Customised for one-on-one workouts in the privacy of a well-appointed gym, private training facility PRSVR/DTRMND is a niche concept that's attracted high profile clients across fitness levels. We find out what the hype's all about in this Fitness Kickstart episode.

The job of a personal trainer is synonymous with that of the fitness professionals stationed at local gyms and hired for private workout sessions. But what happens when a client can only fit in irregular hours or prefers a private setting? Azmil Saleh, the founder of PRSVR/DTRMND (pronounced Perservere/Determined), noticed a need for that personalised, uninterrupted training while working as a group class coach in Fuel Athletics Damansara, in September 2016. Today, he operates out of a cosy personal training space in Arcoris, Mont Kiara, where he’s been training a range of clients across body types and fitness levels. Azmil’s customised programmes delve into clients’ ‘training’ age, eating habits, sleep patterns and work-life schedule. It’s been over a year, and PRSVR/DTRMND has attracted high-profile clients and back-to-back bookings, when we dropped by to check out what sets his mini gym apart.

How long have you been in fitness?

I started training 25 years ago and have been a trainer for 3 years. I always believe it’s an advantage for a personal trainer to experience being on the other side, which I had the benefit of training under a personal coach back in 2008.

Tell us how PRSVR/DTRMND began.

In April 2018, I advertised personal training at a bridal expo, and the biggest takeaway was from the response, “where is your gym?” The modus operandi personal trainers is the flexibility to work with clients wherever they want. To me, if you have your own place, people will be more confident in your service. I signed the lease for this space in June 2018, and it has helped clients to see and know where they are going to train and the equipment available.

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Can you show us 3 workouts that work, time and time again?

If you want to lose weight, you get strong first. As you build muscles, your body burns more calories and helps you lose weight. If you want to get muscular, work on strength. The 3 most common exercises for strength is the squat, the deadlift, the bench press. Squat being a lower body workout, the bench press being the upper body workout, and the deadlift, a full body workout, as a Certified Physical Preparation Specialist, I can attest to that.

What training do you specialise in?

Mainly one-to-one personal training, mostly HIIT and circuit. Nothing is more satisfying that watching your athlete progress with achievements, from not being able to balance on one leg to doing single-leg deadlifts. The clients who sign on prioritise their spending on health over material purchases. With private training, a client has to want it: they have to turn up, make the booking, and follow through the customised private sessions.


How do you approach each unique individual you train?

My clients range from 16 to late 60s.You have to know your clients, and once you know your clients, you can set the baseline, then you can find out if this person has had prior athletic experience or fitness training, so from there you can see the progress. If a client is at baseline, take baby steps, and if they persevere, they will see the progress.

What’s your daily routine like?

I start at 5.15am everyday, and I’m looking at sessions from 7am-7pm. I will first have my me-time, plan my day, do my morning stretches, solat, before the first client arrives. I workout almost every day but not how I would like to.

What motivates you as an independent business owner?

As the founder, head coach, cleaner and marketing manager, it can be tough. You have to learn to multitask, divide your time between work and family. To break even, you have to have plans b, c and d for backup. The bigger waves will eventually hit you and that’s when you have to innovate. I’ve introduced 3 different programmes and products within my private training offering, set up a website, and soon, I’ll be starting my own podcast. I’m going to get guests to interview on the show as an awareness exercise to bring general health, fitness and wellness to the masses.

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