Hunks spice up fitness corner to help youths

It is an ordinary fitness corner near Sembawang Drive.

But the spot has come to life in recent years after a group of hunks started working out there and spicing the scene up, thanks to their brawny frames and masculine grunts.

Balancing, swinging and hanging on the bars, these fitness junkies gather every Friday evening to learn to do all sorts of tricks.

By encouraging each other, this group of about 30, whose ages range from late teens to late 20s, push their fitness capabilities to new heights with their nimble tricks - a sight that causes passers-by to sometimes stop and stare.

This corner has quickly turned into a focal point for camaraderie, not just for nearby residents but even for residents from Kranji and Woodlands.

Now they're featured in a viral video sponsored by POSB.

Hazwan Hilmi Rahmat, 17, an ITE College Central visual effects student, says: "Being able to get together and work out with my pals has become an important part of my life.

"It has kept me busy and taken my mind off other influences that could get me in trouble. I'm always excited to try new things as and when the older guys who coach us learn something new."

This group started four years ago when Mr Firdaus Fidrisha, 26, started working out there with a friend.

"We were both pushing ourselves to the limit doing circuit training," Mr Firdaus says with a broad smile.

"We noticed a guy in workout attire watching us intensely. Then he approached us to ask if it was okay for him to join us in our exercise routine.

"Of course, I told him 'no problem' and not long after that, he brought his friend and the group became bigger and bigger."

He describes how strangers would approach him for tips, such as how to exercise specific parts of the body.

Mr Firdaus decided to invite these newbies to join him and his friends.

"There was one guy who just walked up to me when I was working out with the rest of the group and asked how he could develop a muscular chest," he explains.

He recalls the guy looked "rugged" and he had a gut feeling to invite him to join his group instead of letting him mix with bad company.

He adds: "I also invited him to join us for a post-workout meal and that's when he opened up about his own life - how he couldn't be bothered with school and was feeling aimless about life."

It's something that Mr Firdaus can relate to.

"When I come across these youngsters, I always tap into my own past and remind them that their life doesn't have to be that way," he says.

Mr Firdaus admits that he used to not care much about anything in his life and spent all his time hanging out with friends and playing computer games.

He says he almost wanted to drop out of ITE and do absolutely nothing with his life. Even though he eventually finished his Nitec course, he spent most of the time there playing truant.

"My father used to give me hell when I spent so much time on the computer or when I was out with friends. I treated my house like a hotel," he says regretfully.

Then eight years ago, Mr Firdaus was hit by a vehicle while out cycling one evening. He flew forward but managed to scramble to safety just in time.

"The accident made me see a softer side of my father, compared to the fierce man that I had always feared," he says.

"It was then that I realised I had to change the way I lived my life. With that near death experience in mind, I always try to help other young people who are like what I used to be.

"All they need is realisation before they can change their ways.

"I don't want anybody else to go through what I did and end up wasting more time than I had wasted. Time is so precious and it should never be treated lightly."

After Mr Firdaus finished national service in 2010, he took a Higher Nitec course in electronics at ITE College West. He scored a 3.5 GPA in his course and got accepted into Singapore Polytechnic.

Now in the final year of his electrical and electronic engineering diploma course, Mr Firdaus hopes to follow in his father's footsteps and work as a safety supervisor in the construction industry.

And that's why he takes his weekly Friday evening workouts so seriously - not just for himself but also for the young people he hopes to help.

"The only reason why I put in a lot of effort for this 'community group' is that I've been that kid who didn't care about life or school and I realised you cannot and should not live like that."

This article was first published on Nov 09, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.