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CrossFit Exclusive Interview

Exclusive Interview with Benjamin Goh from The Vanguard Strength & Conditioning


“ I used to be a complete introvert, reserved and rather much kept to myself. One day, my Coach suggested that I participate competitively at an event organized by the gym. I balked at the idea, strongly declaring that I would be more comfortable watching from the sidelines than competing on the stage. However, he never stopped encouraging me. His unwavering confidence and constant enthusiasm soon warmed me to the idea.

Cautiously, I signed up for my first competition. Although I didn’t win, I gained a truly unforgettable experience that surpassed any and every expectation I had. Ever since then, I’ve participated in at least one event each year.

That was almost 5 years ago. ”



One would be hard pressed to believe that Benjamin Goh once rejected the idea of competition. When not busy dusting his gold medals or training for his next meet, he is passionately devoted to the growth of The Vanguard, a fitness facility that prioritizes strength & conditioning as a means for athletes to become faster, stronger, and fitter.

ToughAsia hears all about it.


Tell us more about your involvement with fitness. When and how did you start working out?

Growing up, I never used to be active consistently. That is, until my tertiary education took me abroad to Australia, where I lived in an apartment with a gym. My housemates and I started working out together, not really adhering to any specific programme or structured workout. In time, I got more serious and joined a proper gym.

Do you have other prior or current involvements in the fitness industry?

When I returned to Malaysia in 2010, I was working part-time as a Coach in Pushmore Fitness Centre for a couple of years while I also held down a fulltime office job. I started developing The Vanguard Strength & Conditioning in 2013 and started up the facility sometime earlier this year (April 2014)

You’ve taken part in a fair number of fitness and weightlifting events. What are they?

Here are some events which I’ve participated in.

  • 2010 CrossFit Melbourne Competitor
  • 2011 CrossFit Open Asia Regionals (Qualifier)
  • 2012 CrossFit Melbourne Competitor
  • 2012 Best In The West Melbourne Competitor
  • 2013 Chuan Fu Weightlifting Meet (Champion)
  • 2014 Art of Power Weightlifting Meet (Champion)
  • 2014 Singapore National Open Weightlifting Championship (Gold Medalist)
  • 2014 Art of Power Weightlifting Meet (Champion)


 That’s a lot! What would you say is your main motivator to keep on participating in these events?

I compete because it holds me to my goals and keeps me in line with training. It gives me a purpose and adds higher significance for me to do what I do. Through competing, I’ve learned to understand and appreciate the value of consistency and commitment – both mentally and physically.

It’s also taught me the importance and given me the insight on developing and implementing effective training for the members.

As Head Coach at The Vanguard, would you say that competing has contributed towards being a better coach?

Definitely. For one thing, it gives me the insight and allows me to tune in to a trainee’s goals and challenges. For another, it’s being diligent and aware of how the body and mind works. It helps me to understand and guide them through the difficulties they go through.


How did you come up with the name of your facility?

I was sharing the vision of having my own facility with a friend and pondering over a suitable name. A few days later, my friend suggested ‘Vanguard’ as it carried the following meaning :

  • A position at the forefront of new developments or ideas
  • A group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas.

The Vanguard strongly emphasizes itself as a strength & conditioning facility. Why?

Strength & Conditioning has always been a core aspect of fitness and covers the physical and psychological development of athletes for performance. It helps them become faster, stronger, more agile and flexible. In addition, it enhances their muscular endurance so they perform better even under a longer duration and stay clear of injury.


Are strength & conditioning related or separate? Please explain how.

In general, strength & conditioning go hand-in-hand and are both equally important for an athlete’s performance, development, and progress.

At Vanguard, the strength portion takes roughly 30 – 40 minutes and comprises classic external weighted movements, primarily

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Press work (Overhead / Bench)

The conditioning portion usually takes 10 – 15 minutes and relates more to basic bodyweight and free weight exercises. It generally includes

  • Simple calisthenics (squats, sit ups, push ups, burpees, pull ups)
  • External weight exercises (kettlebell, dumb bell, free weights)
  • Cardiovascular performance work (short sprints, running, interval)
  • Moving loads from accuracy & co-ordination work to full body usage capacity work.


 Apart from an increase in strength, what other improvements / results can someone following strength & conditioning programme expect?

  • Improved anaerobic performance
  • Increased cardiovascular capacity
  • Refined movement mechanics
  • Enhanced understanding of fitness and health variables.

I don’t know much about strength & conditioning, but am keen to train at The Vanguard. How do I begin?

An in-house consultation is arranged where we assess your fitness level and determine your goals. The assessment covers basic exercises such as push ups, sit ups, and squats.

All beginners go through our Basics Course which consists of 4 sessions. We introduce and work on the fundamental strength and weight exercises. This assures proper form and movement, efficiency, and consistency as a whole. Moreover, this helps put the trainee at ease and gives them the confidence to progress on to a regular training session.

I am already familiar in lifting. Am I allowed to join without undergoing the Basics Course?

Yes, but only upon completion of a short assessment of your proficiency.

I am thinking of competing seriously. Would The Vanguard be a suitable place for me to train?

If you’re thinking about it, go for it! One might feel uncertain, anxious, or inadequate. However, know that the competition isn’t with others, but within yourself. It’s not you against the rest, just you against your best.

At The Vanguard, our principle is to get into the gym and get work done. As a strength and conditioning facility, we are definitely well equipped for you to progress in that area. Group training in context, any athlete knows that working together and supporting each other is always a plus point.

Do you provide Personal Training?

Taking into context the individual and Coach’s circumstances, one-on-one training can be discussed and arranged.

What other advantages are there to training at The Vanguard?

We conduct sessions in small groups, allowing each trainee to receive more attention. Consequently, their performance and progress are able to be monitored better. This ensures they receive the necessary amount of guidance, support, and feedback in order to develop and improve.


How are sessions run and conducted at The Vanguard?

Currently, we go by pre-booking scheduled classes. Each session consists of 4 – 8 pax and runs for approximately an hour. For more details or to book a slot, you can refer to the schedule & fees stated on our website (http://vanguardsnc.com/schedule-fees).

For further enquiries, you can contact us through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/vanguardsnc)  or write in via email to ben@vanguardsnc.com


The Vanguard Strength & Conditioning

Website: http://vanguardsnc.com/

Address: Unit 29-G, Block C, Zenith Corporate Park. No. 1, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya 47301 Petaling Jaya Selangor

Operating hours:  0700 – 1000hrs & 1700 – 2100hrs

Article by Cheryl Moy