It’s been a long while since I was invited back to the industrial estates to conduct my health and fitness talks. And here I am, in this two-part series, yesterday and today, at AusGroup, located at the far far west of Tuas.

As with any other industrial, construction, manufacturing or shipping industries, holding a talk is always challenging for any trainer as you need to code switch between English, Mandarin and dialects sometimes too! Faced with the different nationalities in the room, from our locals to the Malaysians, Indians and Chinese nationals, being able to switch from one tongue to another was indeed fun.

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Health and fitness is for everyone. Regardless of whatever industry you are in, it doesn’t take much to incorporate some form of exercise into your lifestyle. The only question is whether you want to or not. 
 
Wanting to kickstart your healthy lifestyle is not difficult. All you need is half an hour each time for three times a week. Thinking about it, we definitely spend more than hour an hour each time when we watch television or play our computer games. So why not invest this time for exercise as it will bring us lots of benefits, both short and long term?
 
For a start, I teased the group that as the training room is on the 3rd floor, climbing up from the first floor to the third floor is already considered a good form of exercise itself. Remember my earlier blog entry on stair climbing being one of the most effective forms of cardio exercise? If you missed it, click here to read it.

Pick something you enjoy doing. If you hate running because it means drawing the last breath out of you or because you have weak knees, then don’t run. Choose another cardio exercise that you enjoy doing. Try brisk walking, elliptical trainer, swimming or even mall shopping!

Many times in life, it’s about how much we do, it’s about how often we do. Persistence is one of the keys to living a healthy lifestyle. If you are not good at something, the more you do it, the better you will become. Just like training muscles. You may be weak in bicep curls. But if you train the muscle group often enough, your biceps will grow and reward you with popeye arms.
 
I do not know how many hearts and minds were convinced by me today that healthy living is for everyone but for those who participated in the bodyweight exercises during the talk, I know I have succeeded to a certain extent :)

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In a testosterone driven world where the virility of a man is often determined by the size of his chest, number of packs he has on the abs, the boulder like defined shoulders and tree-trunk like thighs, I was invited to attend the Mr Singapore Male Pageant incorporating Mr Singapore Muscle 2011. Prior to arriving, my cousin who happened to be in the mall sms-ed me excitedly to say she saw my photo on the banner. Indeed, this is the huge banner everyone is talking about with my face on it :)

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Absolutely honoured to be featured on the huge banner on stage

Held in the hustle and bustle of the city at Bukit Timah Plaza, 8 young men were competing for several titles up for grabs, one of which was Mr Singapore Muscle 2011. 

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With all 8 hunks before the pageant starts...

As opposed to other pageants held behind closed doors, this was one of the rare few ones held in the full view of the public in the mall’s atrium. Shy to sit and watch from the chairs, spectators took to standing along the railings on the different floors of the malls to get a glimpse of the participants.

If the weather was blistering hot outside, inside it promised to be raining men from the moment the MC kicked off the pageant finals proper.

When one thinks of the word ‘muscle’, what connotations does one associate it with? Huge, chunky muscles ala Arnold Schwarzenegger? Or a lean, toned beach body? As a lifestyle coach, I would advocate the latter. Ask any of my clients and they will tell you they want to look good, ripped and have definition. They do not want to look like Incredible Hulk, stocky nor a bodybuilder. 

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So when the guys hit the stage, one had to bear in mind that this wasn’t a bodybuilding contest and put things in the right context. After all, they were just a bunch of ordinary guys looking for an extraordinary experience of a lifetime. I can surely attest to that, having been a contestant myself too back then…LOL

In all honesty, things were pretty sedate initially because the guys were parading in their jeans and tank-tops in Round 1. They looked no different from what most guys would wear after some months of hard work pumping iron at the gym.

Things only got hotter and the temperature sizzled steadily when we approached Round 2. Now what is a male pageant without getting the guys to take off their shirts and go topless? Like it or not, this has become one of the hallmarks of a male pageant. The other of course was to see the participants in skimpy Speedos, or in this case, swimwear from one of the sponsors. Trust me, it takes a whole load of courage to parade on stage in a skimpy trunk like this. But after you have done this, there are no other challenges in this world you cannot overcome.

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2 of the hot favourites strutting off on stage in skimpy trunks
 
In any competition, including this one, there will be winners and there will be learners. It just boils down to the mindset each participant brings along with him. From the bodies, it was pretty clear who would be the frontrunners for the title of Mr Singapore Muscle. Yes, the beach body types would rule the day. In the same vein, this is also the most popular look now for girls looking for their other halves and what most guys aspire to train towards.

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Chatting with some of the judges before the pageant who asked me for my take on the guys and my personal favourites, I guess we all agreed that the guy with the entire package would stand out ultimately. Not only must he have the body, he must also have the face to match it. Someone joked that if you don’t have the body, you can train for it. But if you don’t have the face, you can’t possibly for extreme cosmetic surgery just to look matinee idol-like. In this materialistic yet cruel world, this cannot be overemphasized. 

As a winner is crowned and the rest fade into obscurity, it dawns upon me that with the flourishing of more such pageants, all title-holders only have one year to make his or her mark and leave an indelible impression before the next successor comes knocking, all eager to take over the reign. Winning is just the first step to the journey waiting to unfold.

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The victorious trio

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With my fellow title-holders...All in the family now

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With all the main title winners, subsidiary award winners, sponsors & judges
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