You’ve probably seen the Boy Wonder around the gym by now, either attached to a barbell in the midst of his training, his iPad in the midst of studying or to one of his increasingly popular Skill classes. Daniel joined us recently as a full-fledged coach, but he also spends his time as a part time student and training for his next powerlifting competition- damn Daniel! We chatted him up between his sets to talk about the many things he juggles, his journey as a coach, and his discerning eye for dank memes.
Tell us about yourself!
Hey Level fam, I’m Daniel! I was never sporty or fit until I started polytechnic studies. Seeking a more active lifestyle (and a less chubby look), I took on the combat sport Muay Thai for a few years, spent the later part of them coaching others in the sport, and even competed in an amateur boxing match. Shortly after, I enlisted into the Commandos for my National Service (NS) in 2018.
My time spent practicing and coaching Muay Thai, as well as enduring my most gruelling NS experiences, opened my eyes to the vast physical potential the body is capable of achieving – in terms of strength, endurance and cardiovascular endurance (as long as the mind is willing). On top of that, both phases helped develop a passion in me to nurture people towards a fitter, stronger and healthier version of themselves.
Fast-forwarding to today, that passion still stands strong. I am a certified personal trainer and group class coach with a team I enjoy being a part of. I am eternally grateful to have this opportunity to empower as many people as I can through fitness and exercise, and help them realise the potential their bodies are capable of achieving!
How long have you been at Level for?
I first joined the team back in late December 2020 and spent slightly over a month observing the other personal trainers while they conducted their classes and personal training sessions, learning as much as I could from them. In February this year, I was given the green light to conduct Skill classes of my own!
We see the grind! Tell us about your training.
I currently practice a competitive strength sport called powerlifting. My routine has me performing heavy compound movements 4 days a week – Monday (Squats and bench press), Tuesday (Deadlifts), Thursday (Squats and bench press), and Saturday (Squats, bench press and deadlifts). My coach @jonathantsg of The Strength Guys works the magic behind the scenes by programming my workouts and correcting my lifting technique.
You could say that strength training is somewhat… symbolic to me. It represents my drive to never stop growing (both character and physical-wise), and to always be better (and stronger) than the person I was yesterday.
We hear you’re a student as well! Tell us about what you’re learning, and why you’re doing it! Is it tough to juggle everything?
Yep! I’m a part-time student at PSB Academy studying a Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Science offered by Edinburgh Napier University.
Is it tough? Not exactly. As one of the newer trainers, my workload is still relatively manageable, so I’m able to comfortably dedicate sufficient time to my studies (For now, at least).
Tell us about your most memorable client.
My most memorable client is actually my first client – Leo, my 69-year-old stepfather. He’s an avid cyclist who regularly cycles up to 80km once or twice a week but had not included resistance training in his routine since his 20s. One day in October 2020, he decided he wanted to put on some extra strength and muscle, and so I took him on as my very first PT client.
5 months have passed, and I have proudly witnessed him crush his fitness goals one by one – progressing from struggling a bodyweight hip hinge to deadlifting 60kg for 10 reps, completing his first pull-up and push-up, and building quite the aesthetic physique for someone his age (just to name a few).
But I find my stepdad most memorable for one reason: his determination. He understood from Day 1 that the journey to his goals would not be easy and that results would come slower due to his age – he has now grown to trust and enjoy the process, eagerly acing every workout.
You’ve amassed quite a collection of memes! Tell us what they are and why you feel memes will change the world.
Love this question! All the memes that pop up on my social media are basically the ones that actually made me chuckle.
I feel memes have already changed the world. You have all sorts of creative individuals (who usually have nothing better to do with their time) creating all kinds of meme formats, which are often relatable to many people’s lives.
And come on, memes are the modern way of spreading laughter and amusement all around – I enjoy sharing memes knowing that someone will have a little laughter even for a brief moment.
How has the journey with Level been so far?
Absolutely amazing. From the moment I stepped foot into the Telok Ayer studio for my job interview, I knew I was in for an incredible journey. Even till now, I find myself surrounded by growth-oriented colleagues who, like me, care about bringing out the best in their clients – exactly what I hoped for when I first submitted that resume.
What does 2021 look like for you?
My favourite question of this lot! Covid-19 aside, 2021 looks bright and full of opportunities just waiting to be taken. I am grateful for this opportunity to work with a positive and supportive team, to grow into the trainer I want to be, and to help my clients realise what their bodies are truly capable of.
I’ve been with Level for barely 3 months, but believe me when I say that this gym has kickstarted a new journey of growth for me, and opened up plenty of doors for learning and networking experiences. I’ve mentioned this before to others, and I’ll say it again: 2021 is going to be a GREAT year!
Daniel is available for personal training at both our 14 Robinson Road as well as our 137 Telok Ayer outlets. He runs Skill classes at 14 Robinson Road on Wednesdays at 8am and on Saturdays and Sundays 9am. We’ll be opening additional Skill and Structure classes with Daniel come April on Weekend afternoons, so stay tuned for that!
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Meet other clients who train at Level
As an avid runner, Eleni embarked on a personal training programme designed with plyometrics for strength to improve her running performance.
Barbara, a boxing instructor, wanted to build her overall strength, reduce body fat and gain muscle mass. She was also hoping to strengthen her back after she suffered a lower back injury from Muay Thai back in 2017.
A rugby player, Matthew Coleman wanted to perform better on the rugby fields despite injuries. Alex developed a personal training programme that would help him achieve just that.
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