Mr Lionel Chong

  1. What is Innervate CrossFit? What are its goals and aims?

Innervate CrossFit is a fitness company that offers CrossFit training.

It has developed a proprietary training, targeting at-risk youths, disabled individuals and seniors to help mould their character, so that they can channel their energies into positive outcomes.
We carry out CrossFit Classes, which have unique programme offerings across all gyms and fitness facilities in Singapore. These include:

1) CrossFit Classes — Adults
2) CrossFit Teens Classes — Aged 11–18
3) CrossFit Kids Classes — Aged 5–10
4) Silvers CrossFit — Aged 55 and above
5) Adaptive Athletes Program — Paralympics
6) Combatives Program — Striking & Self Defence.

Our programs focus on empowering individuals to be the best they can be and allowing them to have a community that they can call their home at the same time.

Our motto is Forging Elite Lives, Making People Better. We aim to build a strong and impactful community. We do this through social good and influence.

2. What inspired your team to set up Innervate CrossFit?

We saw a gap in the market which needed to be filled. There were no training programs for kids, teens and Silvers. Neither were there adaptive programs. Beyond an opportunity, we also saw the need to intervene and empower various groups which are in need. We started out working with Youth-At-Risk and from there, sprung out to creating an ecosystem of programs to help others.

3. What makes Innervate unique as compared to other gyms and training programmes?

What differentiates us from the rest is the Community. We believe in building a strong community which is empowering, inclusive and family friendly. We welcome all into the gym. We have unique program offerings as mentioned above and the method in which we conduct the various classes is communal yet personal.

In addition to our classes we also do various outreach projects to schools, corporations and more, expanding horizons and bettering our ability. We work closely with various organisations to conduct leadership, rehabilitative and re-integrative programs.

4. Innervate has collaborated with REACH Community Services Society to rehabilitate and reintegrate “forgotten youths” back into society. Could you elaborate more on what this programme entails?

We focus on using CrossFit as a medium to engage these youth. Our approach has different aspects-

1) Getting them involved in the activity of CrossFit — from there we get them out of and away from their bad habits, pursuing a new sport and program. As it is new in trend as a program, they are seen as doing something ‘cool’ and are motivated to stay the course.
2) Integration with the community. We focus on blending the youth-at-risk together with the community in our classes and encourage interaction in a safe and positive environment.
3) Working together with REACH to provide post training debriefs and talks to actively assist in drawing learning points for them.
4) Working with various governmental agencies in striving to potentially provide employment for them.

5. Innervate also organises “Operation Broken Wing”, a regional charity event which aims to raise funds for youth at risk. Would you like to elaborate more on this cause?

It is simply to use your fitness for a cause. We believe strongly in using what we are given, what we train for and to give back to the community. This cause is tied strongly with our programs.

6. How important do you think that a positive social environment is in encouraging fitness?

It is important because people are social creatures and naturally competitive. People push themselves harder and find a better sense of belonging by being part of a community of like-minded individuals. Everyone is an ‘athlete’ and should have the mindset of an athlete.

7. Do you think Singapore’s current social environment is conducive for fitness? Are there any ways for us to improve?

Current fitness environment is conducive but the uptake is poor amongst persons with Adaptive needs. Many programs are available but people are not engaging in them. There needs to be more engagement at the grassroots level, such as literally meeting them face to face, bringing them to the gym to train and getting them to understand the community aspect etc…

For the youth (Schools) and the wider public, there is a need for the education and acceptance of Crossfit and similar fitness programs as strengthening and useful rather than aggressive.

8. Innervate provides classes for children, elderly, people with disabilities and even those who want to learn combative techniques. Which type of class gives your coaches the most satisfaction to teach? Why?

All our classes give us satisfaction in a different sense. For all the programs, the satisfaction is in the coaching itself and helping people achieve things they initially thought they wouldn’t be able to do, and more.

9. What are some of the fondest memories your coaches have experienced over the years at Innervate CrossFit?

We have various fond memories in coaching. Most of which are moments where individuals do something they could not have done previously, them understanding the benefits of fitness or even them being included in the community.
1) In our Silvers Program, our oldest athlete is aged 73 and she is now performing movements which she never thought she could do previously.
2) That moment when our adaptive and adult athletes find joy in pursuing more in their fitness (Their goals change from simply surviving to thriving).
3) The moments when our youth, previously at risk, move out of that label because of our programs and are integrated into the community, loving what they do and getting better at it.

10. Innervate CrossFit has been featured on the news multiple times and has been recognised as a social enterprise by RAISE Singapore. How do you guys feel about your current success?

We feel encouraged but more importantly, driven to continue the good work and continue growing as a social enterprise. We see that people are recognizing this and are being opened up to the new culture we hope to create.

11. How does Innervate plan to expand its activities in the future?

We aim to continue growing the community from the ground up and explore more partnerships to bring fitness to all. To continue to truly empower others, be inclusive and make people better.