Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Joachim Tan: 'Bodybuilding has had a profound impact on my mental state'

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Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Joachim Tan is a studio manager and trainer at SUMHIIT Fitness.
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Joachim Tan is a studio manager and trainer at SUMHIIT Fitness. (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: Joachim Tan (@joachimtandeon)

Age: 32

Height: 1.60m

Weight: 62kg

Occupation: Studio manager and trainer of SUMHIIT Fitness Orchard Gateway and Tai Seng.

Status: Married

Food: I am a firm believer of IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). Basically I eat anything and everything, as long as I stay within my calories for the day. With a preference for Japanese cuisine!

Exercise: I go to the gym at least four times a week, and my workouts consist mainly of strength and hypertrophy-based sessions.

A: Back in the day, I was a baller on the court. From the moment I stepped into primary school until my secondary school years, I was part of the school basketball team. Slam dunking and shooting hoops helped me unleash my competitive spirit and reach for the stars.

But, there came a point in secondary school when I discovered a whole new passion that stole my heart – working out and weightlifting. Suddenly, the gym became my second home and I found myself addicted to the rush of pushing my limits and building my strength.

After getting into working out and weightlifting in his secondary days, Joachim developed his interest in becoming a personal trainer.
After getting into working out and weightlifting in his secondary days, Joachim developed his interest in becoming a personal trainer. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Beyond my regular workout regime and keeping fit, I started developing an interest in the personal fitness development of others which spurred me on to becoming a personal trainer. After landing a role at a gym primarily catering to women, I pivoted to joining F45 as their founding trainer at their South Buona Vista branch. F45 truly exposed me to the HIIT scene and I’ve never looked back ever since.

After managing HIIT (high-intensity interval training) studios like F45 South Buona Vista and Bukit Timah, and BFT Tai Seng, I now find myself kickstarting this journey with the Inspire Brands Asia team on their SUMHIIT Fitness venture. It's a thrilling opportunity to bring our unique take on HIIT to the community.

Growing up, I was always at the shorter end of the stick (pun intended). In order to make myself bigger and more intimidating so I wouldn’t get picked on, I started going to the gym in secondary school, even forgoing recess time just to pump some iron in the school gym. That spurred my interest to pursue my studies in sports and exercise when I went to polytechnic, and later I took a degree in sports science.

One of the most memorable aspects was undoubtedly the dieting journey. From meticulously tracking my macros to navigating through cravings and temptations, it was a true test of mental strength and discipline.

But the true pinnacle of my bodybuilding journey was the triumphant moment of winning a competition. Standing on that stage, all the hard work, sacrifices and countless hours of training culminated in a single glorious moment.

One of the most joyous highlights was the camaraderie I shared with my friends who joined me in this endeavour. We pushed one another to do our best, celebrated milestones together and formed an unbreakable bond through the shared challenges we faced.

But as with any athletic endeavour, there comes a moment of reflection and evaluation. After my first competition, I experienced first-hand the level of commitment and discipline required to thrive in the sport. The thought of going through another gruelling "competition prep" both excited and scared me.

It was in that moment of contemplation that I made the decision to stop competing in bodybuilding. I chose to shift my focus towards a new mission: helping others navigate their fitness journeys. The chance to support and guide individuals through their transformations became my new passion. The joy and fulfilment I find in witnessing their progress are truly indescribable.

Joachim is passionate in introducing the SUMFIIT fitness concept to the public.
Joachim is passionate in introducing the SUMFIIT fitness concept to the public. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Having a deep-rooted interest in fitness combined with my experience in managing gym studios previously, my role at SUMHIIT is the perfect combination of work and personal interest.

Being part of a team launching a new fitness brand in Singapore's saturated market isn't a walk in the park. With numerous fitness concepts emerging constantly, it's a challenge to stand out. Yet, my belief in the brand and its transformative workout, which I personally experienced after travelling to the United States to try it, fuels my determination.

Balancing the roles of studio manager and full-time trainer at SUMHIIT might seem overwhelming, but it's precisely what drives me each day.

I'm really excited about SUMHIIT. It is a cutting-edge fitness concept, endorsed by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) that challenges conventional high-intensity workout norms. It achieves an impressive 50-minute supercharged calorie burn in just 35 minutes.

Under the guidance of seasoned coaches, our sessions feature dynamic 60-second bursts of high-intensity cardio on air bikes, complemented by focused strength-building exercises. We prioritise muscle-toning weights, kettlebells, TRX, medicine balls, and bodyweight movements to ensure a comprehensive workout experience. This regimen targets every muscle group, delivering a complete full-body workout that leaves no muscle untouched. Additionally, there is an optional 10-minute post-workout segment focusing on core exercises to tighten the abs.

One of the biggest challenges I face as a fitness trainer is creating an enjoyable and inclusive fitness experience for everyone. You see, not every workout caters to all groups of people, and that's where the real struggle lies.

In my coaching journey, I've come across classes that heavily focused on either strength or cardio exercises. While some individuals thrive in those environments, I've realised that not everybody enjoys extreme weightlifting or intense cardio sessions. That's why I'm so passionate about SUMHIIT, because it offers a workout that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their fitness preferences.

There was a little incident from my younger days that really shaped how I viewed myself. I was just a kid, navigating my way through primary school when I received my health booklet. As I flipped through the pages, my eyes landed on a comment: "Short Stature."

Those two words had a profound impact on me. Suddenly, I started questioning myself and my worth. I felt insecure about my height and began to compare myself to my taller peers. It felt like I had a label stamped across my forehead, marking me as different.

But you know what? Life has a funny way of throwing adversity our way and teaching us valuable lessons. This incident, though seemingly insignificant, served as a wake-up call for me.

Joachim enjoys the challenges of creating an enjoyable fitness environment for others.
Joachim enjoys the challenges of creating an enjoyable fitness environment for others. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

From that moment on, I made a conscious decision to change my perspective on life. I embraced the adversity and turned it into motivation. I started focusing on my strengths and the qualities that made me unique. I discovered new hobbies and interests that allowed me to blossom into a confident individual.

It was during my younger years, when I felt self-conscious about my height. Being different from my peers had a way of shaking my confidence to its core. As I got older, I discovered group exercise settings. Undoubtedly, group workouts became my safe haven, my refuge from self-doubt. I noticed something magical about group workouts – they had a sense of camaraderie and community that you couldn't find elsewhere.

That's when it hit me. I wanted to create that same kind of welcoming and encouraging environment for others. I became passionate about becoming a fitness trainer in a group exercise setting. I realised that by harnessing the power of community, I could not only transform my own confidence but also help others on their own personal journeys.

I can still recall vividly how I always felt "too skinny" or "too small". Those negative self-perceptions were eating away at my confidence, and I knew I had to do something about it. That's what led me to bodybuilding. It became more than just a way of getting fit; it was a lifestyle. I dove headfirst into the world of bodybuilding, and it was a thrilling and rewarding experience.

Bodybuilding has had a profound impact on my mental state. It helped me develop a deeper appreciation for my body and the incredible things that it can achieve. I felt stronger, more empowered, and more confident than ever before. It was a transformative journey that helped me overcome my struggles with body image and weight.

If I'm being completely honest, I wouldn't say that I'm satisfied or content with my body. But here's the beautiful thing: I've learned to embrace that feeling and channel it into positive action. Rather than being discouraged by what I perceive as imperfections, I see them as opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

Every workout, every healthy choice I make, and every small victory is a step closer to becoming the best version of myself. Through this mindset, I've come to appreciate the progress I'm making, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Joachim Tan (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Joachim Tan (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)