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 up on or !
Food: I eat a lot. I don't count my calories and generally try to have a high protein diet with a mixture of greens and complex carbs. I try to avoid processed foods and cut down on sugar in my diet. Working out regularly allows me to indulge in the occasional sweet treat and glass of wine without feeling guilty about it.
Exercise: I go to Barry's four times a week for a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) treadmill/weights workout. Weekday sessions focus on different body parts (arms/abs, legs, chest/back) whilst weekends are a total body workout. The Woodway treadmills are a dream to run on and the red lighting and awesome music make me push hard each session.
Strength training is two times a week with my personal trainer Lorna da Costa (who is also a Barry's instructor). One session focuses on legs where I’m trying to improve my form on heavy squats and deadlifts, whilst the other session is on upper body. I also go to a Sunday outdoor dumbbell-based boot camp organised by Lorna. It’s done silent disco style and is a great combination of beats and sweat.
Since the second half of 2021, I have started rhythmic cycling at Ally and Absolute Cycle two times a week. I enjoy the cardio burn which also has a lower impact on the knees and ankles. I try to improve my flexibility and also practise mindfulness through a weekly hatha yoga session at Hom Yoga.
Q: You weren't a sporty kid as you were growing up. What did you spend your time doing when you were a kid?
A: I was the typical nerdy kid and spent my time either reading or studying. I hated exercise and never did any sports so I was terribly skinny and unfit. The annual fitness test in school and National Service would always be super stressful as I always failed and would be sent to do more running, making me hate it even more. I couldn't do a single pull up then and even now standing in front of the pull up rack still brings back some of the anxiety and dread from those days.
When did you first start going to the gym?
I first started working out more seriously after finishing housemanship, as I had more time to myself and wanted to look better. When I first started lifting, I made the typical mistake of focusing more on the chest and upper body, and neglected my legs.
I had an aim of looking good and bulking up back then, but my focus now is more on overall long term health: a good combination of strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility.
How did you get into group fitness classes?
My friends dragged me down to Barry's in 2019 just after they opened. After that first session I was aching for days and almost didn't go back again. However I've grown to love the workout - it showed me that treadmill interval training could be fun (dim room, loud music and someone to shout/encourage you), especially in combination with strength training.
Another plus is having many strong runners and lifters working out together with me in class. It helps inspire me to be better and push my own limits. It is this group of like-minded determined fitness enthusiasts, many of whom I now call friends, that make the workouts so enjoyable.
How did your mindset towards health and fitness change during the pandemic?
I didn't used to look forward to working out, seeing it as more of a chore that needed to be done. However since the start of the pandemic, it dawned on me that being healthy and fit was really important as it could be taken away any time by the virus. I learned to look forward to exercising – the many Zoom workouts, outdoor workouts and boot camps helped me get through the lockdowns. Nothing beats an endorphin rush to lift the spirits!
What are your fitness goals now?
My parents inspire me to be as fit as active as they are. They are in their early 70s and go hiking and also head to the gym for Body Pump classes. My goal is build a fitness regimen that is sustainable in the long run.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
In secondary school when I was gawky and nerdy. It made me insecure and I hated the way I looked. It was only years later when I actively started doing something about it that I began to feel better about myself and regain the confidence.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Yes I'm definitely satisfied with how my body has changed through working out. I look and feel healthier and happier now. However, I definitely want to improve and make my body more proportionate by training areas that were neglected before, like my legs.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
I do receive quite a few positive comments from my patients. One even recently said that it inspired him to work out. I feel that doctors should walk the talk when it comes to health and exercise, and I enjoy being able to share with my patients about how they can adjust their diet and lifestyle for better health and better skin.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
I wish I started my fitness journey a lot earlier so I would have a stronger base to work on. However, I'm making up for lost time now.