Singapore sea sports enthusiast used to be all skin and bones

SINGAPORE - What do you do to keep fit?

I head to the gym two or three times a week. I do a mix of heavy weightlifting and cardiovascular exercises. I try to do something different each session, which lasts between one and 1 1/2 hours.

Once or twice a week, I cycle at night along East Coast Park as it helps to take my mind off work. I cover about 15km each time.

Every Saturday and Sunday, I do outrigger canoeing at Tanjong Beach in Sentosa with the Singapore Paddle Club. Depending on which race we are training for, we may paddle between 14 and 35km each time we meet.

Occasionally, I meet friends for a session of squash or badminton.

How has your exercise regimen changed over the years?

Back in high school in Sydney, Australia, I played a lot of racquet sports, such as table tennis, badminton and squash.

In my last year at the University of Technology in Sydney, I picked up outrigger canoeing and continued with it when I moved to Singapore.

Now, I am more likely to just head to the gym as that is the most convenient way to exercise for me. I choose sports and exercise regimens that suit my schedule.

What happens if you miss an exercise session?

Most days, I am mentally drained from work, so I need to do something more physical to get the rest of my body moving.

If I miss an exercise session, I will try to make up for it. For instance, if I do not have time to go to the gym, I will do some floor exercises at home just to work up a sweat and get my heart rate up.

Exercise has definitely become a way of life.

What is your secret to looking fabulous?

Having a positive attitude and staying active makes me feel good about myself, so what others say will not get me down.

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

When I was 16 years old in high school, I was all skin and bones. I was underweight at 52kg, probably because I did a lot of cardiovascular activities and racquet sports, but did not increase my food intake to replenish my energy.

What is your diet like?

My diet is not exactly the healthiest. I neither count my calories nor restrict what I eat.

I do not usually have time for a proper breakfast, so I try to grab a sandwich on the way to work.

For lunch, I will have rice, noodles or fast food, depending on where I am. As an auditor, I often work at my clients' offices and so my lunch location changes all the time.

During the day, I will snack on muesli bars, chocolates and nuts, which provide me with little boosts of energy to keep me going.

Dinner is pretty much the same as lunch, but I have a habit of eating something - usually a peanut butter sandwich, one or two eggs and a bowl of fruit - about half an hour to an hour before going to bed.

I know many people do not eat before they go to bed, but it works for me. I believe I have a high metabolic rate so when I am resting, the supper will fuel my body for recovery, especially on days when I do a lot of exercise.

I do not follow any diet because I believe food is there for us to enjoy, so why restrict yourself?

But having said that, I do try my best to consume a good amount of protein, fruit and vegetables every day.

How has your diet changed?

When I was in university, fast food was my best friend because it was so convenient to get it.

I could go through buckets of fried chicken, burgers and soft drinks.

As I am in a sedentary job now, I have cut down on my intake of fast food and opt for more fruit and vegetables.

What are your indulgences?

I love to indulge in a good steak or sashimi (Japanese-style raw fish slices), or just have a good meal while enjoying the company of my friends. I do this about once or twice a month.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

I am really not a stay-at-home kind of person, so to relax, I will go for a night cycle or a slow run. I try to achieve work-life balance by exercising whenever I can.

Fortunately, my company has organised many sports and wellness activities for us to participate in. For example, I took part in the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge which motivated me to train and get fit.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

I am happy with the way I am now, so I do not see a need for it.

Do you think you are sexy?

With injuries - a broken nose, busted knee and scars on my eyebrow and back - sustained through sports over the years, I am definitely not sexy at all.

joanchew@sph.com.sg

Background story Bio Box

Mr Bryan Li

Age: 26

Height: 1.73m

Weight: 66kg

As an undergraduate in Sydney, Australia, MrLi and his friends watched a video of paddlers in an outrigger canoe rowing in the waters of Hawaii, United States.

It prompted them to train in the sport. They paddle actively now but have not joined a competition together yet.

But Mr Li, a senior audit associate with audit firm Deloitte, has since taken part in more than 15 outrigger races on his own.

The Fijian moved to Singapore for work in December 2010. His parents live in Australia and his 21-year-old sister is studying in China. Last November, in a Singapore Paddle Club team, he completed a 44km race around Hong Kong Island.

Last month, he was one of 50 Deloitte employees in the 3M Step-Up Challenge @ South East. They ran up the stairs in their office building in Shenton Way, to hit a total of 247,440 steps. For every 100 steps, 3M donated a stationery item to a needy pupil in the South East district.


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