Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Kelvin Goh

Kelvin Goh works as a consultant.
Kelvin Goh works as a consultant. (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: Kelvin Goh (@j0shua75)

Age: 47

Height: 1.74m

Weight: 73kg

Occupation: Consultant

Status: Complicated

Food: I do not follow any diet as I find it very challenging to stick to one, with the distractions of Asian cuisine. However, I do watch what I eat and consciously reduce my carb intake, replacing it with quinoa or wholemeal bread whenever possible. I avoid soft drinks completely.

I drink a lot of milk, eat a lot of fish, chicken and fruits and occasionally indulge in my favourite local cuisine such as char kway teow, prawn noodles, nasi lemak and chicken rice. During durian season, I also tend to eat a box of my favourite MSW or D13 as a meal.

Exercise: I exercise about two to three times a week with each session lasting about 60 minutes. I generally prefer to work on calisthenics exercises and the occasional cardio session to burn off more calories. I find that body weight exercises suit me more now as I get older. There is less risk of injury and overstraining my muscles.

I read that calisthenics also increases my resting metabolic rate which is important for active aging and also allows me to enjoy my favourite foods without too much guilt. I also enjoy swimming and do laps at the pool once a week for about 30 minutes each time.

Kelvin does calisthenic exercises, which is important for active aging and also allows him to enjoy his favourite food.
Kelvin does calisthenic exercises, which is important for active aging and also allows him to enjoy his favourite food. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Q: When you were younger, were you active in sports?

A: Yes, I started swimming when I was five and remembered my first swim competition at six years old. I was in competitive swimming from primary school and was also in the track team from secondary school. Recreationally, I enjoyed playing badminton and basketball.

What sports did you get into as you got older?

I continued to swim, play basketball and badminton recreationally. I've recently learnt cycling to keep up with my daughter so that was a mini achievement for me to pick that up at my age. I was skiing quite a bit before and excited to resume that now that COVID travel restrictions have been lifted.

When did fitness become part of your lifestyle?

It has always been part of my lifestyle since I was young but took a backseat during periods of my work career. It is more consistent from four years ago after a series of significant life events led me to focus on my priorities and life goals.

How have your views on fitness changed as you got older?

In my school days, fitness was a natural outcome of being in competitive sports. Now fitness is a conscious decision and a means to keep my promise to my children to be with them at every key moment in their life. I married relatively late and my children are young, hence a real need to stay healthy for longer.

I believe regular exercise and fitness is a sure way to slow down the effects of aging. I fully intend to run after my grandchildren and not have them push me around in a wheel chair.

Kelvin created the ActivEdge app to help others get started and maintain the habit of regular exercise.
Kelvin created the ActivEdge app to help others get started and maintain the habit of regular exercise. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

You created an app called ActivEdge.

ActivEdge is a technology-first solution for the average person who understands the importance of regular exercise, needs to exercise more but simply does not know where or how to start. The goal of the application is to overcome the barriers faced in getting started and maintaining the habit of regular exercise.

It is targeted for beginners and working parents as a compelling solution to get the recommended hours of physical activity from the convenience and privacy of home. The tech behind the app automatically selects the most appropriate workouts to match individual fitness level and dynamically adapts as one progresses. You avoid doing inappropriate workouts which might lead to overexertion and even injury.

What led to you creating ActivEdge?

When I wanted to get back in shape four years ago, personal training was too expensive for me. Searching online yielded an avalanche of results that overwhelmed me. I tried popular exercise classes and those were not suitable for me as well. I either felt very “lao kui” or very “pai seh” (both meaning embarrassed).

Most of the time I was simply lost and could not keep up with the rest of the class. After sharing my challenges with my peers, I realised I was not alone. I went about figuring an easier way for working parents like myself, and even beginners, to exercise that considered our limitations of time, lifestyle and space without compromising on safety and effectiveness.

Hence, ActivEdge was conceived and the beta version was launched in January 2022. The prospects are very promising and we have received positive feedback on it thus far which will go towards further improvements to the application.

My goal for ActivEdge is to be the market leader for enabling and empowering active lifestyles in Singapore and beyond.

In your life, have you experienced any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?

I don’t recall any specific incident. I believe insecurity is a result of society applying its standards and expectations on each of us. Succumbing to it is detrimental to mental health and can be debilitating. I have been fortunate to grow up in well-insulated environment which built up my self-confidence to face such social pressures as an adult.

When did you feel the least confident about yourself?

The past four years have been the most challenging period of my life thus far. I faced financial difficulties from the failure of my first business venture. I have two young children who live with me. My marriage broke down. I was unsuccessful in numerous job applications. Relationship with my parents and sibling soured. Beyond the loss in confidence, it was a sense of hopelessness and loneliness.

Kelvin overcame the struggles of a failed business venture.
Kelvin overcame the struggles of a failed business venture. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Early on was the hardest. At one period, I surrendered all my personal insurance policies just to support the household expenses. I relied on ad hoc work, up to six at one time to survive. There would be bad days I feel especially depressed and get panic attacks.

Accepting religion in my life played a critical part in my recovery and I now focus on my blessings daily. It was a fundamental shift in mindset and priorities. Mental strength and discipline to exercise regularly played a role as well to regain my confidence. I must also give credit to the support from my family and positive-minded friends who shared the same values and beliefs as me.

Did you ever struggle with your body?

Yes. In the first year I was working in Hong Kong, I enjoyed dim sum at least three times a week, went drinking every weekend and did not exercise at all. That was the heaviest and most unhealthy I have ever been.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

Yes. Although my cardio endurance is lower and rate of recovery is slower now with age, I feel what I gained from calisthenics is functional strength. Being able to do different calisthenic exercises brings a lot of satisfaction to me.

Have you ever received any comments about your body?

Nothing specific. I get comments that I do not look my age most often.

If you could change anything about yourself, would you?

No, I am fortunate to have good genes from my parents.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Kelvin Goh. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Kelvin Goh. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)