I’d like to thank Dave for this warning (about doing the barbell squat incorrectly) when I first joined up. After over a year of no gym access I’d forgotten this basic step. More recently he’s pointed out my back rounding out at the bottom… after taking a video of myself I saw my butt wink was way worse than I thought. Working on hamstring flexibility a lot now. they’re super tight. I’m blaming a lifetime of skateboarding with no warm ups or stretching… It’s good to have a gym where people are looking out for you!
Using what I learned with you guys, and now being here in America is helping me so much. If it weren’t for all the education and knowledge imparted on me by you (Dave Chesser) and Abram Chuang, Kerry Wu and Arwin Hsu I would be making all these mistakes still.
I regularly see people doing this at the gym I go to, and the trainers are just as bad. The training and learning experience I gained at Formosa is something I’ll be able to carry with me for a lifetime, and be able to use to help those around me.
I literally cannot heap enough praise on the gym. Well done.
Xenia (see Xenia’s update with great progress pics here)
My husband, teenager son and I go to Formosa Fitness. It’s an excellent gym, it has enough for a great workout and the trainers are very good. The price is very reasonable and is close (like 5 minutes walking distance) to Guting MRT Exit 8. They also have classes, Kettlebells, Strength Training and Olympic lifts I believe. I’m very pleased with the progress I made during my strength classes and really enjoying the one-on-one training as well. We attended recently a Strength Camp and is was very good. My son is in excellent physical condition and he felt challenge. My husband and I felt very challenged and learned a lot. It was wonderful.
I highly recommend Formosa Fitness and I’m convinced this is the best gym in Taipei.
Looking back at my pics from 2012. Looking at my physical transformation is shocking. Thanks to Dave Chesser, Abram Chuang, Kerry Wu at Formosa Fitness in Taipei for everything. You gave me some great instruction and a foundation for fitness I can take with me the rest of my life. Not even close to where I want to be, but the slow steady approach with no shortcuts certainly works. I’m stronger than ever and I always get compliments on how I’ve changed. I can deadlift, squat, bench, clean, and overhead press ridiculous amounts of weight now. This is real strength that is useful in your everyday life. I’m thankful for it.
Colin from Switzerland
My Dad and I got the chance to work with Dave and Formosa Fitness when we were in Taiwan last year, after a friend strongly strongly recommended we check out his place. Since we were just getting into kettlebells and were only going to be in Taiwan for a few days, Dave gave us a crash-course, focusing on good form and a few basic, effective moves so we could keep on training at home.
We really liked his practical, no-bull approach and we’re still using what he taught us. It’s rare to come across a coach you can trust and who will think of your fitness first and his/her pay-day second. The fact that Dave screens potential clients to make sure they’re a good fit and ready for his style of training (and actually turns some people away!) solidly puts him in that category.
I recommend Dave and Formosa Fitness to anyone who’s serious about their health and fitness and isn’t afraid of a little sweat and doing things a little differently than the rest of the herd.
Tamryn, former member and ongoing fan of Formosa Fitness
I spent three months as a student in Taipei in 2012. During this time, Formosa Fitness became my favorite place to train. I was worried that I would not find the right environment to maintain my fitness levels and continue to develop my training goals, so even before arriving, I did some research and was extremely happy to come across Formosa Fitness. After my first session, I was not disappointed. Dave Chesser and his team are pushing forward their knowledge and passion for functional strength and power training with time-efficient, structured programs that continue each week to challenge your body and build up physical and mental well-being – whether you are just beginning to realise what your body can do or if you are a CrossFit contender. Their philosophy and approach is shared by leading trainers around the world, including the US and Australia. What I discovered, though, is that it is unique to Taiwan; what an opportunity. How could you not train there?!
I have been going to Formosa Fitness for a few months now. Before my first session I had a bit of a well, I am in Taiwan and got to take what I can get mentality. From previous experiences with gyms and trainers here I did not have high expectations. But I am thrilled I found Formosa Fitness! While you will not hear the ‘find your inner warrior/gorilla’ talk, and you won’t become part of a tribe, I guarantee you will be challenged and motivated. If you keep up with the workouts, home workout plan, and eat well during the week, your results will equal any results you would get back home. My sister works out with one of the top trainers back home. On a recent visit I was able to work out with them for a month. During the workouts out I kept thinking that I am lucky to have found Formosa Fitness in Taipei since I get the same quality, variety and professionalism as I would at home but with more personal attention and a little cheaper! It may not have all the hype, truck tires, and warrior talk but give it a try for a month and you will realize Formosa Fitness is a gem. In fact, when I do eventually go home, I hope to find a place to workout just like it.
(Note: Michelle lost over 26lbs. with us in six months. Keep up the good work!)
Just wanted to add here that I met with Dave last weekend to discuss my training options, and I could not be more satisfied.
