02. Experts Corner

Evolving Mind-Body Training for Lifelong Wellness

March 10, 2023

As founder of SPARKD Fitness I’m a strong advocate for the brain health and wellness benefits of mind-body training. Here I will cover how neurotechnologies can be used to integrate physical fitness, motor-skills and cognitive training, to deliver an ideal workout for the brain and body.

A Journey from Movement and Fitness…

My background originally was in contemporary dance movement, which I graduated in around 20 years ago. I then transitioned as a specialist in fitness and gym-based training, managing various centers in different countries.

Then about 5 years back I started to take a deep dive into the neuroscience of exercise. Initially I focused on how the different parts of the brain and networks are affected by different types of movement and different types of exercise. I found really fascinating, and still do, as the science is still evolving quickly.

…to Mind-Body Wellness

With that transition my values moved from what condition the body is in, to how do people effectively look after their brains, especially into older age. I have first-hand experience of how important this is from my grandfather having Alzheimer's disease.

I found that the potential to prevent or reduce the challenges of age-related neurodegeneration really resonated with me, and mind-body training has all hallmarks of an effective and practical solution to these challenges.

In particular this vision made the mission of my work stronger, because it matters in terms of how I look after myself and my family, shifting my focus from elite performance to everyday folk.

Formulating a Solution

Then three years ago I started conceptualizing what kind of setup would be ideal for optimizing this type of brain and body fitness approach, which needed to incorporate exercise, complex movement and cognitive demands.

To build a comprehensive solution I committed myself to over a year of research into all the different types of training technologies available to put to use. This materialized into a clear solution of bringing together the latest neurotechnologies into one space for integrated functional training.

The Birth of SPARKD

Our main training center, called SPARKD Hub, was opened in Singapore two years ago. Rather than describe it, here is a video overview.

As you can see its essentially a group session performed like circuit training. However, unlike traditional fitness training, we incorporate a plethora of methods for conditioning lots of different systems simultaneously, and in different ways.

With this we also get lots of great metrics on neurophysical performance, and of course, it’s a lot of hormone-stimulating fun – which adds further wellness benefits. It helps that the exercises are quite heavily gamified, and continually challenging people to progress to the next level. As you can imagine, this is a refreshing change to the familiar grind of traditional gym workouts.


Alongside SPARKD HUB we responded to demand for local setups of our mind-body training. For this we developed SPARKD BOX, which comprises a selection of key training technologies that work well together, fitted into an installation with a small footprint. These are currently specialized for corporate training, seniors and young students.

We’ve found that mind-body training through cognitive-motor conditioning resonates well. People can readily feel it as both engaging and worthwhile to their overall health. It’s certainly an advantage that we can take a familiar gym style approach, as it's not a big leap of faith to dive into.

Elite Training for Everyday People

A key goal was to make this type of training more accessible to a wider audience, and to move beyond the heavy focus on top athletes and elite human performance specialists. Although most of our neurotechnologies were aimed at elite performance, they work superbly for pretty much anyone.

Our core clients are people in the range of 40-60 years old. In recent times this demographic has become surprisingly aware of the need to look after their brain health to increase longevity, improve later quality of life, and maintain overall wellbeing and independence. This seems especially true for people who’ve had some sort of sports background in their past.

Corporate training is similarly in high demand, so we work in conjunction with an executive coaching company. Companies want to keep their valued employees not just productive, but also to keep them performing well as long as possible.

Lastly, we work with schools, which is a lot of fun because the kids just get so excited and engaged, and the schools get access to high-quality objective performance metrics, which their typical exercise programs are missing.

Overall, our multidimensional training approach fits very well not just across different groups, but also different types of individuals. We have the flexibility to mix and match different styles of training. For example clients might want to focus on pushing themselves a lot physically, improving reaction speed, boosting their cognitive agility, or just being highly motivated, and we can customize workouts to whatever they are attracted to.

Showing the Benefits

To demonstrate how effective mind-body training is for brain health and performance, we’ve been conducting pilot studies across 6-week programs with our different client groups. We do a comprehensive cognitive assessment with Creyos (formally Cambridge Brain Sciences).

We’ve collected lots of data we’ve yet to formally publish, but typically we are seeing overall gains core cognitive functions ranging from 15 to 24% from three twenty minute workouts per week. From a total of 6 hours of training, this is a really significant benefit in mental abilities that are normally challenging to move the needle on. It also doesn’t take into account the physiological and motor-skill benefits.

For corporate clients in particular, it really helps to collect this kind of data to show them. Once they see the tangible benefits it's bringing to their employees, the return-on-investment becomes a no-brainer.

The findings with schools will be presented at an upcoming education conference, which I hope will lead to opportunities to do wider studies.

We are trying to create more awareness of the accessibility and benefits of this type of mind-body training. In 5-10 years, I can see it becoming something lots of people get engaged with as part of their everyday lives, really enjoy, and feel all the better for it.

If you’d like to learn more about SPARKD, feel free to check out our website or reach out to us.

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