Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Gordon Lim

Gordon Lim works as a physiotherapist.
Gordon Lim works as a physiotherapist. (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: Gordon Lim (@gordonlwx)

Age: 29

Height: 1.65m

Weight: 54kg

Occupation: Physiotherapist

Status: Attached

Food: I eat anything these days. Given my work schedule on most days, I try to get food that is the most convenient (ie. least waiting time). I also do have desserts regularly as I have a sweet tooth.

Exercise: My main form of exercise is running long distances. I run anything between 70km and 110km a week, depending on the training schedule that my coach provides. A week usually consists of two interval sessions as well.

What sports did you do growing up?

I played a lot of badminton and basketball in primary and secondary school. I only started running more when I went to junior college.

Gordon runs runs between 70km and 110km a week.
Gordon runs runs between 70km and 110km a week. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

When did you start running more competitively?

I started to become a lot more competitive after my first marathon in Singapore back in 2013. It was after I realised that my training back then, though unguided, was sufficient for me to achieve above average running results.

You represented Singapore in the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in 2019. Did you ever expect to be representing Singapore in the SEA Games?

No, I did not expect myself to do that actually. The possibility of doing so only came to mind after running the Sunshine Coast Marathon back in 2019 where I clocked my personal best timing in the marathon. After that, I was nominated to participate in the men’s marathon at the SEA Games 2019, which still remains the biggest highlight of my running achievements.

Briefly describe the SEA Games journey.

It was amazing to be able to represent the country at the start line. I went into the race knowing that I never stood a chance on the podium so it was just trying to make sure I do not end up looking too embarrassed.

My training for the race was filled with decisions that I did not expect myself to make, such as getting Soh Rui Yong as my running mentor and also having friends to do workouts on the track with. Prior to training for the SEA Games 2019, I hated doing interval training. Now, I continue doing interval training twice a week as I find that it helps me get faster and stronger.

Gordon represented Singapore at the SEA Games in 2019, participating in the men's marathon event.
Gordon represented Singapore at the SEA Games in 2019, participating in the men's marathon event. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

What are some of the highs and lows of your running journey?

The highs would be meeting a lot of like-minded individuals who share the same love for the sport, representing Singapore at the SEA Games and also becoming an ambassador for New Balance.

The lows would probably be the fact that I do not have much of a social life outside of running, as I don’t hang out late at night to ensure that I get sufficient sleep and rest for recovery.

How does your work as a physiotherapist help your running?

It helps me to go through the injury process with a lot more confidence. Three key things I always remind myself and my clients who are training hard and would like to mitigate injuries are:

  1. Gradually increasing the training load of the running programme. That could mean increasing the volume and intensity gradually. Too much, too soon might not always be the best.

  2. Always maximise nutrition and sleep especially when you are training harder to allow muscles to recover in order to mitigate injuries.

  3. Try to be patient when going through an injury. Most injuries have a favourable natural history of recovery and sometimes we need to allow ourselves to bring down the training load for a few weeks before ramping it up again.

When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?

I definitely felt insecure when I was younger. I was above average in weight and size back in primary school. But like all teenagers, I was conscious about my appearance and I exercised so much that I was severely underweight. It made me unhappy and affected my social life tremendously.

Gordon feels that being a physiotherapist helps him go through any injury process with a lot more confidence.
Gordon feels that being a physiotherapist helps him go through any injury process with a lot more confidence. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

When did you feel the least confident about yourself?

I believe I felt the least confident when I was in primary school. That was because I was a little overweight back then and was teased by my peers for being in the TAF Club. That made me feel lousy and embarrassed.

When did you struggle the most with your body?

For a long time; perhaps through my teens to my early 20s. I was very much influenced by fitness magazines to obtain a certain desired physique. I was young then and did not know how to go about it, apart from restricting my food intake and exercising intensively.

I think I only realised I was down the wrong path many years after, when I was too drained to be counting the calories and working out on a deficit. I started eating whatever I wanted then, while working out regularly (but not in an intense manner) and I still managed to keep my weight stable. I also sought help from healthcare professionals who gave me appropriate advice.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

Right now, I wouldn't say I am but I do not really care either. I have changed my focus on looking good to feeling strong. As a result of that, I think when it comes to running, I have definitely improved a lot with less attention to my physique.

Have you ever received any comments about your body?

Not really. I honestly think no one cares as much as myself so I try to remind myself that no one is actually keeping track so I can do whatever I want with it. But… I would change my height if I could just to be taller.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Gordon Lim. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Gordon Lim. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)