Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Zermatt Neo

·5-min read
Zermatt Neo is a well-known content creator who takes part in eating competitions.
Zermatt Neo is a well-known content creator who takes part in competitive eating. (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: Zermatt Neo (@zermattneo)

Age: 33

Height: 1.74m

Weight: 65kg

Occupation: content creator

Status: Single

Food: I tend to stick to a vegetarian/plant-based diet on days that I don't film my food videos.

Exercise: 5 days of strength-based training followed by cardio and 2 days of hiking

Q: When did you start getting into fitness?

I wasn’t really that active growing up. I did a bunch of hiking and kayaking stuff but didn’t really excel in anything. It was only after my National Service (NS) that I got into working out. The results were pretty addictive so I kinda got hooked. I didn't really engage in any sports but I was pretty damn active in the gym, going about six days a week.

Zermatt's took part in his first eating contest in Manila.
Zermatt's took part in his first international eating contest in Manila. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

How did you get into competitive eating?

It started off because of a dare by a friend. He dared me to do a burger eating challenge and I beat the record time by a huge margin. That's when I realised I could eat a lot and very quickly too.

Things then got a little more serious when I flew to Manila to do my first international eating contest. It was a 15-minute gyudon eating contest where I came in first with nine bowls.

I was working as a personal trainer as well as a nutritionist back then, and I realised I couldn’t really juggle between doing YouTube and having a day job as both takes up a lot of my time – thus I went into competitive eating and content creation full time.

How do you train for competitive eating?

Different eaters have different methods of practising. For me, I tend to train by having a mock contest, like a simulation. For example, if the contest is 10 minutes long, I'll practise eating fast for 10 minutes while figuring out what's the best technique to to execute during the actual contest.

At the peak of my competitive eating season, I can compete in two contests a month. As long as I've got time in between all these contests to balance off all the excess calories, I'm good.

How do you stay in this shape and eat that much?

I count my calories and stick to a relatively responsible diet, usually vegetarian on off days. I eat pretty normal on a regular day, but I weigh and measure everything I eat on regular days. I also do intermittent fasting so I only eat one meal a day. I have a habit of loading up on vegetables to keep myself full.

Zermatt does intermittent fasting in order to stay in shape.
Zermatt does intermittent fasting in order to stay in shape. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

It helps too that I used to be a personal trainer and nutritionist so my knowledge with regard to nutrition really helps me deal with the aftermath of the competitions.

At the gym, I definitely have to push myself through tons of cardio to burn off all the excess amount of calories.

Your most memorable eating competition?

Most memorable event was definitely the one where I competed in China, called来吃来吃大胃王. I met a whole bunch of awesome eaters and got to compete with the best in that country. The overall experience was just surreal!

It's an eating contest which involves both speed and stomach capacity, as well as a bit of luck. Whoever eats the most in that stipulated period of time, moves onto the next round. Every round is something different; for example, in the first round I went against 10 ladies to eat dumplings for 30 minutes.

In the second round I ate popcorn and I had to eat myself out of the giant container. Then you keep advancing and the final round is like a game of chess where you move and eliminate other eaters. I came in second!

What life lessons have competitive eating taught you?

Discipline. Over the years I've seen too many eaters run into health issues when they are not responsible with their bodies. You definitely need to have the discipline to eat right on off days and go the extra mile during your workouts when you're doing something like that.

Any anecdotes?

There was one year where I had this female fan who stalked me all year round, until I had to get a restraining order on her. Scary!

Zermatt feels that competitive eating has taught him to be disciplined.
Zermatt feels that competitive eating has taught him to be disciplined. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

When did you feel the least confident about yourself?

I guess it was right after my NS. I wasn't really fat or anything but I felt like I needed a change. That was actually one of the reasons why I started working out. Being healthy both emotionally and physically really helped.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

I'm happy with my current physique. I just intend to work on my back a little more as it's lacking thickness, but other than that, all is good.

Have you ever received any comments about your body?

I am always receiving questions about how I eat that much and stay this lean.

If you could change anything about yourself, would you?

Maybe I'll want to take a step back. I tend to push myself a little too hard especially when there are goals in place.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Zermatt Neo. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Zermatt Neo. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
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