I have the ‘skinny guy’ problem, where I’m not out of shape in any way, fairly athletic, but I just can’t put on any muscle mass. Dave taught me some new techniques with correct posture and form and gave me a workout routine that will help me build muscle mass instead of just burning calories. He also taught me more effective (and time saving) stretching techniques and gave me some nutrition advice and ways to limit wasting the precious amount of calories in my system. I generally can get out of the gym in around 30-40 minutes depending on how many people are in there, and I feel like I’ve received a real workout thanks to the full-body exercises Dave recommended for me. When you can feel every major muscle group in your body pulsing you know something is right.
It’s been about a week now and I have already starting adding weight to my workout, which is a sure sign that I am progressing way more than before. Dave is a real pro, and I recommend that anyone who is serious about their fitness goals should definitely meet with him.
I first heard the Formosa Fitness name while looking into some options for proper exercise around Taipei. I saw a posting on Forumosa for a used STX suspension training system and figured that would be a good investment for getting back into shape. I had moved to Taiwan about two months prior and hadn’t done any kind of exercise aside from walking (and sweating) a lot.
I met Dave at his gym to pick it up, we chatted briefly, and I checked out the equipment there. He had everything I was interested in using: barbells, bumper plates (because dropping heavy things is fun), kettlebells, rings, and a squat rack.
I was researching several strength training programs based primarily on barbell work and had no interest in machines or treadmills. I was also into the functional-fitness principles, so this seemed like an ideal place to train.
After using the STX system at home for several weeks, I went in for the free private training assessment session. I really liked it – enough to commit to coming back twice a week after work, with a 45-minute commute each way.
The private training sessions are outstanding. I’ve really never gotten so much out of a 30-minute routine before. The warmup and stretching portion is quick, but still manages to be comprehensive and effective. I love the efficiency, and the stretches are a series of useful, dynamic movements which can be continually progressed. In fact, the stretching routine alone has helped me with a problematic tight shoulder and hips (I sit at a desk for extended periods every day), and with my overall posture. The rest of my routine is based on compound barbell movements.
Dave sequences the lifts such that the ones needing the most improvement come first, also ensuring that my legs get a bit more warmup time before squatting. Although there’s no specific cardio or interval-style training in my current program, the intensity stays pretty high with brief rest periods and movements that engage the entire body. I’ve been fit enough from these lifting sessions alone to do 3-5 hour hikes with decent elevation gains on the weekend without feeling winded.
I was quite nervous about attempting heavy squats and deadlifts without advice and critique from an expert, but luckily Dave is great at analyzing form and spotting. I’m never worried about failing a lift and injuring myself, I can just remain focused on moving the weight. Dave never interferes with a lift unless it’s absolutely necessary, and even then, provides just the minimum amount of help to finish.
He also suggests ways to break through plateaus, which is something I would likely never get sane advice on at a big gym. Overhead presses have been problematic for me, and we tried a few different approaches to move the weight up – things I had never read about or considered trying. Occasionally he also modifies the main lifts I work on to add challenge, emphasize a different muscle group, or investigate potential problems.
For example, we’ve moved from barbells to kettlebells a few times to look for any imbalances in strength or flexibility on one side of my body.
Another thing that I appreciate is that Dave is constantly learning and trying new things with his own workouts and with other clients. I’m sure everyone working at Formosa Fitness benefits from this continuous learning. Dave is very familiar with a lot of the current material I’ve read online and in bookstores about strength training, and recommended other good reading that was new to me.
It’s been really motivating and exciting to see my lifts go up steadily in weight. I’ve progressed from never having done a single barbell squat or deadlift, to hitting 150% and 200% bodyweight (in squats and deadlifts, respectively) in just 4 months. Also, you really can’t help but be pleased with the efficacy of a program when people comment on your strength, and can’t believe that you only exercise 1.5 – 2 hours per week. Many people spend over an hour each day in the gym and fail to meet their fitness goals.
As long as you’re willing to push yourself hard and not miss workouts, you’ll get excellent results from Formosa Fitness. The only way I could imagine things improving is with complimentary post-workout bacon.
She came to us for fat loss and general fitness. She lost six and half kilos in a little over two months of training! Her example shows what is possible to achieve if you train with us.
“I have reaped tremendous benefits from Dave’s class and coaching over the last year. The improved strength, conditioning and mobility are felt throughout every aspect of body movement. As a busy professional fighting to balance work, family and pursuit of multi-sport fitness, Dave’s regular and high intensity workouts made it possible for me to not only sustain a healthy routine but also provide an excellent form of complimentary cross-training to running, cycling and swimming. In running particularly, I have noticed a greater stability in my hips and mid-section (core) which result in a much more efficient form,
greater ease and faster speed.”
