A fitness guru who’s so tough, he makes celebrities cry

Trainer Firdaus Fidrishah puts pro-racer Claire Jedrek through some tough moves during her training sessions. — TODAY pic
Trainer Firdaus Fidrishah puts pro-racer Claire Jedrek through some tough moves during her training sessions. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, May 7 — At the TripleFit gym at Millenia Walk, coach Firdaus Fidrishah supervises the training of actor-host Paul Foster, actress Carla Dunareanu, and pro-racer Claire Jedrek.

The 29-year-old, whose focus is on gymnastics and calisthenics, first met these celebrities when they happened to join one of his classes at the gym.

Now, those celebrities rely on him to keep them in top form.

“Firdaus is probably the one guy who can make me cry each time I see him,” quipped 34-year-old Jedrek.

Dunareanu, 28, said that Firdaus’ training takes her beyond just being physically fit.

“If my body wasn’t at peak fitness and health, I wouldn’t be able to be the performer I am today,” she said. “With shoots that sometimes run overnight and hosting events that begin at sunrise, my job requires me to be constantly on my toes, and the only way that can happen is for my mind and body to be taken care of.”

When it comes to training a celebrity, Firdaus — an expert in gymnastics and calisthenics — said he does not hold back. He looks at their goals, and has them work hard towards them. The only concession he makes is for their schedules.

“There’s no specific approach that I take with high-profile clients, although I do understand that some of them have busy schedules, so I try to work around that as much as I can,” he said.

He and Jedrek let TODAY in on a recent workout where building core strength was key.

“He’ll look at your form, if it starts slipping, then he will stop and correct you,” said Jedrek.

When Jedrek could not complete her sets of pull-ups well, Firdaus had her use resistance bands, and do assisted pull-ups.

Mobility moves, which had her running around obstacles, were important as well.

His gymnastics expertise came into play, as he coached Jedrek into a handstand, a move that has taken time to build up to.

Jedrek marvelled at her own progression. “He has built me up from not being able to do a handstand, then being able to hold for two seconds, then five and 10 seconds is amazing,” she said. “I can see that the left side of my body is stronger now, a lot more equal to my right side.”

Asked about how hardcore Firdaus is, and Jedrek said that watching her work out, “many people think he’s trying to kill me, but really... he pushes me as hard as I want to be pushed”.

Firdaus knows how to push her out of her comfort zone, and go beyond her limits, said Jedrek.

His stand-out gift is that he has inspired her “to train with dedication, commitment, loyalty, trust and patience”.

“It’s a process — as much as I put in, I’ll get that much out of it,” she said. “What I love about his workouts is that you can’t just ‘buy’ a class; you earn it.”

Firdaus is proud of his trio of celebrity clients. They are committed to their training routines and “are extremely disciplined when it comes to pushing themselves to be better”, he said.

Foster, 36, said: “My workout routine is very important to my lifestyle. It’s not that I work out for my job — it’s just something I’ve always done. It has benefitted my career, of course, but to me, that’s just a bonus.”

Firdaus describes the trio as “really great students”. “The best thing is that they are always happy to train, and when you train happily, you fully enjoy your workout,” he said. — TODAY

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