In December 2023, I bought a 20-session package and began attending classes at REVL Training City Hall, the Singapore flagship outlet of the increasingly popular Australian boutique fitness chain which is located within the basement of Capitol Singapore. Founded in 2020 and widely seen as the tougher and more Crossfit-edgy alternative to popular Australian functional training fitness chains F45 Training and Body Fit Training (BFT), the brand currently has six locations in Singapore (with Katong and Potong Pasir openings in the pipeline) as well as presence in Dubai aside from its myriad of outlets across Australia.

For the uninitiated, REVL Training offers 50-minute cardio and strength-based classes, with each class requiring attendees to complete sets at different stations, often in circuit fashion. Before each block begins, your instructor(s) will demonstrate each movement to be performed across the various stations. As is often the case with Crossfit and Australian fitness programmes, you may be required to pair up with a buddy or work in teams to complete parts of the day’s workout, either in YGIG (you go, I go) fashion or to complete a common goal (e.g. 2km total distance on the Ski ERG).

I actually signed up for a trial at REVL Training City Hall back when it first opened in January 2022 for the purposes of a review, but unfortunately contracted COVID-19 mid-way and was unable to have a comprehensive enough experience for a meaningful article, but found it worthy for a revisit given the brand’s recent increased profile and expansion plans. Here are 5 observations of mine about fitness from my REVL Training City Hall experience.


The REVL Training programme comprises nine different class types, all of which are listed and summarised on their website. The training programme features different classes daily throughout the week (you don’t repeat any two class types), and the same daily workout is pushed out from HQ across all global REVL Training outlets. A typical week looks like this:

Monday: Move (Total) + Perform (Total)
Tuesday: Sweat (Engine)
Wednesday: Move (Upper & Abs)  + Perform (Lower)
Thursday: Sweat (Sprint)
Friday: Move (Lower) + Perform (Upper)
Saturday: Sweat (Team)

The studio has two different strength programmes: Move and Perform. Perform is the most strength-centric style of class which focuses on strength progression, and you can expect lower reps and more rest but with heavier weights. Perform sessions are run on Monday (full body), Wednesday (lower body) and Friday (upper body) alongside Move sessions.

Move classes combine strength and conditioning training through isolated total, upper, and lower body sessions to target each muscle group, so clients can expect lower weights, higher reps and shorter rest periods. Move sessions are run on Monday (full body), Wednesday (upper and abs) and Friday (lower) alongside Perform sessions.

Sweat sessions are all about cardiovascular conditioning, and are designed to increase your overall fitness, power and endurance. The REVL Training website explains Sweat (Sprint) classes to be “about operating at a faster pace, for short periods of time and utilising generous rest periods to recover and repeat”; Sweat (Engine) classes are “all about finding a pace you can settle into and hold throughout the entire session (which) should be slower than a Sprint session” and Sweat (Team) classes “bring everyone together to sweat it out and hit targets as a team”.

Aside from their regular programming, REVL Training City Hall has also introduced several special classes which cater not just to Singapore’s increased interest in running (REVL SG Pace x Dipna Lim) but also the current national obsession with Hyrox (Fitness Race Prep). For those who aren’t familiar, Hyrox is a global strength and endurance-based indoor fitness race founded in 2017 which involves running 1km followed by 1 functional workout station (SkiErg, sled push, sled pull, burpee broad jumps, rowing, farmers carry, sandbag lunges and wall balls), repeated a total of eight times. I suspect that the popularity of Hyrox can be attributed to (i) the recent rapid proliferation of BFT (Body Fit Training) outlets in Singapore, which in turn drives Hyrox awareness given BFT’s status as 2024’s official Hyrox training partner; (ii) a strong element of FOMO driving participation lest one feels excluded from the national Hyrox conversation; (iii) the national interest in South Korean reality competition survival series Physical: 100 on Netflix; and (iv) the idea of excellence achieved/measured in the form of quantifiable performance in a global competition. It’s like optional PSLE (or ‘H’ Levels?), but with international-scale bragging rights should you do well.

REVL Training City Hall Sweat Sprint Programme
Sweat Sprint Programme (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Sweat Engine Programme
Sweat Engine Programme (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Perform Lower Programme
Perform Lower Programme (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Move Upper & Abs Programme
Move Upper & Abs Programme (REVL Training City Hall).


