Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Christopher Kelly-Wong: 'You learn how to turn negative comments into fuel'

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Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Christopher Kelly-Wong plays ice hockey for the national team.
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Christopher Kelly-Wong plays ice hockey for the national team. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook!

Name: Christopher Kelly-Wong (@christopherkellywong)

Age: 21

Height: 1.78m

Weight: 73.5kg

Occupation: University undergraduate

Status: Attached

Food: During the year I go through different diets. For the bulk of the year, I aim to maintain a diet of 40 per cent protein, 20 per cent fat and 40 per cent carbs. This is catered towards muscle gain and helps me keep fit while I study. Typically before a competition or anytime I am playing large amounts of sport my diet will change to 30 per cent protein, 20 per cent fat and 50 per cent carbs, as this helps me maintain a high body fat percentage during competition months.

Lastly, before the summer I usually tone for the beach bod and this normally consists of a diet of 50 per cent protein, 20 per cent fat and 30 per cent carbs. I don't count calories; rather, I just try to maintain a consistent amount of food each meal.

Exercise: I train in the gym four to five times a week (three times for the upper body and two times for the lower body). I also do cardio once a week, along with my hockey practices and games I play weekly.

A: Yes, I have been playing sports since I could walk. I started playing football when I was three or four and then picked up rugby when I was six. When I was eight I started playing ice hockey and stopped playing football. I played rugby until the final year of high school but had to stop due to an ankle injury. I still play hockey.

Christopher has been active since young, playing in sports such as football, rugby and ice hockey.
Christopher has been active since young, playing in sports such as football, rugby and ice hockey. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

I got into ice hockey as it was mentioned to me by a friend's dad. He said because I enjoyed the physicality of rugby that I should try playing ice hockey and then I fell in love with the sport.

When I was 15 I was approached by a coach who asked me if I was interested in trying out for the national team. I was of course extremely keen and I was fortunate to have made the team and was one of the first placed into the youth programme.

This was a programme to develop the future of Singapore ice hockey. I played my first national tournament in 2017 in the Philippines and I remember it being the most nerve-wracking yet exhilarating tournament of my life. We lost every game but one and despite that, I loved every moment of it.

For a 15-year-old kid, I don't think anything could match the feeling of playing for your flag. After that tournament, I was committed to being a part of the future of Singapore ice hockey.

Easily the 2019 SEA Games. For context: in the previous SEA Games, our team were robbed of a bronze medal. The year prior, in the Challenge Cup of Asia, we won a bronze medal game against Malaysia and just lost out to a silver medal to the Philippines.

Fast forward to 2019 and we are yet again playing the Philippines in their hometown for the SEA Games silver medal. This was the most important game our team has ever played. We were 2-0 down by the end of the first period and we came back to win the game 4-3. I remember the whole team going absolutely nuts as the clock ran out. The feeling of celebrating such a big win with your team was just outstanding. It was the most proud I ever felt to sing the anthem.

The biggest challenge we faced happened to us last year. We normally train in J-Cube but because of financial reasons, they had to shut down, leaving us without a ice hockey rink. The rink shutting down has been something extremely difficult for a lot of our players to process.

Christopher counts representing Singapore in the 2019 SEA Games as a personal highlight.
Christopher counts representing Singapore in the 2019 SEA Games as a personal highlight. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

To many of us, this rink was like a "second home". I was there at least four times a week since I was 10. I speak for all the youths by saying that we basically grew up there. Our team had come so far since 2017.

In 2022 we were promoted to the World Champions Division 4 and again to Division 3B. Singapore ice hockey is at a level it has never been before. The closure of the rink means this progress will slow down significantly (I hope it will never stop but it is now a very real possibility we face currently).

Our team went to Bosnia to compete in the World Champions Division 3B again. Myself and a few other players still train overseas for our university teams but those who are still in Singapore are limited to the possibility of only training on ice once a month (in Johor Bahru). Not only is it difficult to keep in shape without a rink, but it's also extremely difficult for our team to keep our chemistry. Imagine doing a final exam but studying the night before, that is essentially what we will be doing next month.

Our organisation has looked for options in getting another rink built but we severely lack the funds and the support to do so. The saddest loss will be of our youth programme. Last year our youth players who had just entered the national team showed a lot of potential. The fact that these players will not get the correct amount of training and support is something extremely sad.

It hurt, I was featured (similarly as now) to raise support for my team and instead, I got negative remarks. Not what I had expected. That being said, I was never a person to be disheartened by people. Growing up playing sports, you learn how to turn negative comments into fuel. That fuel helped burn a fire inside me and kept me motivated to keep going and never give up.

On the other hand, it also made me feel very angry. We unfortunately live in a society where people will hate and for the wrong person, that hate may be too much or may cause some serious issues in the future. I hope everyone who thinks of making negative comments thinks twice about the harm they may cause.

It has honestly happened over the last three years since I left high school. The first part was during the army. All the vigorous training helped me to form better habits and imparted the means for me to do that.

Christopher honed his physique over the past few years with differnt diets and workout plans.
Christopher honed his physique over the past few years with differnt diets and workout plans. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Once I left I made sure to keep up my training along with experimenting with different diets and workout plans. It was a long process but after a few years of perfecting it, I must say I am content with the programme I have made for myself.

As I mentioned earlier, as an athlete I was already familiar with negative energy and adversities so I learned to deal with this from a young age. That being said, when I was younger I struggled a lot with my temper in the sports scene. I would struggle when things did go my way (if the team was losing or when there was negativity on our team) and this affected my ability to play as my head was often not in the correct mind space.

My high school rugby coach recognised this struggle I had and he helped me develop methods and strategies to overcome such frustrations. Later, one of my ice hockey coaches also helped me with this. He taught me mindfulness and meditation to help me keep a good head space before and after matches. I am honestly extremely thankful for this. If it weren't for his intervention, I believe this would have deeply affected and changed the ice hockey career I have today.

During and before the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker. I was in the 2020 class, so our school lessons, prom night, graduation ceremony and examinations were all cancelled. That was super difficult for me to process.

As someone who is extremely active, being locked up in a house was very difficult. I could not play sports, see my friends, or even go to the gym and I honestly struggled. It was difficult to find the motivation to eat correctly and keep up the amount of exercise I was doing before the lockdowns. Some people were able to find motivation to keep in shape during this time but I was unfortunately not one of them. I gained a lot of weight and was extremely unfit by the time the lockdowns were over.

I was lucky that I was able to go into the army midway through the lockdowns. I truly believe this helped me. I was able to exercise and socialise again while being able to learn new skills. This was the start of my fitness transformation.

Yes, I am. I am happy that I have a good physique alongside an athletic build. It's my perfect scenario. I still have to keep improving my strength to become stronger on the ice but at least I feel that I am on the correct path to do so.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Christopher Kelly-Wong. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Christopher Kelly-Wong. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)