Gladys Leong, 39, co-owner of Hercules Fitness
Desmond Lee, 34, co-owner of Hercules Fitness
Bodybuilding competitions aren’t really a great place for pickups and meetups. Sure, there’s bulging biceps and six-packs flying off the shelves, but there’s also plenty of dehydrated, tired and oiled up folks tired of hours of posing under bright lights.
But that’s how Desmond met Gladys- she was there to watch as part of her growing interest in fitness, and he was there to prep a client for competition. Somehow in their conversation, he snuck in an offer to coach her for an upcoming fitness pageant. “He helped me with my form and execution- I was really small-sized back then and was worried about getting too much muscle and looking masculine”, Gladys shares with a laugh.
But the trade off was 50-50. “In return, she’d help me out with food prep- she’s a far far better cook than I am, which matters when dieting,” Desmond shares. Now several years later, much has stayed the same, yet much has changed. “I still prep the meals, because he still can’t cook,” laughs Gladys. A new labour of love- their gym, Hercules Fitness– is now part of their daily routine.
Desmond handles more of the technical aspects of running the gym, while she handles marketing and publicity. But the main perk of owning a gym is being able to workout regularly, which is important for Desmond in maintaining a buff bodybuilder’s physique.
But he wasn’t always this ripped- in fact, he was a fat kid! “In fact, I was always in the Trim and Fit Club in primary school!”
It all changed when he was in secondary school, when a female classmate fatshamed him for changing out of his PE attire in the classroom. “Now that we’ve grown up she’s apologized to me, but all thanks to her comments I started lifting my dad’s dumbbells at home,” Desmond reveals.
He took part in his first bodybuilding competition while studying in a polytechnic, and came in first, which motivated him to carry on till today. 12 years on and 20 competitions later, he managed to come in first for his weight category at Musclemania Asia 2018! Glady’s journey has been no less impressive.
“I used to be bulimic, but realized it wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. I started to live healthier, swim, and do some bodyweight training, and after I met Desmond, he taught me how to use weight training to strengthen my body and deal with my body image issues!”
Clearly, the couple that works out together stays together!
Glady’s and Desmond’s Workout
(3 Sets of 10)
Lying Bench Press
This move is really great for fitness Instagram posts. The normal bench press is to lie on the bench with your legs anchored firmly on the ground, scapular retracted with your lower back arched. With this variation you substitute the dumbells with your partner. The difficulty is in the mounting and dismounting. Place your hand on your partners upper back and legs- core strength will be key as they’ll need to straighten their body.
Couples Chin Up
One partner gets on the chin up bar, with legs around the other partner. The benefit is the weaker partner gets some assistance to complete their pull up, and the stronger partner gets a weighted chin-up variation.
Inverted Ab Crunch
One partner stands still, holding on to the thigh of the other, who hangs with legs looped around the neck and does inverted ab crunches.
Text by Kelvin Tan, Editor for Mens Health Singapore. Gladys Leong and Desmond Lee are both wearing Odlo gear and Underarmour shoes. Check the collection out here.
Join The Men’s Health Swolemates Squad!
We’re looking for A Singaporean couple to join our MH #Swolemates team, and be featured in an upcoming issue of Men’s Health! And there’s over $7,500 worth of prizes to be won- all you need to do is take part in our one-minute fitness challenge with your partner!
• Take a video of you and your partner doing as many squats, pushups, lunges, situps or burpees as you can in 1 minute. You can take part in one category or try all five to increase your chances of winning!
• Post the video and your total score (based on the number you and your partner managed to reach in one minute) to your Facebook and Instagram pages by 8 Feb and hashtag your video with #mhswolemates, and tag the Men’s Health page as well. Don’t forget to set your post and profile to public so we can find it!
• The highest scoring pair in each category will be invited to take part in our MH #Swolemates finals showdown at Virgin Active, Raffles Place on 10th Feb 2019! The winning duo will walk away with over $4,000 worth of prizes, as well as the chance to be featured in an upcoming feature of Men’s Health! Single folks, don’t worry- you can still take part with your gym buddies!
Here’s what you could win, apart from bragging rights!