Like other strength and conditioning studios such as BFT, R10T, Anarchy and Division Athletics, a workout at REVL Training generally involves a similar selection of toys: 

Exercise rig, barbells and weight plates, dumbbells, plyo boxes, benches, deadballs, rowers, resistance bands, ski ERGs, medicine balls, assault bikes, bike ERGs and kettle bells.

However, what is done with such selection of toys can vary vastly between gyms, and when it comes to comparing the Australian fitness chains, the BFT and F45 experiences (which share common DNA) are markedly different from what REVL offers. While the former two involve demonstrations of movements on loop displayed on TV screens, helpful countdown cues and an overall clarity of how the day’s programme flows in terms of station sequence, REVL adopts significantly less hand-holding and requires a lot more engagement and buy-in from the user. The training programme on a REVL Training screen is expressed in shorthand, which can be confusing to newcomers (K2C? NG? RDL? RPE? 20.20m/s? GTOS? GTFO?), and the sequence of workouts within the same block as written on the screen often lends to ambiguity (e.g. is it A1, A2, B1 and B2 and then you cycle back to A1, or do you stay on and complete block A before switching to block B?).

Picture this: it’s an EMOM block, it’s time for barbell thrusters capped at 45 seconds work and your next minute is pure rest, so you actually get to rest 75 seconds despite the EMOM nomenclature. You are often required to keep a watchful eye on time due to the structure of the workouts, but the process is made tricky given the timers’ less than felicitous locations within the REVL Training City Hall outlet. Furthermore, in contrast to the very structured musical chairs-style of switching stations at BFT with plenty of transition time baked in, at REVL Training City Hall you often find yourself cutting across a crowded floor to scramble to your next station, which can make for a chaotic and stressful situation especially if you are already in a maxed out, woozy headspace.

In terms of the programme’s difficulty level, REVL Training usually caters to three bands of difficulty in terms of minimum weight, reps, distance, calories etc, with different bands for males and females. I brought my colleagues for a lunchtime Sweat Sprint class, and many of them – think young parents who have been inactive and/or are fairly new to HIIT and the Australian style of functional training – were unable to lift the minimum recommended weight for movements such as Barbell Thrusters and Max Deadball GTOS (ground to over shoulder). It is easy for a newcomer to feel discouraged or alienated from the proceedings if they are unable to lift as heavy or move as fast as others, and this may be exacerbated by the partner/team work angle in some classes and the intermediate-to-advanced standard of the average REVL client. As such, whether a newcomer will want to continue with REVL will depend on the newcomer’s thickness of skin and the ability to tune out from things mentioned or done in class. 

This does not mean the studio does not look after newbies – after trials at multiple studios, my colleagues have personally singled out coach Hilary as being excellent because she regularly kept an eye on them throughout class and customised regressions for them when it came to the trickier weight-dependent movements. On my end, I observed Johansson‘s very hands-on spotting of a client during a particularly gruelling Barbell Squat segment during a Perform (Lower) class. Nonetheless, I would be hard-pressed to recommend REVL Training City Hall for your first ever foray into HIIT/functional training, especially if you attend alone without the assuring safety of friends and are not versed in Crossfit language.

REVL Training City Hall Hilary
Hilary (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Celeste
Celeste (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Johansson
Johansson (REVL Training City Hall).


If REVL Training City Hall is not for newcomers, where does it stand when it comes to the intermediate, the advanced and the godlike? In my view, in terms of accessibility and difficulty level, studios such as BFT and Level Singapore rest on one end of the spectrum, while REVL Training lies on the other end along with gyms such as Division Athletics, Mobilus and Fitness Bravo. My colleagues and I evaluate studios based on a “biantai” or 变态 scale (means level of perverseness – Chinese Translation Editor), and REVL Training’s programmes are generally quite biantai, in particular the Sweat classes. 

The classes I personally deem biantai are those which make you pant uncontrollably like you were in Britney Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 U” music video; demand minimum prescribed weights that you struggle with or can only perform at the speed of a roadside snail even for the first few reps when you are freshest; lock you into a numbing amount of repetitions in manner of horror Groundhog Day and truly push your mental resilience (something I’ve come to notice about REVL Training’s programming); make you sweat at the back of your legs, behind your knees, and which create rivulets of sweat down your legs; make parts of your body cramp and seize up on your way towards the finish line…and before you know it, it’s time to go again; and which, for whatever reason, make you want to release vulgarities in a manner that is simultaneously pissed, pleading and resigned.

