, ragtag band of individuals who believe in the same fitness philosophy.

It's not another fucking gym. It's not having to come face-to-face with a sweaty butt naked person in the locker room (if you come for a trial, you'll find out why), it's not the monotony of running on a treadmill or trying to work a fucking elliptical, it's not having to put up with someone flexing in front of the mirror. (Digressing again though - have you seen those dudes at the gym? Flex your muscles at home, dude. You'll look better with a bag over your head too.)

The difference at Ritual is that it's a family. Not only does this family work out together, they motivate and most importantly, teach you things that might change your life. One of the very first pieces of gold that was imparted upon me when I started to work out there was the hell that is gluten. I have read about gluten-free diets before, of course, but I haven't been preached about it as I did that day when I spoke to Brad.

I've been relatively gluten free for almost a year now - relatively meaning I give in to temptation and inhale bread slathered with Nutella, but most of the time, I'm gluten-free.

2011 me vs now

2011 me vs now

And the difference? Other than many other wonderful things that have happened to my body, an ailment that has bugged me most of my teenage and adult life - eczema - has almost completely disappeared. The above photo is one of a pre-Ritual me - heavier, and with dark scars on the inside of my elbows as a result of eczema. And the photo next to it, is how my skin looks today. In one year, my skin cleared up.

I still have allergies that result from external factors such as heat, humidity and dust, but my eczema has pretty much almost cleared up and I never thought I'd see the day.

Of course, there's also my asthma. I still carrying my Ventolin inhaler for fear that I might get a sudden attack and die, but Brad suggested asking my doctor to put me on Seretide. I'm on a baby dose of Seretide and I don't remember the last time I've had to use my Ventolin. And for someone who's had to miss many days of school as a kid because of her asthma, this is Godsent.

And, sure, I may have been able to find out these things myself had I looked into them, but who would've thought being in a gym would help you lift yo' ass and help you aid of lifelong ailments? 

Truly, the best gym in the world.

(Now will you guys open one in LA already?)