Coach Spotlight: Alex Salihin

by | Mar 4, 2020 | Trainers

We caught up with Alex Sahilin, the man behind the madness here at Level. We spoke to him about the growth of the business, his influences behind some of the decisions he’s made, and how, despite all the things he’s learnt about fitness and the experience behind programming for hundreds of clients over his years of being a coach, he doesn’t plan his own training.

It’s been close to 6 years! What’s new at Level?

Years ago we started with a team of 4 and focused solely on personal training. We’ve come a long way since – we now offer Group Classes with our signature SWEAT, STRUCTURE & SKILL. We’ve grown our team significantly and have plans to expand internationally this year.

There seems to be a new kid on the block: Small Group Training. What’s that all about?

Small Group Training is a service that bridges group classes and 1-1 personal training. It allows clients to access a coach on an individual basis through a consult that happens every other month and weekly program design, tailored specifically for you. This happens post-consult and assessments. With individual design you get: an Individualised Training Program, nutrition and lifestyle coaching. By meeting you exactly where you are in each aspect through our detailed assessment and consultation process, we establish your starting point, from which your coach will help you consider your priorities and values that are meaningful to YOU.

What’s the difference between Small Group Training and classes?

Small Group Training is programming that’s built for a specific person who has specific goals. We take the time to understand where a client is, relative to behaviour and nutrition/lifestyle. Once this is identified, we create and individualised prescription to get them where they want to be with consistent check ins.

Group Training (Classes) is getting multiple people with multiple goals and skill levels together a class environment and perform the same daily workout, typically scaling or adjusting exercises and/or loads as a way to attempt to personalise based on ability, goals, etc.

What’s the difference between Small Group Training and personal training?

The only difference is the contact time with your coach – with personal training you get to spend the session with your coach guiding you / standing in front of you whereas with SGID you generally share the floor with other clients who are also working through their individualised design program while you have access to a shared coach who oversees the slot that you happen to be in.

What is a misconception about strength and conditioning that you’d very much like to change?

There’s a general lack in regulation in the fitness industry in Singapore; almost every class offered in the country is known as “Strength and Conditioning” (S&C), when sometimes it’s the furthest thing from S&C.

A study by Bompa, TO, and Haff regarding Periodisation for Strength and Conditioning states that basic principles permeate all of strength training and conditioning.

For example, one of the pillars of strength training and conditioning is the idea of Progression. Progression refers to the selection of exercises, loads or resistances, order of exercises, and readiness of the athlete that are just right (not too hard, not too easy) for the status of the athlete and the demands of the activity.

Another basic principle is that of Specificity, the body tends to adapt very narrowly to the nature of the exercise performed.

Finally, even Supervision itself comes in different forms, and it is important to know the circumstances when a particular form of supervision is ideal.

Simply put, there are too many factors that make up the foundation of a S&C program to be offered in a class setting unless the structure of said classes happen to be designed over a period of time (say 10 – 16 weeks) with proper considerations to: Training, Volume, Intensity, Volume Load and Frequency.

You talk a lot about how other factors (diet, sleep) play into our training lives. How would you go about quantifying and measuring that on a basic level?

Basic Lifestyle Guidelines, or BLG, is a way to look into a person’s sleep, nourishment, energy, stress, breath, purpose, food quality and digestion. These are some of the things we talk about when helping and guiding clients. At a very basic level, we want to see that a client has close to optimal sleep, energy and nourishment before we even embark on goals and wants, in terms of training. As this is very different from one individual to another, we can only really deduce a recommended baseline by conducting a full consult, where we delve deep into the clients lifestyle and habits before we come up with a prescription, or guidelines for lifestyle or training.

How do you go about planning your own training and lifestyle?

I don’t. I always have a belief that even as Coaches, we need to be coached. Why? Accountability and honesty. I work with a coach who sorts my programming and basic lifestyle guidelines (BLGs) out for me. The plan for me, with my current workload and lifestyle, is literally to ensure that I can keep moving and expressing my physical fitness abilities well into the next 2-3 decades.

What’s one thing you’d like to see Level move toward in the near future?

I’d like for us to delve deeper into quality coaching and fitness education; and maybe this has to exist within a tiered approach (like Small Group Training and Personal Training). I’d like to see our coaches unmatched in this industry (yes I am talking about years more of experience and furthering education) – I like playing the long game, chipping at things like standards and culture.

Alex runs the increasingly popular Small Group Training concept at Level, in addition to seeing clients on a 1-to-1 basis, where he dives deep into every aspect of their life in order to coach a lifestyle that transcends the work they do in the gym. Send us a message at to start your own journey in fitness.

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To make sure this is the right place for you we provide a complimentary personal training session for us to learn about your current exercise program, lifestyle, fitness goals, and for you to experience our facilities.