REVL classes possess many of the above qualities. Yet, over time and to my surprise, I have somehow actually grown to enjoy these perverse sessions, for so many reasons: the more difficult the class, the greater the sense of satisfaction after; the calorie burn is significantly higher than when I work out at some other studios, and older and time-strapped individuals like myself need to maximise output and achieve as much as possible within those precious 50 minutes; the classes feel more value-for-money than some other gym classes if I achieve more for the same cost/credits; struggling with meeting the programme’s most minimum of standards spurs me on to improve and do better, because it must be achievable since everyone else appears to be able to hit their desired targets; and it is my secret hope that, by being surrounded by competitive and high-performing folks, the fitspo essence or spirit may somehow rub off on me in manner of action of diffusion, osmosis or similar process.

No one gym gives me everything I need, and I do have my personal preferences in terms of where to do my main Strength and Conditioning training, but having multiple studios to choose from for different needs and the ability to switch up my fitness routine from time to time has kept me going for years and helped me not lose interest and momentum. (I also adopt a similar methodology when it comes to rhythmic cycling classes.)

“I no longer dread [Sweat] classes…lately I went back to [redacted] and I found it very dreary,” a long-time army friend whom I recently bumped into at another REVL outlet shared about how he enjoys REVL more than his former gym. I agree wholeheartedly, and the conversation did help me take stock of how I have indeed come some ways since my deer-in-headlights foray into this colourful world of boutique fitness studios during the pandemic.

REVL Training City Hall Hilary
Hilary (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Sweat Sprint Programme
Sweat Sprint Programme (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Sweat Sprint Programme
Sweat Sprint Programme (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Sweat Engine Sweat Engine Programme
Sweat Engine Programme (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Perform Total Programme
Perform Total Programme (REVL Training City Hall).


Aside from REVL Training City Hall, I have also attended classes at the River Valley and Raffles Place locations, and I must say that you get very different REVL experiences depending on the outlet you visit. 

In terms of layout, REVL Training River Valley is probably my favourite. Said to be the outlet which most resembles the classic design of the Australian studios, the River Valley studio is housed in a large, rectangular space where you have ample room for the Perform and Move classes to run concurrently in their respective halves of the space without spatial overlap. The unisex bathroom is also spacious, with multiple shower rooms and a bench in the middle for your shoe-wearing and general packing purposes. The REVL Training Raffles Place space is long and rectangular, with the cardio machines clustered close together at the half of the room closest to the windows. Notably, the Raffles Place outlet is the only one with a dedicated lounge area beyond the gym floor for you to wait or socialise in between classes. In comparison, REVL Training City Hall possesses the tightest space amongst the three.

In terms of clientele, River Valley attracts the most number of expats, but generally has a diverse mix of regular clients, ranging from fitspo goddesses and fitness enthusiasts to those who are just starting out in the functional training space. My perception of Raffles Place is that the clients are more laidback and casual in terms of commitment, although I have not visited enough times to make a fuller assessment.

In comparison to the other two outlets, REVL Training City Hall is a very different kettle of fish: an intoxicating cornucopia of “high profile” social media darlings; powerful women with arms and upper backs that would put OCS officers to shame; men with almost pornographic bodies whose torsos would not look out of place on the cover of a Harlequin romance novel (you can google “Gideon’s Fall” for a better idea – closet Sidney Sheldon fan) and who aren’t shy to strip and reveal such bodies after being far too hot halfway through a Sweat class*; energetic women whom I once labelled “siao lang” after watching them scream encouragement to their peers during a particularly horrific class that started at 6AM (“YOU GOT THIS, YOU CAN DO THIS”); more tattoos and piercings in the room than dumbbells; couples decked in matching Bambu Fitness Bali attire; fitspos I revere for their physical prowess who attend REVL, Division Athletics and Mobilus classes at least twice per day; boys and girls with faces you could swear you have seen at some point in your friends’ social media posts; groups of friends who bonded over fitness and are at REVL for some self-inflicted cardio torture; jovial ladies who sing along to Kelly Clarkson tracks while on their Bike ERG like it was a jolly hen night; and a general vibe of bad-ass and close-knit fam, consolidated through frequent community activities. It’s all a bit heightened, a bit intense, quite inclusive and oh so colourful.

