Singapore Body Transformation: How Dragon Boat Training Got This Singaporean Buff!

  • This guy's physique transformed after being inspired by dragon boaters
    1 / 9 This guy's physique transformed after being inspired by dragon boaters



    Jeremy Lim (@jeremy1im) didn’t pay much attention to fitness when he was younger, but seeing his peers getting fitter and stronger from various sports CCAs made him feel that he was lagging behind.

    After seeing the dragon boaters in poly, Jeremy was inspired to join the sport which led to him working out seriously; something he has been doing for nearly 10 years. This has resulted in a transformed body and a new perspective on health and fitness.

    Related: Train Like A Dragon Boater

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  • How did you get into fitness and how long have you been working out?
    2 / 9 How did you get into fitness and how long have you been working out?

    It started when I was 16. I was under the influence of my friends who were in sports CCAs like basketball and floorball, I felt I was lacking behind them in terms of fitness and I thought of working out on my own after ‘O’ levels. I began stuffing as many textbooks as I could into my backpack and started doing bicep curls with it at home, doing basic exercises like push-ups and a hundred sit-ups every night without fail just before bed.

    Going into poly, I became more self-conscious as to how skinny I was after seeing how huge the dragon boaters were in school. I got motivated to join dragon boat, and it was from there that I picked up their training regimes and weightlifting to put on some size. Believing that if I trained more frequently and harder, I would grow more as I didn’t want to get left behind among the other newcomers.

    So over the weekends I would work out at the gym on my own and apply the same workout regimes, and worked a lot on my arms thinking that was the way to grow to have big arms like my seniors. Of course, with adequate rests and increasing my calorie intake, I saw the progress I was making. I was even more motivated to stay on track

    As I got out of the army, even though I stopped dragon boating, my passion for working out didn’t stop. I felt I could improve on the overall proportions of my body in terms of training and dieting. I took a step further and challenged myself to taking part in fitness/physique competitions. It really opened up my eyes to the importance of dieting, and I was more driven to improve ever since.

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  • How's life like showing your fitness life on Instagram?
    3 / 9 How's life like showing your fitness life on Instagram?

    Instagram has been a great platform where I can show the results and the transformations I go through from time to time, almost like a fitness diary. It has allowed me to connect with many other fitness enthusiasts as well, where we can share our different workouts and dieting.

    It isn’t just about showing the results but the progress that we’re going through, and it’s really interesting to learn that there are many methods to training and dieting out there. Learning from different individuals with different body types as to which method is best suited for them.

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  • What kind of posts often get you the most likes?
    4 / 9 What kind of posts often get you the most likes?

    Posting my current physique update allows me to look back at my previous ones which I posted weeks ago or months back, and I’m able to compare the differences I went through in terms of dieting and training with my current condition.

    At times when I travel, I would go to places of interests and I thought I probably wont be back again at the same place that often, so I figured “why not just do a topless shot of my current physique update along with a nice background of the place?” Those end up getting me the most likes as compared to my other IG posts.

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  • Do you get fitness-related questions from your followers?
    5 / 9 Do you get fitness-related questions from your followers?

    A few times I would just get questions as to how do I stay in condition with my abs still being lean even during off season, especially when I’m not prepping for any competitions. I do not get many fitness-related questions from my followers, probably because I haven’t done any workout videos or other than posting the food I eat on IG Story. Rather, I get positive comments and encouragement on my physique posts.

    It is something for me to think about, to work on more videos to share on my IG.

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  • What's your favourite body part to train?
    6 / 9 What's your favourite body part to train?

    My favourite body part to train is my abs. I don’t do any intense exercise for my abs workout; it has a lot to do with the way I breathe. Whether it is in the gym or out of gym, even if it’s just sitting down, I will sometimes contract my abs and maintain the contraction whenever I breathe.

    I’d practice contracting my abs and applying it to simple exercises like sit-ups and leg raises, then get better at it over time. Sometimes I’d even get carried away listening to my Spotify playlist while doing my sit ups that I lost count of how many reps I did.

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  • What's your usual diet like?
    7 / 9 What's your usual diet like?

    Off-season, when I’m not prepping for competition, I keep my calorie consumption to around 3,500 to 4,000 calories per day. I use an app, MyFitnessPal, to track my calories according to the weight of food or per serving. Tracking my calories has allowed me to be more flexible with my diet, allowing me to eat my favourite food like fishball noodles, carrot cake, roti prata and etc. As long as I eat within my desired carbs & fat intake I set for myself and reaching my protein goals for the day.

    During competition season, I would lower my intake of calories to 2,400 calories per day for 2 months before competition. I would even bring along a mini weighing scale when I eat out, so I’m able to weigh my food and log it accordingly into the app. Then, my diet consists of low carbs, high protein and a moderate fat intake. My source of protein comes from chicken, prawns, eggs, salmon.

    I adhere to eating low-glycemic index carbs, like basmati rice, oatmeal or wheat bread. The only supplement I take for my workouts is protein.

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  • How do you stay motivated?
    8 / 9 How do you stay motivated?

    Food is my motivation! I love eating fishball noodles, roti prata, char siew rice and snacking on potato chips. It definitely wasn’t easy at the beginning, the muscle aches and the dieting of chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice. I did not have much knowledge about working out and dieting. But after adapting to the muscle aches and exploring my options to dieting it made me more interested to learn to track my calories so I could eat more and still stay in shape.

    I’d do up a collage once in a while to compare the progress of my physique, of how much I’ve achieved and also as a reminder. Seeing the improvement that I have made only drives me to want to improve more and work on my other weak areas.

    Working out has become a habit and tracking my calories as part of my daily lifestyle. It gives me a peace of mind to eat out and enjoy my favourite food and snacks. It feels weird to not log my food into the MyFitnessPal app without knowing if I am within my intake.

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

    For people who want to get fit, it’s all about taking the first step. It doesn’t have to be immediately stepping into the gym and following what the seasoned gym rats are doing. Starting with the basic exercises at home is enough to set you in the right direction and adopting a positive mentality. Set small goals and achieve them one at a time.

    Start with 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups a day, and increase it by a few reps the next day. Every week, try to set a a new goal after achieving the previous one. Applying this to the gym is the same; for basic exercises like bicep curls, shoulder press or bench press, start with light weights and adopt good form and posture. Watching video tutorials online does help you have a better view of how to perform the exercise.

    It’s better to have controlled movement and having the mind-muscle connection, rather than just swinging the weights and doing heavy weights more than what your body is capable of handling.

    There is nothing wrong with doing light weights and slowly increasing from there. Don’t be afraid you’ll get judged because everyone is at the gym to improve themselves. Don’t be disheartened if after some time, the desired results haven’t been achieved. Different individuals take a different amount of time to achieve their results, because we all have different commitments in life.

    Trust the process and just keep visualising the physique that needs to be achieved. If a better physique is what you’re going for, try following the 70/30 rule (70% diet and 30% training). We are what we eat. Tracking the calories we take is really important like hitting our protein goals for the day so our muscles can repair itself after a good workout.

    We all love food, but we just don’t know how much we should eat sometimes and when to stop. Every diet has different results depending on your body type, and you can try switching up the diet from time to time to shock the metabolism.

    All images from @jeremy1im

    By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer

    Related: Popular Diet Trends: What Nutrition Plan Should You Follow To Be Healthier?

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