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Fit Humans of SG — Lewis Chua

Lewis Chua, more affectionately known as The Buffalo, is both a renowned national powerlifter and the owner of gyms Solitude of Strength and CrossFit Statera. The 25 year old is a competitor in the 105+ kg weight class, and had a hand in establishing Singapore's powerlifting presence on the global map. We spoke to Lewis about opening his gyms, his fitness philosophy and his journey through lifting.

I started off with the Singapore Weightlifting Federation, and along the journey I saw the opportunity to open up a gym. I basically wanted to give a home to all the stranded lifters out there who needed a place for no-nonsense, high-quality training. It took off from there and its now three years on.

Our gym is dysfunctionally organised. It's more of a homely environment that we're trying to cultivate here, and it just works. Everyone here isn't looking for a flashy place with water and towels. You get in, kick up a sweat, and get home.

When it comes to lifting weights, to each his own. Everyone has different goals, and if that's the way you want to look and live life, I'm all for it. There's nothing wrong with wanting to lift weights just to look good. There's even a professional sport for it: Bodybuilding and Aesthetics. It's just a different lifestyle from the one I have.

Powerlifting does not get you really big, really fast. It takes a very long while, and some people actually shrink during powerlifting. Other common misconceptions are that it stunts your growth. It doesn't. You will continue growing. Just give it a go, you're not going to get big overnight, or through the next six weeks. It takes years of dedicated training.

I was quite young when I started off with lifting. I was 13, in high school in New Zealand. I was playing rugby at the time, so weightlifting was a supplementary sport. I got good at it, I got scouted, and I ended up representing the national team over at New Zealand. I came back for National Service, and pretty much followed the national team here. I've lifted for the past seven years with the team here, and am still doing it.

The most eventful competition was the 2014 Commonwealth games. I placed ninth. It was the 20th anniversary of the games, so it was huge. All the retired lifters came back, and it was amazing to see.

The lifts are very technical, so to see myself and others improve by fixing small issues, it really brings out my passion for the sport.

Before a competition, I work on two main exercises, and three supplementary exercises. It could be a snatch and a clean jerk, and some calf raises. I generally train for two to three hours. My coach doesn't need me to adhere to a strict diet, but I just have to watch out for some things that may not allow me to train, like really hot spicy food and fried stuff. I just have to make sure I'm healthy.

I try to take supplements. A lot of them are pretty basic, like multivitamins and whey protein.

I stay motivated by looking forward to travelling. It's the most motivational part of competing for me.

CrossFit Statera and Solitude of Strength are located at 110 Lorong 23 Geylang #07-09, Singapore 388410.

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