After my first ever Sweat (Team) class in February 2022 at REVL Training City Hall, I had the following comments: “My soul left my body on multiple occasions and, as I hid in one corner to recharge manna while my buddy took one for the team and covered me for the cal ERG, I observed a Ski ERG-frenzy fast warrioress and man-bunned parkour-esque dude do synchronised dumbbell reverse lunges with the disciplined poise of Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nü in Return of The Condor Heroes and I thought damn, we are very different people.”

*While on the topic of male nudity at REVL, I pause to note that the notion of removing one’s top due to heat and sweatiness somehow feels very normalised here, in comparison to certain other gyms where it either feels very expected and obligatory to strip, or the toplessness feels very awkward and forced (and a tad too dry) amidst the generally clothed proceedings.

REVL Training River Valley Kit
Kit (REVL Training River Valley).
REVL Training River Valley Mark
Mark (REVL Training River Valley).
REVL Training Raffles Place Joel
Joel (REVL Training Raffles Place).
REVL Training Raffles Place Jayson
Jayson (REVL Training Raffles Place).
REVL Training Raffles Place Louishia
Louishia (REVL Training Raffles Place).


For the purposes of writing articles and for my IG stories, I would occasionally take pictures or panoramic videos of different studios to depict how the day’s workout is like, and I have been doing this for years at many studios without incident, with the studios often reposting my content. In today’s social media/smartphone era when gyms (especially the Australian ones) welcome and produce in-class social media content as part of community engagement, I never expected my discreet video and photo-taking to ever be an issue. Then, one day, I attended a class at REVL Training City Hall with a female friend. After the workout ended, a gentleman who resembles Tracey Sketchit from the Pokemon anime (let’s call him M) came up to me from nowhere and shouted with great hostility: “Excuse me, can you stop taking videos of my friend?” I was quite taken aback and asked who his friend was, to which he refused to elaborate and replied before stomping off in a huff: “This is not the first time, I think you know who I’m talking about, you can go see your own albums”.

I was honestly in a state of shock – the experience felt akin to a woman randomly walking up to you on the street, giving you a tight slap across the face in manner of dramatic soap opera argument, and demanding that you stop sleeping with her husband without identifying who said husband is because, well, “you slept with him, you should know who he is, hussy.” 

That’s not the end of the tale. As we were leaving the premises, M stopped us in our tracks and continued his aggressive tirade. “Please stop taking videos of my friend. You’re in a gym, you should be focusing on your workout and not be taking videos”, he snapped, all the while cutting me off curtly whenever I opened my mouth to speak. After he was done, he spun around and actually did a victory “WHOOOOP!” with his arm punching the air as he strutted off back to his workout partner, a tattooed gentleman (let’s call him JJ) whom I assumed was the subject of this bizarre ambush. 

For days afterward, I struggled to piece together what exactly had just happened to me, because so many aspects simply did not make sense. Aside from appearing very frequently on the studio’s Instagram account (both selfie reposts and studio-shot content) as well as in pictures shared within the studio’s Telegram channel, JJ, who is an instructor at another fitness studio and would no doubt be aware of how common it is for photos/videos to be taken during class, is also featured on said studio’s sponsored ad which kept popping up on my socials after the incident (because God – and Instagram – work in mysterious ways). His apparent willingness to be photographed and the extent of his digital visibility makes it unlikely that his concerns pertained to being caught on camera in general. To be safe, I checked my archives and reviewed my IG Stories posted prior to the incident, and neither JJ nor M were captured in any meaningful way. (On that note, I once noticed JJ’s name pop up as one of those who viewed my stories after the studio reposted them, meaning he would be aware of exactly what kinds of videos I take and what I take them for.) 

Also, there’s M’s charge that I was persistently taking videos specifically of JJ (“this is not the first time” and the phrasing of “can you stop taking videos of my friend” instead of “can you not capture my friend in your videos”), which carried an insinuation that I was stalking JJ purposefully. On this point, I will simply say that given REVL Training City Hall’s abundance and magnetic pull of nice-looking (read: Mills & Boon bodies) and socially popular things, one has to be objectively very attractive (facially and in terms of physique) in order to realistically assert that someone would want to stalk them instead of the other nice-looking things on-site, because the competition at City Hall is fierce. And, for the avoidance of doubt, I have turned up for 7:25am, 12:30pm, 5:45pm and 6:45pm classes across my package period, and I observed that JJ appears randomly and frequently at the studio regardless of time slot, so it can’t be said that I’m intentionally stalking him based on his schedule if he is there all the time.

