SINGAPORE - Having stayed slim most of his life, the senior vice-president and managing director of DHL Express Singapore did not feel a great urge to keep to a healthy lifestyle till he realised he had gained a little weight when he went past 40.
These days, Mr Herbert Vongpusanachai exercises regularly and watches what he eats. "It is important to consciously make time for yourself to exercise with family and friends," he said.
The 48-year-old, a Thai citizen, said the key to exercise is to schedule regular sessions and then set yourself a reachable goal.
"It is also important to find a sport that you enjoy. I love the outdoors. It is an uplifting experience to be able to enjoy the scenery and breeze while exercising," he said.
So he took up cycling. His initial distance was just 5km. Today, his weekly sessions cover 40km.
He moved to Singapore with his wife, who is in her early 40s, and two boys, aged 11 and 14, in 2008 to join DHL Express Singapore as the general manager and is now a Singapore permanent resident. He stands 1.7m tall and weighs 65kg
What do you do to keep fit?
My passion is cycling. My go-to place is East Coast Park. I cycle 40km every weekend. I also do 100 sit-ups at least three times a week.
What is your secret to looking so fabulous?
It depends on how you define "fabulous". I would just say that I have a healthy body mass index for my age and I attribute it to good genes and, perhaps, a conscious effort to watch what I eat.
Besides regular exercise, I keep to three square meals a day. I think it definitely helps that I don't smoke, don't drink too much and I have sufficient sleep. Keep your lifestyle simple and keep it balanced.
Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?
When I was younger, I struggled more with being underweight. My grandfather and my whole family are all quite lean.
My weight started to catch up with me after I reached 40. That's when I began to pay closer attention to the importance of having regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet.
What is your diet like?
My breakfast usually consists of a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of cappuccino.
If I am not meeting customers or going out with the team for lunch, I will go for a simple meal of rice with some meat and vegetables at our cafeteria.
For dinner, I usually eat at home, unless I have a business appointment. I am now on a low-carb diet and I eat a lot of salad and chicken or lean meat.
Of course, every week I will still go for Chinese or Thai food but I am trying to lower my rice intake to keep my sugar and cholesterol levels in check.
What are your indulgences?
Chocolate and ice cream. I also love soft drinks. I have to constantly remind myself to refrain from drinking them every day. I try to drink more plain water or fruit juices during lunch and dinner.
Chocolate is a tough one to fight though. I keep a supply in my home and office.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
It is about making a choice for oneself. When it's time to exercise, I will switch off from work and make time for it.
DHL encourages its staff to have work-life balance as we believe in recharging four types of energy - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. This is essential for staying at your peak performance level.
On Fridays, staff can knock off an hour earlier to spend more time with their families or to pursue personal hobbies.
We also have several hobby clubs, including those for football, cycling, cricket and golf. If my travel schedule allows, I will find time to join the cycling club activities.
What are the three most important things in your life?
Family - I love my wife and children and they are the foundation of my life and success.
Career - I wake up every day with purpose and feel empowered to contribute every day.
Health -- without this, I wouldn't be able to give my best to the two most important things listed above.Would you go for plastic surgery?
No. It's just not for me.
Do you think you're sexy?
That's a question for my wife to answer. Besides, sexiness is in the eyes of the beholder. I believe it is not just about physical beauty, but about the beauty on the inside. It's the whole package that counts.
This article was first published on July 31, 2014.
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