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Fit Humans of SG — Glenn van der Veen

Glenn van der Veen, manager at the newly opened UFit Orchard, has an extremely diverse sporting and training background prior to arriving in Singapore, from professional soccer to bodybuilding and migrating to India. We spoke to the trainer and physiotherapist about his journey, and how one can stay in shape all year round.

I was a professional soccer player in the Netherlands until I was 23, and after I ended my contract, I went on to Mixed Martial Arts. Following that, I competed in bodybuilding and physique modelling in India, the US, the Netherlands and Singapore.

The human body was a great interest to me when I was playing football, because I saw many players with injuries and issues. When my career was over, I thought of venturing into something else, and that's when I decided on physiotherapy. I did physiotherapy, as well as training professional athletes like football players and fighters.

After I moved to India I started a physiotherapy department that offered personal training. Then I came to Singapore, and started engaging with personal training more and more.

I realised people often neglect their form when it comes to exercises. They force themselves to do an exercise when they really can't due to certain mobility issues. So before you do any exercise, you have to first build your foundation and improve your mobility. This is a problem I see a lot in Asia.

Typically, when I have a new client, I first conduct a body assessment to see where his problem areas are. If he has an issue with his ankle, lets say, I'll start working on that first. There is no one particular exercise to build mobility, because it all depends on the individual.

My training philosophy is always work on your foundation first. You need to move the right way before attempting to do complex exercises. If you move right and have great mobility, you move on to building stability. Having little stability creates a lot of stiffness in a person, so it is best to fix such issues before working on strength. And if you can then make a person stronger, they benefit immensely.

My training routine is very diverse. Some days I work on bodybuilding and powerlifting, and others will be focused on gymnastics and such. I try to change things up and keep it interesting to shock my body into getting the best results. I train five days a week.

I eat clean because I believe having a good physique all year round is to eat clean and be consistent with your food and supplements. I have six meals a day, starting out with oats, raisins and a protein shake in the morning. During the day, I tend to have rice, some chicken or beef, with vegetables and spices. Before I sleep, I take a shake with some fats or an egg.

When I did my first bodybuilding competition, I would count my macros, but I've since stopped. I know my body so well, that all I have to do is look into a mirror to see what I need to change, and adjust my diet accordingly. I measure my portions but not my macros.

When I get up, I take a multivitamin and a whey protein shake. Before training, I take a pre-workout, and during training, some BCAAs.

Pastas are my favourite cheat. But when I cheat, I go for dinner or something instead of making it crazy. I don't like fast food, so I still prefer to go for cheat meals that are still quite clean. Cheating is just something different from what I eat in a week, but I try to be healthy about it because I like it.

I keep myself motivated by trying to always see results. Staying in shape keeps me motivated, it satisfies me. I want to make progressions in strength or at least remain at the same level, and the same goes for my clients. When they see results in body composition and strength, they get motivated.

UFit Orchard is located at 160 Orchard Road, OG Orchard Point #B2-02, Singapore 238842.

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