Adrian Tan is a household name in the local bodybuilding scene. The two-time Mr. Singapore and Musclemania Asia Pro winner is someone who lives, eats and breathes the fitness lifestyle 24/7, and it isn't hard to see how. He has been a personal trainer for the past 15 years, which is no small feat, and Adrian currently trains clients at UFIT Orchard.
In his personal life, Adrian is also a dedicated father to his new-born baby girl. Being a dad and past 40 hasn't slowed the man down one bit though. Here he is to share his experiences in the fitness and competition industry, as well as how he lives a healthy lifestyle.
Prior to weights and bodybuilding, I used to play different sports like basketball, swimming and such, but I was never really good at it nor did I find it gratifying. When I discovered weight training through some friends, and I saw how quickly their bodies developed after lifting, that's when I really got into it. Everything that revolves around bodybuilding or weight training is dependant on yourself. It's up to you to decide how much you want to eat or train, so you're accountable for everything. That's how you get to see results, and it has kept me going for so long.
I started competing locally when I was 20. I won a couple of shows, and when you win, it becomes kind of addictive. You always want to do better for your next one. I've competed overseas as well, but the main titles I've won would be the Mr. Singapore achievement, which I got twice.
Photo credit: Adrian Tan
Ever since I picked up my first dumbbell, I knew I wanted to be a trainer. I always found it so cool to be a personal trainer, so even though I studied something completely different in school, that was where I found my direction.
My training philosophy is to stimulate the muscle, but not kill yourself trying. Unlike other sports like CrossFit, I like to leave the gym feeling good, and not completely smashed afterwards. I think that's a smarter way to approach training as well.
I train one body part a day for the entire week, and it pretty much stays the same even if I compete. What would really tighten down is the diet and the cardio work I do would increase, so that I can keep burning fat and calories.
I eat clean because in order to be good at what I do, I have to pay attention to my food. I like normal food on occasion, but 99% of my food is clean, and I prep my own food most of the time. It's a lifestyle, I enjoy eating clean. Other foods can taste good, but it'll make you feel horrible later.
The majority of people who want to eat clean think that they need to eat plain chicken breast, brown rice, without sauces or seasoning. The fact of the matter is, you can make healthy options for sauces and seasoning. If it doesn't taste good, you're not going to want to eat it right?
If I'm preparing for competition, I would have six to seven small meals a day, where one or two would be a protein shake. Primarily, my carbs would be before and after training, with more lean protein and vegetables.
I rely on a few key supplements like whey protein isolate, BCAAs, sometimes glutamine. To me, whey protein isolate is absorbed the fastest, so I prefer it. I also take a lot of health supplements like multivitamins and fish oil.
This is my job, so I stay motivated because I have to look the part. At the end of the day, it's about vanity, because I want to look good at my age. As for my clients, I encourage them to take progress pictures. When you start seeing a change in yourself, that's how you get really motivated. It's important that you see results.
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