A few months back, when we spoke to entrepreneur-actress Cheryl Wee about her new fitness biz, she asked us if it would be alright if her husband, Roy Fong, took the interview instead.
Sure, we said – and why wouldn’t we be? We see the former architect from time to time at events with Cheryl, but we’ve never spoken to him one-on-one before, and this interview would give us a fresh perspective.
Fast forward to yesterday evening, as we walked into the 9Round gym, which focuses on circuit training and kick boxing, along East Coast Road, instead of the clinking of weights or the steady sound of footsteps on the treadmill, we were greeted by a loud buzzer when we opened the door.
“That buzzer sounds every three minutes,” Roy would later tell us. “It’s a signal for those who are in the circuit to move on to the next round.” 9Round’s name is quite literal – there are nine stations to challenge, from rope-skipping to sweating it out with punching bags, and a heart-rate monitor shows your calories burned, heart rate and more on screens scattered around the gym.
Surprisingly, the majority of the clientele is women aged 20-40, as Roy explained that despite the predominantly-females that make up their client base, men also enjoy working out at 9Round.
He shared, “It really depends on how much you want to push yourself. If you’re inexperienced, the trainers on the ground will make sure that you don’t push yourself too hard. At the same time, if you’re taking it too easy, it will show immediately through the heart rate monitors and the trainers will get you to put in a little more effort.”
Even the buffest, or fittest guys, he continued, have managed to get a good workout in the half-hour that it takes to complete the circuit.
At the same time, it’s also not as competitive as some other gyms in Singapore, which makes things easier for someone to start on getting fit.
“I previously brought Cheryl to this other gym, and she was shocked – everyone was so competitive, the gloves stank, and the entire vibe was just people trying to one-up each other,” he revealed. “She really didn’t like it, but in comparison, there’s a much friendlier vibe for 9Round. The only person that you’re competing with is yourself.”
Part of what drew him and Cheryl to put in a six-figure sum to bring in the master franchise in Singapore was how it provides clients a flexible workout schedule. Instead of calling in advance or adhering to certain time slots, gym-goers can just pop by at any time and start on the circuit.
Previously, Roy used to pop by the gym at least three times a week, but since he’s had his second child, he’s only been able to fit in workouts once a week.
“Cheryl works very hard, but she’s still in confinement right now,” he mused. “I help her with her wellness brand Cheryl W as and when she needs me to be physically there. I’m also working with Jean Yip Holdings, the property arm of the Jean Yip Group.”
He also recently picked up hairdressing (really, what is it that he isn’t picking up?) from his father-in-law, Mervin Wee, earlier this year, and participated in a hair show in Shanghai less than three months after he started learning the ropes.
Is he a fast learner, or is his father-in-law a good teacher?
He chuckled, “I think 90 per cent is because they have a very good teaching method. The other 10 per cent is probably because I have a background in architecture, and I feel that the two have more alike than most people think – how everything needs to work together to balance each other out. Right now, I’m working towards becoming a hair architect too.”
Working with the family, might sometimes mean that he gets known as the Jean Yip group’s son-in-law or Mr. Cheryl Wee, rather than his own person.
“Nobody has actually said it to my face,” he chuckled. “Even if they did, I wouldn’t be bothered about it. To me, the most important thing is that I can take care of the family, and that’s more than enough. It can be quite easy to be distracted by titles, but as long as you focus on what you’re doing, and you do things well, you’ll eventually be known for your own person.”
He added, “Personally, I think people worry too much about what others say. It stresses people out, especially with social media, you see everyone comparing each other. It’s like the highlight reel of their lives that’s put up on social media, rather than the realities of their lives.”
A philosophy that he believes in, ‘Nothing to prove, everything to live for’, perfectly sums up his attitude towards life.
“It makes you a much happier person if you think that way.”
For more information about 9Round, visit their website here.