“Lastly, I no longer suffer the chronic lower back pain. The overall
improvement in functional strength, better posture and awareness of
body movement has kept my back injury-free.”
“I highly recommend Dave’s training to anyone who wants to challenge
themselves to attain a higher level of conditioning, fitness, and
“I have been working out at Formosa Fitness for 8 months now with great results. I first came to Formosa Fitness because I felt tired, unfit, and was having back and sleep problems. I noticed a great improvement in my energy levels within weeks, and I definitely feel much fitter. My back problems have virtually ceased as I have built up core strength. I sleep better at night and feel stronger than I have in years! In addition, I have lost more than 3 kg over the last 8 months.”
“Dave is a fantastic trainer who will work with you to meet your needs and help you attain your fitness goals. The classes are varied and challenging…and never boring. In the past, I would stick with a new exercise regimen for only a few weeks before quitting due to boredom, but at Formosa Fitness, I always feel challenged and interested by what we do in class. Each class is different and Dave always comes up with new ways to improve our skills, technique, or strength, or to push us to the next level. I can’t speak highly enough of Formosa Fitness and Dave’s professionalism.”
“At the beginning of this year, I was not in good shape. I weighed more than 90 kilos, noticeably overweight. I knew I needed to do something, so I joined Formosa Fitness in early February this year. Dave understood that my first need was to burn calories, so initially I started going three times a week. Once my confidence with kettlebell exercise had grown, Dave supplied me with a kettlebell for home use – and took the time to devise a varied series of routines to work on particular areas. I’ve spent most of the last 8 months going to class 2-3 times a week and working out at home once or twice, never for more than half an hour at a time. With only 2- 2.5 hours a week and minimal lifestyle changes, I’ve lost nearly 10 kilos, put on muscle, and nearly doubled the amount of weight I can comfortably handle. It wouldn’t have been possible without the varied facilities at Formosa Fitness – or Dave’s patience, encouragement, and expertise.”
“It was my goal to increase my cardiovascular fitness and to gain muscle mass. I was impressed with Dave’s group classes and decided to see him on a one on one basis.”
“Dave also has most of the equipment that we use during classes on sale. I have purchased two items, and have been using them regularly at home, and I am very happy with the results. In addition to the fitness equipment, I also purchased some protein powder from Dave, which has aided my muscle growth considerably. I recommend the vanilla flavor!”
“My Formosa Fitness workouts are giving me excellent results. For the past five months I’ve attended the 30-minute classes three times a week. The benefits I’ve experienced include increased strength and muscle tone, better balance, more confidence, and just an overall boost in well-being. I’ve even lost a few kilos without dieting. Our short, intense workouts use a variety of exercise methods, including kettlebells, TRXs, and body-weight exercises. A real plus is that Dave prepares a different routine for every workout, so you’re always adapting physically to new challenges, and the variety keeps it interesting. Dave is an outstanding trainer with a great deal of fitness knowledge and experience. With his small class approach, you get the benefit of a first-rate personal trainer at an affordable cost. I highly recommend Formosa Fitness for anyone who wishes to improve their physical fitness, overall health, and general outlook on life.”
“I’ve been working out at Formosa Fitness for about a year and a half now. I’m definitely getting stronger. I’m also really tall and couldn’t stand up straight for a long time. After training here, my full height has come back and I’m much more flexible than before. For anyone thinking of coming in, I’d definitely say give it a try. It’s much more personal here, not like those big gyms and we have a nice mix of people here!”
(Mike was also “skinny fat” when he came to us and he’s lost four inches off his waist since then. Good job, Mike!)
“I’ve been working out at Formosa Fitness for 7 months and I having nothing but positive comments about trainer Dave and his kettlebell workouts. I’m in my 40’s and I’ve always been an average fitness guy, played sports casually but never worked out regularly. The most recent sport I took up back home in Canada was cross-country skiing and I was really starting to enjoy the fitness results, but here in Taipei I was only doing commuter cycling and some hiking. ”
“I saw Formosa Fitness on Forumosa and checked out their video, I thought swinging that kettlebell looked easy enough and interesting enough to give it a try. Well, for me it was easy enough to swing that kettlebell, but I still can’t believe how much of a workout it is to swing it for 30 seconds or a minute. I really enjoy the total body workout that I get at the group class. It’s just half an hour, but Dave mixes it up with kettlebell work and body weight exercises using TRX straps. It seems that, besides working the core, swinging the kettlebell naturally strengthens your weaknesses – I’ve gotten the stronger legs that I was looking for. The energy gain from fitness is more subtle for me, but I haven’t missed a kettlebell class in 7 months and I’ve started swimming on the off days. With so much good food to eat here in Taipei, it sure seems like a good idea to start my day with a kettlebell workout.”
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