Adventure-style gym manager reveals his personal fitness programme

SINGAPORE - In his family of four, Mr Melvin Fu Dunlin has always been the health-conscious one. The 28-year-old persuaded his mother to switch to olive oil last year and took his own salad to family barbecues.

While the bachelor did not use to sport a six-pack, he was always keen on physical activities and would set aside time to exercise even during exam periods.

Last year, he joined an international CrossFit competition in Seoul, Korea.

CrossFit is a United States-based fitness company that advocates a mix of aerobic exercise, body weight exercise, gymnastics and Olympic weight lifting.

He did not win the competition but the experience opened his eyes to the potential of an adventure-style fitness programme in Singapore that moves away from the usual treadmill, cycling and body sculpturing equipment.

He also saw an opportunity to turn his passion for fitness into a career. So last August, he quit his job as a commodities dealer - which he now does on a freelance basis - and started CrossFit Unit Singapore last October.

He weighs 72kg and stands 1.76m tall.

What do you do to keep fit?

As I manage CrossFit, an American-affiliated adventure-style gym, I have the benefit of exercising in the course of my work.

Every day, I do at least one CrossFit exercise programme, which can last for five to 25 minutes. These are short but highly intensive and varied programmes. They include weight-lifting, gymnastics, body weight movement exercises such as running and push-ups, and metabolic conditioning exercises, which are a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

They all help to increase a person's mobility.

I also play football and do other sports, such as cycling, swimming and running, at least once a week to keep my body and mind "free" from the exercise programmes that I follow every day.

What is your secret to looking fabulous?

Looking good is not only about your appearance. It is a state of mind. It is about doing things that you believe in, having fun and having ample rest. These will make you happy and positive.

If you are happy and less stressed, you will also have a better appetite, be more conscious of how much and what you are eating.

The average person can enhance his looks through fashion and grooming. But to really look good and fabulous, you will also need a healthy body.

Has there been a time when you were not fit and fabulous?

Not really. I have always been blessed with relatively good health and always taken great care to maintain it and lead a clean lifestyle, free from cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.

Besides, I love sports and the great outdoors, and have been followng a regimen to stay fit.

The only time I hated looking in the mirror was a year ago when I had a motor accident and needed six stitches on my chin. I was worried I would have an ugly scar but today, it is hardly visible.

What is your diet like?

I follow the Zone Diet, a gluten-free diet that helps increase wellness by reducing cellular inflammation.

Cellular inflammation is the underlying cause of not only weight gain and the acceleration of chronic diseases, but it is also responsible for decreasing physical, emotional and mental performance.

The key thing about this diet is that it lays out a list of beneficial types of food, such as meat, vegetables, nuts and complex carbohydrates. It also states how much of the listed food, which excludes processed food, a person should consume each day.

I get my protein from consuming 500g of lean meat a day and a protein supplement after my workout.

I take a fish oil supplement and I try to consume at least three servings of fibrous fruits a day in addition to complex carbs, such as yam, sweet potato and brown rice.

I get my sugar dosage through complex carbs as a moderate intake of sugar and salt is vital after high caloric output activities.

I try to stay away from soft drinks which have refined sugar and can cause unnecessary increases in blood sugar levels.

Does your diet affect your social life?

No, as I do not avoid processed food totally. I just try to eat less of it. When my family and friends buy processed food to share, I will still eat some of it.

What are your indulgences?

I like good food. If I like something, I can eat it every day. I have been eating steak almost every day for the past two years.

I spend quite a lot on food, but it is worth it as it means I will probably be spending less on my medical bills in the future. I invest in my health.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

I find pleasure in doing what I do. I do not treat it as work. In the next few years, I hope to introduce a total fitness and mental wellness programme which helps individuals tackle stress-related issues at work and strike a work-life balance.

What are the three most important things in your life?

My happiness, my family and my business. It is very important to be happy and positive.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

No. God has blessed me with my looks and I would not want to trade them for anything else.

I am not a celebrity or public figure and, hence, I do not need to impress others with artificial looks. I am happy with what I have. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. As long as I am healthy, I will always feel and look good.

Do you think you are sexy?

To me, feeling sexy is a mental state. It is fuelled by one's imagination. To be really sexy and charming, you need not only a gorgeous body and stunning looks but also a great mind.

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