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: Xavier Ong (@ongxavier)
Status: Single Pringle
Diet: I follow a ketogenic diet; not the super duper clean and strict kind though. I don't avoid sauces but I definitely stay away from sugars and hard carbs.
Training: I actually started my fitness journey only in March 2020 at F45 – so this marks my first anniversary of my fitness journey. Now I'm actually at F45 about five times a week.
Q: When you were younger, did you take part in any kind of sports?
A: I did for a short time when I was 16. I was chasing someone I liked and that person was in dragonboating so I ended up in the team. However, if I may be honest, I wasn't exactly interested in the sport and I remember how I felt like dying every week because I didn’t do much exercise before that.
I've had Tourette Syndrome since I was 10 and have been excused from PE lessons even when I was in school, hence I lacked stamina and you could say I was… purely just weak.
When was your turning point and fitness became a bigger part of your life?
When I was filming "Titoudao" in late 2019, I had a scene where I was meant to run down a bus. During the rehearsal, I found myself out of breath just from doing that. Thus I told myself I needed to do something about it and work on improving my stamina.
Another reason was for my job – For the past two to three years I've been casted in certain roles because I was scrawny. I was mostly given roles like (overgrown) students or softer male characters like Hua Dan in "Titoudao". I wanted to show people my versatility and take on other roles too, thus I started to work on building my physique.
Being in the entertainment industry, do you face pressure to look a certain way?
There's definitely a pressure to look a certain way whether you're in the industry or not. Be it for work or day-to-day, I think the most important thing is to be healthy and feel good about yourself.
There's also a need to show different looks for different roles, so I definitely felt the pressure to show versatility in my appearances.
Since you started becoming more active, has it benefited your career?
Since I started becoming more active, COVID-19 also became very active haha.
I actually got offered a role that needed me to go topless (where I had to show my abs to the director as part of audition). But that didn't go through because of the lockdown in Malaysia and Singapore so plans were deferred.
Have you ever faced rejection in your work because of how you look?
I think there was this period way before I started going on the ketogenic diet. At that time I didn't understand why I wasn't getting roles but looking back now I'm pretty clear of that reason.
My face looked like a large bun with excess fillings but no one exactly told me that for a good year until my manager back then sat me down one day and asked if I realised that I've put on a little bit too much weight. I actually felt I was very good looking back then.
You've been on a ketogenic diet for a long time. How has being on a keto diet benefited you?
I've been doing keto for about three years now and it all started when I was confirmed for a role, but the director told me I needed to lose a little bit more weight before filming started in three weeks. I went ahead to search for diets online and after reading through the diets that involved only juices or steamed chicken breasts and broccoli, I stumbled upon the ketogenic diet.
My brain started overflowing with food ideas (Korean BBQ, Mookata, roast duck, pork belly etc.) and that was when I knew I've found the diet made for me. I lost a good 18-20kg just from being on keto (even before I started this fitness journey), I didn't need botox anymore and honestly the energy is amazing. I would also like to think that my fitness progress thus far was made easier being on the keto diet.
I've tried to go back on a normal carb diet countless times but the change of energy was very obvious and I really felt horribly sluggish so I always just ended back on keto but I'm working around it to bulk up a little by increasing my protein intake. For me now, it's really just the energy which I absolutely enjoy and not about the weight loss.
What are your fitness goals now?
My goals are always changing to be honest. I'll achieve what I want to achieve and then move on to the next goal really quickly because I don't like to make crazy huge goals.
I believe in baby steps and being just 1 per cent better every day. For now I'm working on a larger chest and more defined abs. Then from there I'll progress again.
Was there ever a time where you felt the least confident about yourself?
I've actually always been pretty comfortable being myself and being in my own skin but there will be that one or two days a month when I feel a little under the weather or I feel like I'm getting slightly out of shape due to my occasional feasting.
When that happens, I usually just stay home and do some fasting, then I'm all ready for the world again.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
I'm not unsatisfied for sure but I do know and believe that I can achieve more, which is what I'm constantly working towards.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
Ever since I started on my fitness journey, I haven't actually been getting any negative comments, Before I started working out however, a lot of people were telling me how skinny I was or how unfit I am when I'm filming. So I'm really glad I started on this journey and ever thankful to the people I have met throughout this period that has been pushing me on and keeping me on track.
Going to do a special shoutout here to power fitness couple Elise and Mika - I wouldn't have gotten so far without the both of them.