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: Kenneth Seow (@kennethsbw.fitness)
Occupation: Fitness Professional
Diet: I do not count my calories or follow a specific diet plan. Instead, I believe a well-balanced diet suits my lifestyle best. I generally have three meals a day with a simple breakfast consisting of eggs and toast. Lunch and dinner are based on convenience as I am constantly on the go due to the nature of my job.
Training: I mainly do calisthenics workouts and throw in weight days at least once or twice a week. Even for weights days, I combine bodyweight exercises with them, for example throwing in pull ups in between my sets for active recovery. I also play football on the weekends as I enjoy the competitive nature of team sports.
Q: You played soccer from a young age.
A: Yes, I started playing soccer ever since I was in primary school. Being a chubby kid, I started playing as a goalkeeper and transitioned into an outfield player once I got better at the game. Having a real passion for football, I played at every chance I got. I also represented and was captain of my secondary school soccer team, and I played at the Under-16 level throughout my teenage years.
As I always wanted to challenge myself, I decided to try my hand at a different sport when I entered Republic Polytechnic and so I joined the dragonboat team. It was a great experience as it definitely helped to build both my mental and physical strength. Training was tough (six times a week), and we had to be very disciplined but I certainly had no regrets. We managed to win quite a number of competitions and it built a sense of camaraderie amongst my teammates. I felt those years truly shaped my passion for fitness, training at such a high level for a particular sport.
You went back to playing soccer competitively after that.
Yup, I got back to soccer quite regularly after my polytechnic days and was playing up to three, four times a week. I was part of a team called Singapore Vipers for a number of years and we played in the National Football League. I decided to stop playing at that level eventually, as I was mainly afraid of getting injured. Quite a number of my friends had injuries due to the crunching tackles that happened during games. Although I’ve stopped competing, I am still playing on a social level so that keeps my passion and drive for the sport going.
What made you decide to leave your corporate job and become a trainer?
I was in marketing for an automotive company, followed by a hospitality firm, for approximately four years. It was a great learning process and I enjoyed what I was doing but I did not feel that sense of accomplishment going into work each day.
Therefore I decided to take the plunge at the end of 2017 into fitness as it was a real passion of mine and I truly enjoy interacting and helping people no matter how big or small their goals are. So far it’s been great and I am loving every second of it.
Did you know you were going to pursue a career in fitness, or did you quit and had some time to yourself first?
I took some time off when I left my corporate job in order to recharge mentally and travel a little. I was looking to get into another marketing job after my short sabbatical but my wife suggested that I give the fitness industry a go as I have been an athlete pretty much all my life and was quite sure I’d have what it takes to get into it.
I am truly grateful for her being extremely supportive as it’s been an amazing experience so far, being able to meet and train clients from all walks of life as well as spreading the word on the importance of both physical and mental health.
Currently, you’re a trainer for the F45 network and a personal trainer as well. What do you enjoy about this?
I enjoy it a lot as being a trainer allows me to constantly grow and gain knowledge. With so many types of clients out there, each and every one of them comes with their own challenges, whether it’s to achieve a weight loss goal or gain a specific skill. It is important to be adaptable in order to align their targets with yours.
At F45, it has taught me how to be more confident about teaching a class in a group setting. I thoroughly enjoy it as it resembles team sport; there is a sense of camaraderie as both trainers and members are there constantly pushing each other, motivating one another to do their very best throughout the workouts.
You’re pretty into calisthenics. When did you start getting into this?
I started calisthenics about a year ago as I wanted to build strength aside from just hitting the gym. I saw videos online on people doing calisthenics and thought to myself that it was definitely a good way of challenging myself. The beauty of it is that it can be done pretty much anywhere as it is mainly bodyweight exercise and there are plenty of regression and progression to suit every skill level.
What are your plans next?
As I am relatively new in the fitness industry, I don’t want to rush into anything. There are plenty of things for me to learn, as well as space for me to grow as a trainer and a person. It has been an amazing journey so far and I am going into work feeling great being able to help people all the time. My ultimate dream would definitely be to own my very own gym, maybe in the foreseeable future, you never know!
What are your fitness goals now?
For now I am training to improve on several of my calisthenics skills such handstands and the front lever. These are pretty advanced skills which take a lot of time and dedication to be able to achieve even a level of consistency, but I love it as it allows me to adjust my training regime according to these goals I have set for myself.
Was there a time when you didn’t feel confident about yourself?
I feel confidence is not about the way you look but the way you feel. Mental health is something I feel strongly about and it is something that exercise definitely helps to improve. It may be quite taboo in society but as someone with anxiety myself, I have gone through days where even getting out of bed can be difficult.
Exercise certainly makes it easier and, being a trainer, I feel that it is also my part to impart onto others the positive effects that exercise can do to one’s health, not only from the physical point of view but mentally as well.
What keeps you confident?
Setting myself a constant goal and seeing progress bit by bit certainly has helped my confidence. As long as you set your mind to it and put in the work, improvements will happen along the way. I have a tattoo on my forearm that says “Small Victories, Stay Strong”. This is a reminder to myself that, with every step, there may be downfalls, but if you keep at it and keep going strong, you shall reap the benefits no matter how small they are.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
I feel that with the type of training that I am doing now, calisthenics has certainly helped me build a lot more lean muscle and improve my flexibility substantially in order to perform a lot of the movements better. I would say that I am quite happy where I am ever since I started calisthenics about a year ago, but there is always room for improvement.