S’pore-based influencer allegedly wanted personal trainer to train her for free & pay another S$3,000

What a deal.

Sulaiman Daud | March 20, 12:33 pm


A lifestyle influencer has come under flak for allegedly asking a personal trainer to train her for free while she prepares for a fitness competition.

Besides the free sessions, the gym was reportedly also expected to pay S$3,000 as part of the collaboration.

Daphne Maia Loo, a personal trainer and nutrition coach, shared her experience with this influencer on her Facebook page on March 18.

Bad feeling

Loo remarked that she knew it “wouldn’t be good” the moment the influencer described herself as a “Lifestyle Blogger” in her email.

The influencer wanted a personal trainer to get her in shape in time for the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Bikini Fitness competition, scheduled for later this year.

Pic from Daphne Maia Loo’s Facebook page.

Loo commented that the short time frame was an “insult” to other fitness competitors, who usually take a longer time to train.

She also noted that the influencer didn’t send a personalised message, and even used the BCC function in the email.

Pic from Daphne Maia Loo’s Facebook page.

Social media offerings

In return, the influencer was willing to offer postings on her social media account, such as YouTube and Instagram.

The lifestyle blogger also suggested that the gym would be free to upload relevant photos/videos of her on their own social media platforms.

To capture the shots, however, a photographer should be allowed during the sessions to document her fitness journey.

Photo from Daphne Maia Loo’s Facebook page.

But Loo was not satisfied with the offer.

As stated in Loo’s Facebook post, this would mean that a photographer would “take up space” in the gym to capture the influencer in action for three to four months.

Photo from Daphne Maia Loo’s Facebook page.


Furthermore, to take on this project, Loo and her gym would be expected to pay the influencer S$3,000.

Photo from Daphne Maia Loo’s Facebook page.

In response, Loo wrote:

“WOW I HAVE TO PAY YOU TOO?! $3000 for me to train you for free AND I still have to repost your sh*t and help you increase views on your Social Media channels?

Our sessions are priced at $120 for a single session (or as low as $80 if you buy 20 sessions up front). So not only am I losing at least $4,320 in potential income, and a minimum of 36 hours that I will never regain, I HAVE TO PAY YOU $3,000?!

… Those are my thoughts. It’s free for you, BTW.”

Part of her reason for rejecting the offer was her concern for the hard work each trainer puts into coaching their clients:

“I’m also deeply concerned, being part of a small gym, a small business made up of 3 Trainers who do our best every single day for our clients. We keep hustling, doing what we do best, so that people learn and train safely, while achieving their fitness goals.

I’m also concerned because someone out there is going to read this proposal and feel desperate enough to take it up. Because the fitness industry is tough; it’s really tough to survive in it.”

If someone does take it up, it might embolden the next influencer to do the same, to the detriment of other personal trainers.


The offer even made its way to Reddit, in a particular subreddit called Choosing Beggars.

As of 1:00pm on March 19, the thread had garnered almost 1,000 upvotes.

Most of the posts derided the influencer’s offer. One user commented that IFBB’s standard was higher than what she seemed to be expecting.

Screen shot from r/ChoosingBeggars

Another user theorised that asking for money might be a negotiation tactic, and that the influencer could counter by asking just for the free training alone if rejected.

Screen shot from r/ChoosingBeggars

Whatever the reason, Loo hopes that service-providers will get fairly paid by their customers.

You can see the post in full below:

Influencer claimed she did not ask for free personal sessions

On March 20, a Facebook user named Serene Martin posted a direct response to Loo’s post.

She claimed that the writer of that post had “selectively misrepresented” an email that she sent to various gyms in Singapore.

Martin said that it was a “business inquiry” with a “social media marketing proposal”, detailing the work done for the charges proposed.

She claimed that no part of the email asked for “free personal training sessions”, and that the gym could have simply rejected her offer if they felt it was not right. Said Martin:

“Instead, the email reply I got from the Head Trainer was nothing but a line of laughing emoticons. The gym had very obviously shown their disinterest and I simply moved on without further engagement.”

Martin said she agreed that there was no such thing as a “free lunch”, and that what she proposed was an “exchange”.

Also, she claimed that due to Loo’s post, she was subject to personal attacks on her appearance, profession and values.

Despite her claims, however, Martin did not reproduce the full email which she claimed to have been “misrepresented”.

As it is, at least two commenters have pointed it out, with one asking her to reproduce the email in full:

You can see her post below:

Top image adapted from Daphne Maia Loo’s Facebook page.


Content that keeps Mothership.sg going

Ditch everything and curl up in bed like these adorable Singaporean animals.

Here’s a constructive response to cyberbullying which doesn’t involve arguing in Facebook comments.

These people willingly clean up other people’s trash – here’s why.

You could be watching new episodes of Game of Thrones fuss-free.

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve, and he lives according to the teachings of Jürgen Klopp. He also writes about film and pop-culture, which you are very welcome to read here.

Morning Commute

Interesting stories to discuss with your colleagues in office later