My eventual conclusion was: it was an unfortunate case of “you can’t sit with us” combined with a bit of “why are you so obsessed with me” and mixed with “I get to decide who gets to take pictures of me, dahling.” 

The community spirit at REVL Training City Hall is pretty strong, in no small part due to their fierce reputation and flagship status. Close friendships have formed outside classes, member birthdays are celebrated in the studio and holiday festivities are regularly organised at fam homes. Fitness fams can be a fantastic, nurturing and very positive thing, but when the relationships forged are so close, the lines between commercial and personal may blur, and members who deem themselves as “core” or “inner circle” may develop a certain self-importance and entitlement and subsequently feel that they can dictate and regulate the types of people they would like to embrace into their fold. Objectively, what JJ and M did to me feels like schoolyard-level ganging up and bullying, perhaps in a bid to assert superiority and show that, for whatever reason, I was not welcome in their studio or did not possess what they were looking for when it came to acceptance into their community. I was ambushed and humiliated publicly – twice – in front of many regulars within the studio; not given any opportunity to seek clarifications or defend myself; not furnished with particulars of my supposed misconduct (i.e. who was I supposedly filming? Who is unhappy, JJ or M, and why? If JJ was unhappy, why was it M who came over instead of him? Was it just all part of some sophomoric dare, hence M’s victory whoop?); and ultimately made to feel unsafe in a public place due to the random and aggressive nature of the verbal assault. 

Just for argument’s sake, if either JJ or M had genuine objections to being filmed, they could have approached the matter in ways that were kinder, reasonable and more civilised. They could have come to me and told me privately that they wish to be excluded from any videos I take/for videos featuring them to be deleted or not posted etc, or expressed their discomfort to the studio’s management for them to investigate and take further action. In any event, the least that should have been done was for JJ to have confronted me personally, since he was supposedly the subject of my inappropriate filming and not M. It just feels bizarre and ludicrous that I was attacked publicly by proxy, accused of stalking someone but not told who it was, and even demanded to stop taking videos entirely (instead of merely not capturing JJ) as if I was a lamb in their farmyard to be disciplined and controlled. To paraphrase the famous words of Kim Cattrall to Piers Morgan back in 2017 about Sarah Jessica Parker, they could have been nicer. I don’t know what their issue is.

To be very clear, no other person in the studio has been unwelcoming or discourteous to me in any way, and I have even made a few new friends and met some kindred spirits on the gym floor whom I identified with more than the gorgons lifting 50kg deadballs. I agree fully with the long-standing member of the studio who DM’ed me privately after the incident that I should not allow the actions of two individuals to permanently taint my past and future experiences at the studio. However, I would admit that, every time I returned to the scene of the incident (because I still had credits to clear after the assault), I would involuntarily scan the room first and hope that JJ and M were not present, because the classes were biantai enough without me having to worry about after-class shenanigans.

In the aftermath, I have reservations about returning to the City Hall outlet (heaven forbid someone else accuses me of surreptitiously stalking them with my camera lens), which is a shame because it is the REVL outlet closest to my office, I have friends who are members at this specific outlet, and I bought my package with the intention of dedicating my Tuesdays and Thursdays to REVL’s Sweat programme. I really wish none of this ever happened.

REVL Training City Hall Hilary
Hilary (REVL Training City Hall).
REVL Training City Hall Celeste
Celeste (REVL Training City Hall).

REVL Training City Hall Singapore
13 Stamford Road, B1-34
City Hall, Singapore 178905

Click out more stories from my “5 Things I Learnt About Fitness” series:


Shawn is a full-time lawyer based in Singapore. Neither a professional critic, blogger nor photographer, Shawn is simply somebody who loves food and luxury hotels very much and (likes to think that he has) a quirky sense of humor. When Shawn is not premature ageing and turning his hair further grey due to stress and vicious deadlines, he is somewhere spending an exorbitant amount of money trying out new dining places and hotels.

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