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Occupation: gymnastics and strength coach
Food: My diet is not rigid, but I do try to keep a healthy balance of both macro and micronutrients. I would try to have 3 meals a day if I have more time, which would consist mostly of meat and vegetables and of course my favourite; carbohydrates. Other than that, I would eat whatever I want in moderation.
I strongly believe that one does not need to follow a strict diet to live a healthy lifestyle unless there is an end goal or a certain look that you want to achieve. For myself, I would use calories in and calories out as the most simple and effective way to track my diet. From there I can then adjust the amount of protein, fats, and carbs accordingly.
Exercise: Bodyweight and strength training makes up most of my training regime. I would try to work out at least 3 times a week, which would consist of a lot of gymnastics conditioning, functional strength training, and cardio. I will try to leave at least one day a week for acrobatics and gymnastics training.
Q: How did you get into Parkour and free-running?
A: I would say I got into Parkour and free-running, as well as acrobatics when I was 12. For me, it looked awesome to be able to flip, twist, and knowing when to land amazed me. My friend introduced me to this thing called Parkour and I was hooked immediately. Ever since that day, movement runs in my blood constantly.
Before that, were you active in other sports?
I grew up just like any other Singaporean kid except that I was super active. I ran around at the playground a lot; climbing and jumping off structures was second nature to me. I played a lot of basketball and football when I was younger and I guess I wasn't particularly good at any of it until I found gymnastics and Parkour.
As you got older, what else did you get into?
As I got older, I found myself going back to gymnastics and acrobatics and maybe it was because I started coaching as an assistant coach at the age of 15. Ever since I started coaching, there was this awareness that my body is not going to last forever, so I was extra cautious with it.
I spend a lot of my time on bodyweight conditioning, hand balancing, and also strength training these days, but I do occasionally go back to the outdoors to do some simple acrobatics and Parkour. For me, I feel that our body is made to move and mobility is the number one thing that everyone deserves. To be able to experience pain-free living is the simplest form of joy in life.
How does your base of gymnastics help with everything you are doing now?
It probably did benefit me with my current way of training. I might have an advantage when it comes to being upside down or psychomotor skills, and also being able to control certain aerial movements better. It has helped me greatly in terms of general strength and increased aerial awareness. Generally, I would not shy away from any form of physical activity because I just absolutely appreciate moving my body and having fun.
Have you faced any injuries?
Countless! I would say it’s an accumulation of neglected injuries that worsened overtime. I’ve sustained an injury when I was serving National Service as well which required a surgical procedure to get my meniscus fixed on my knee.
But I guess it wasn’t tough for me since I know exactly how to strengthen it with all the necessary exercises that could help to get me back to where I was before. Injuries will make one realise that our body is not meant to last forever. However, we have the privilege of putting in constant work to make sure that it’ll last as long as possible.
You're now a coach in gymnastics. What do you like about this job?
The most enjoyable part of this job is the ability to inspire and educate the younger generation. Of course, I tend to be a little tough on students, but the joy and excitement when they achieve their goals after months of hard work are extremely rewarding.
To attach philosophy in training by portraying through coaching is something that I constantly strive to achieve. Just being able to build values and principles that would guide and help them through obstacles in their life as they grow older is a blessing for me, and I am extremely grateful for anyone that I can inspire or influence in any way.
Conversely, what are some of the challenges?
I think some of the common challenges that I face are questions that I constantly ask myself. I would often find myself pondering whether I am doing enough for my students, and also what could I have done to better inspire them or to push them further than just doing my job.
Every student is unique and they have their strengths and weaknesses, so it is upon me to break it down into detail and assess every root of the problem and how to solve them progressively. I strongly believe anyone can be a coach in fitness or any other sport. But to be able to be a good coach, a good friend, and a listener at the same time to their students, that's something that we don't see every day. So I strive to be someone of greater influence on every student that I've come across.
When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?
There were certainly several events that happened in my life which caused me to feel insecure about myself. I didn't grow up as a cool kid when I was younger, I was scrawny and was constantly compared to others.
Then at one point in my life, I was putting on weight due to overeating and I kind of grew chubby. I had a few relatives that were commenting on my size, but I was young then so I brushed it off. But I went on an extreme dieting phase when I was 16 and all I ate was fruits throughout the day, which caused serious insecurities about my own body. My biggest adversity would be dealing with my body image during that point of time.
But this has also made me realise that life isn't all about looking your best and constantly worrying about things that don't matter. Eat however much you want and be whoever the heck you want to be. Place your happiness first before anything else because no one will. Go at your comfortable pace because everybody is running their own marathon in life.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
The last time that I felt the least confident about myself was probably back in 2018 when I was on an overseas trip. I let myself loose there and ate whatever was in sight. I did not do any sort of physical activity throughout the entirety of the trip and all I did was just stuff food in my face. I ballooned to the heaviest weight I've ever been in my life at nearly 80kg. I thought I would be okay with that but that was when all the insecurities came back.
Now I've learned to manage this much better. I can overeat on any day and not feel bad about myself if I at least do some exercise within the week. Soon I realised that I needed to move to feel good about myself. Whenever I finish exercising, I always feel more comfortable with myself. It has become a coping mechanism and a sanctuary for me.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
I can proudly say that I am satisfied with my body now. No particular reason why I am content with the way I look, just being able to still move and hop around things is a gift in my life that I am genuinely grateful for. Through various experiences in life, I've learned that there are way too many things to worry about in life that require more attention than looking good shirtless. But I will never neglect what my body is telling me. If there is an impending need to address a certain issue that is stopping me from living my best life, I'll get to work immediately.
If there's a need to change your current lifestyle to a more active one to be able to live longer and watch your kid grow up, I'm pretty sure it is a good trade that anyone is willing to take. If being sedentary and inactive is causing health issues to an individual, there is absolutely no reason not to address that. Our body is a temple that we reside in; if we take care of it and just put in some effort, it'll reward us in many different ways.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
Definitely, but I usually brush it off and laugh it off as a joke. I don't usually take compliments well and get uncomfortable because I've always preferred giving them.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
To be more forgiving, to prioritise improving lives, to embrace and live life as if there was no finishing line.