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Fit Humans of SG — Calvin Ding

Calvin Ding, Co-founder of CruCycle, was born in Singapore but spent most of his life abroad in Los Angeles. It was in his time Stateside where Ding cultivated a love for spinning with his family, which eventually turned into a career.

Spinning is often seen as the domain of women, something mass media does little to debunk. Calvin's passion for the exercise thoroughly refutes this presumption, as he believes spinning should be for everyone, and is no less masculine a workout then pumping iron at the gym.

We speak to Calvin about his journey through fitness, and pick his brains about the cultural differences toward keeping fit between Singapore and Los Angeles.

In my younger days, I was really into sports, but that kind of phased out when I moved to America. Spinning was what helped me get back into fitness. Now I also box and hit the gym pretty often.

When my family and I lived in Los Angeles, spinning was an everyday thing for us, so when we came back to Singapore, we wanted to bring something back with us and not lose the fun we had. It just made sense to open a spinning studio here.

When CruCycle first opened, we only had three instructors. My sister and I were two of the three and I was teaching on average two classes a day for seven days a week. I didn't expect to spend that much time being a trainer to begin with, so we were very burnt out. One thing that kept me going was seeing riders really enjoying what I enjoyed. To see them with their eyes closed, singing along, working in a rhythm. That really reminded me why I started doing this in the first place.

What I find gratifying about spinning is how everything is synchronised to the music when you're riding. It builds this camaraderie in class, and it builds a euphoric feeling to be a part of. I don't see it as a workout.

People in America workout at the gym for the full experience, to let loose and clear their minds. In Singapore, people mainly go to the gym to get fit, and they're extremely focused on their physical goals. Singaporeans are very tactical, and they want to get their dollar's worth from the experience, which occasionally makes them forget how to let loose.

To run a studio, it's about creating an easy flow so people don't have any excuses. People know they want to exercise, and that they need to, but they let little things get in the way and make excuses to do it tomorrow. But that tomorrow will never come. It's about dedication and having self-discipline, which many people lack.

People always think spinning is just for women, or that you get really big legs from it. Technically, you'd have to ride five hours a day, every day just to get bigger legs.

I don't eat clean all the time. I think I speak for most guys when I say I love to eat what I want and its tough watching your diet. When I was in training, I shed 15kgs in six to eight weeks, and I had as many cheat meals as I did healthy ones. It's really about finding a balance and the determination you have. If you know you're going to over-indulge, make sure to put in the extra hour at the gym to really pound it out. Eat hard, work out harder.

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