MAKING WAVES
New Me, Neue You
AS OWNER AND TRAINER OF NEUE FIT, GRACE HUANG HOPES TO IGNITE A PASSION FOR MARTIAL ARTS AND FITNESS IN EVERYONE.
13-Jun-2018

AT THE AGE OF 35, Grace Huang is living her best life and doing what she loves for a living. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) instructor and ex-competitor opened Neue (pronounced "new") Fit, a 4,033 sq ft lifestyle fitness and martial arts studio at Kallang Wave Mall, early this year -- a departure from her prior entrepreneurial forays. "I had tried different things before, including setting up a small advertising agency and starting a company that ran eBay seminars, but none of these were what I really wanted to do with my life," says Grace.

Then, while living in Melbourne, Australia six years ago, she picked up BJJ -- and quickly fell in love with it. A year later, upon returning to Singapore, Grace co-founded Trifecta Martial Arts, a martial arts school specialising in Taekwondo, Muay Thai and BJJ classes. Now she is striking out on her own as ownercum- trainer of Neue Fit.

Why open Neue Fit?

While I enjoyed being at Trifecta, I was keen to do more than train people for competitions. The vast majority of us lead normal lives and hold regular jobs, without ever entering a competition -- and that's okay. I wanted to make martial arts a more approachable or accessible concept, and bring it closer to the average person.

Neue Fit allows me to spread my love for BJJ and martial arts, and also expand into other areas. I get to continue teaching BJJ, offer non-martial arts fi tness classes like yoga and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and even move into the F&B and retail merchandising space through our ReNeue health bar and our partnership with New Balance, respectively.


What sets Neue Fit apart from other fitness studios and gyms?

There is a great deal of variety through our lineup of martial arts and non-martial arts programmes, taught by a large group of trainers including myself. We also offer a unique combo class, Muay HIIT, which is a cross between Muay Thai and HIIT. It is a good starting point for Muay Thai beginners to work on their fi tness, before they move on to proper Muay Thai and learn full-contact sparring and other techniques; or if they prefer, they can stay in the programme. We also have family classes for Muay Thai and BJJ, where parents and children can get together before and after their respective martial arts classes for joint warm-up and cool-down sessions. Inspired by my childhood experiences learning Wushu with my parents, these classes are a good way for families to bond and spend time together.

What type of crowd normally comes to your studio?

Kallang Wave Mall attracts an eclectic mix of people, which is good for business. For example, parents come with their children on weekends and take part in our family classes. Working professionals with night shift jobs or who have to work during U.S. trading hours usually show up for our BJJ classes on weekday mornings, while the night classes are attended by those with regular nine-to-five jobs. Muay HIIT is also growing in popularity, especially among corporate groups who book one-off sessions with us.

Can you elaborate on the benefits that people can gain from your classes?

Besides the obvious physical health benefits of getting exercise, it is a good outlet to relieve stress; otherwise, the stresses of everyday life may end up weighing you down. Ultimately, our aim is to get everyone -- male and female, young and old -- to try something new and make a positive change in their lives. Don't be afraid to open yourself up to new things and new experiences. Give yourself a chance to be better.

On a personal note, how did your love for martial arts develop?

Martial arts has helped to improve my confidence and self-esteem throughout various low points in my life. My parents first got me into Wushu because I used to be bullied in secondary school. I took up Muay Thai later on in my youth, at a time when I was quite unhappy and inactive and gained weight up to 72kg. Doing Muay Thai improved my physical health and also helped me feel better about myself. While living in Melbourne, I turned to BJJ following a failed relationship. It changed my life, and I went on to compete in several tournaments, both in Melbourne and after coming home to Singapore.

Is BJJ your favourite martial art?

In some respects, yes. What I love most about BJJ is that the learning never stops. Even though I am an instructor, I still have to practise consistently to get better and work my way up to a black belt; currently, I hold a purple belt. That said, martial arts is similar to food -- on different days, you feel like eating different things. As much as I love BJJ, sometimes there are days when I feel stressed out and just want to punch something; Muay Thai allows me to release my pent-up energy.


AN ALL-NEUE VARIETY

NEUE FIT conducts a wide range of combat and non-combat Muay Thai and BJJ classes, catering to people of different ages and skill levels as well as families. New to martial arts? Get a taster at the Muat HIIT combo class! Or if martial arts is not your thing, sign up for one of the yoga or HIIT classes, open to beginners and advanced practitioners. An array of pricing options is available, with single-class rates ranging from $25 to $50 for drop-ins and from $22 to $40 for members. Different types of account-credit and unlimited packages are also offered, starting from a one-month $100 contract.

Neue Fit is located at 1 Stadium Place, For more information or to book a class, call 6612 8135 or visit www.neue.fit.