Dragon Boat For Fitness: How Kenneth Lee Used This Sport To Get Fit & Foster A Sense Of Community

  • What's your age and occupation?
    1 / 10 What's your age and occupation?

    I’m Kenneth (age: 31), an Assistant Vice President in DBS Corporate Development and Ecosystems team, where we look after the bank’s Mergers & Acquisitions as well as Ecosystems partnerships.

    Also I’m the captain of DBS Asia Dragons, one of the largest corporate dragon boat teams in Singapore.

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  • How did you get into fitness?
    2 / 10 How did you get into fitness?

    I started swimming since young as I joined my elder brothers in their swim lessons. Subsequently, I picked up lifesaving too as they advanced. In general, I was relatively active and tried a variety of sports through my academic years, for example, basketball (Sec School), volleyball (Junior College) and water polo (University).

    Under a friend’s recommendation, I joined our bank’s dragon boat team when I started work with DBS. We train up to four times a week, in preparation for DBS marina regatta 2019, happening on 1st and 2nd June. Apart from dragon boat, I’m doing CrossFit and running to supplement my gym training.

    Related: What Does CrossFit Athlete Rich Froning AKA ‘Fittest Man In History’ Eat?

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  • How's life like showing your fitness life on Instagram?
    3 / 10 How's life like showing your fitness life on Instagram?

    Public Instagram: @huihaoo

    I don’t think anything has changed and wouldn’t want it to change either. There will always be someone better, fitter or stronger out there so I prefer to stay focus and work on improving myself. Sharing my workouts on Instagram is my way of giving back to the community and I have followers who would share their workouts with me too.

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  • What kind of posts often get you the most likes?
    4 / 10 What kind of posts often get you the most likes?

    My posts are quite random (from scenery to training pictures or even snippets of my life) so I don’t really track the number of likes I get.

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  • Do you get fitness-related questions from your followers?
    5 / 10 Do you get fitness-related questions from your followers?

    There are a couple of followers who will ask for my workout routines and I would gladly share them. I don’t believe in holding back such information, but a caveat is that I’m not professionally trained. Every body is tuned differently so it’s important to test out a few different methods to see what works best for you.

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  • What's your favourite body part to train?
    6 / 10 What's your favourite body part to train?

    I train almost everything and from my injuries, I have learnt not to neglect any body part as overtraining in one area may cause muscle imbalance, which can lead to injury. That’s also why I focus mainly on functional training and overall body conditioning.

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  • What's your usual diet like?
    7 / 10 What's your usual diet like?

    I have no specific diet programme and eat almost everything. It probably helps that I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I won’t get chocolates/dessert cravings or need for any sugary drinks.

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  • How do you stay motivated?
    8 / 10 How do you stay motivated?

    I believe that doing sport is one good form of de-stressing and it helps me to focus better at work too. With DBS Marina Regatta held annually, it gives me a sense of purpose when I train and I feel that this is especially important for working adults like me as it motivates me to keep pushing on to exercise despite hectic workloads.

    Also, there are so many inspiring people in the team that I get to interact with and learn from. For example, Jeffrey is a father of 5 who trains twice as hard as anyone else in the team, and his training mantra is “Just do it, No pain No gain”.

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  • Any tips for people who want to get fit?
    9 / 10 Any tips for people who want to get fit?

    Every second counts. Everyone has the same 24 hours a day, it is about maximizing the time to do what we love and want. If you can only afford 15 minutes a day to exercise, that’s good enough. Being active doesn’t mean it has to be playing sports or hitting the gym, it can be simple things like climbing the stairs home or alighting 2 stops earlier to walk home. Sometimes, this allows you to clear the mind and “enjoy” the moment to rediscover oneself.

    For beginners, the key is to start moving, set realistic goals and work towards them – breakdown those big numbers into something more manageable, for example, instead of targeting 10k steps a day, perhaps aim to walk 3-5 bus stops daily. The sense of satisfaction from achieving those goals will keep you motivated to go on.

    For the more advanced, try working out in a group – the extra motivation from friends sometimes can have a positive rub-on effect to push your limits a little more.

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  • What is DB Hearts and how are you involved in it?
    10 / 10 What is DB Hearts and how are you involved in it?

    DB Hearts is a ground-up initiative that was conceived by a group of dragon boat veterans who desired a more inclusive and diverse community in 2016. DB Hearts now includes a mix of veteran sportspeople, young innovative athletes and seasoned professionals, ensuring fresh approaches and meaning community bonds.

    Our mission is to catalyse true diversity and boundlessness for typically and atypically profiled persons. I was brought up in a close-knit family and I believe that this can be replicated to my community at large where people will look out and take care of each other and there will be a place for everyone.

    My first interaction with DB Hearts came when my coach, Eng Hee, one of the founders, shared his vision with me in 2018 and immediately, I knew this was something that could potentially create that “Kampung spirit”, where people can do their part to create a more inclusive community. That’s when I started to rope in the DBS Foundation team and linked them with DB Hearts to co-organise last year’s DBS Marina Regatta Community Race 2018.

    With the hope that I can potentially do so much more for the society, I took up the offer to join DB Hearts committee this year and be part of the driving force to push for a truly boundless community and having hearts in the right places. Once again, I’m coordinating the efforts for this year’s DBS Marina Regatta Community Race to ensure that we have a smoothly run event and one where all participants can truly enjoy themselves.

    Check Kenneth out at the DBS Marina Regatta (@dbsmarinaregatta) with the @dbsasiadragons.

    All images from Kenneth Lee.

    By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer

    Related: Can “functional strength training” really improve my performance?

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