Making Food, Fitness, and Financial Goals Work Together With Pilates Coach

Health is wealth, but how much are you willing to spend to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle? Welcome to another instalment of #SgFinancePros, a Planner Bee exclusive series where we spotlight Singapore’s finance pros. This is where we take a closer look into the financial worlds of everyday Singaporeans and famous personalities to glean precious money lessons.

In Singapore, the cost of fitness is known to come with a hefty price tag. Think fad diets like your ketogenic diet, or expensive gym memberships. Does keeping healthy really have to be costly? We speak to Daniel Chan, a Pilates teacher at Body Tree Group.

From skinny to fitspo

Fitness is no bed of roses for Daniel. As a child, he was not an active kid. In fact, he was often teased as ‘Mr Stick-Man’ or The Skeleton Man. The turning point came when Daniel decided to start weight training after his GCE ‘O’ Level examinations, hoping to impress his classmates upon his return to school to obtain his results. He then read up on bodybuilding and visited the gym by himself.

Finding confidence through fitness

Looking at Daniel today, you might not have believed that he used to struggle with esteem issues. Due to the frequent teasing by his classmates, he was insecure about his skinny frame. One of the incidents he still remembers is when he failed to lift his dance partner onto his shoulder during a school speech day dance performance, falling in front of the entire school.

A kind neighbour gave Daniel his son’s gym equipment after the son moved overseas to study and work, and the rest is history. After years of weight training, Daniel switched to pilates in 2000 to resolve immobility issues caused by weightlifting, which resulted in many imbalances and injuries. He later progressed to gymnastic strength training in March 2014.

Carving a career from his passion

Getting into gymnastic strength training for Daniel was entirely by chance. After attending a seminar on the training syllabus and exercises based on United States national gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer’s work, Daniel decided to find a gym that teaches gymnastics strength training. However, he was not able to find any, and decided to start one himself.

Many adults often make the mistake of skipping prior conditioning or training, jumping directly into high level calisthenics or adult gymnastics. This eventually results in injuries including shoulder impingement and tendinitis. This is where gymnastic strength training comes into play, helping to build amazing mobility, insane strength, and strong connective tissue (bones, joints, stabiliser muscles, ligaments) for fitness or movement. In fact, athletes can also make use of gymnastic strength training to enhance their flexibility, power, agility, and sports performance.

Daniel’s family members treat him as their “sinseh” or physical therapist. If a family member complains of an ache or pain, Daniel will assess them and suggest exercises for them to do.

Maintaining a balanced lifestyle today

Keeping an active lifestyle is important to Daniel. To maintain his buff body, this is what he adheres to:

Cycle home from workThrice a week
Weight resistance, pilates, bodyweight training, or handstands at homeTwice a week
Run about 5kmOnce a week

Fitness and nutrition myths debunked

Does being a fitspo influencer mean that Daniel is not able to enjoy his food? On the contrary, Daniel shares that he can eat almost anything, but tries to avoid food that is too oily, has too many carbohydrates, or lacks protein.

Weekdays are his healthy diet days, where he would choose either salad or noodles with meat, or chicken rice with extra meat – as long as there is protein in his meal.

Over the weekend, he succumbs to a little guilty pleasure  – bubble tea to complement his cheat meals. In case you’re wondering, he has his bubble tea at 0% sugar!

Making food, fitness, and financial goals work together

Looking at the fabulous Daniel, one could hardly tell he’s pushing 50. Being a year away from turning 50 years old means that he is close to retirement age. As such, his short-term goal is to earn as much money or invest to build sufficient funds to enjoy his retirement.

As someone who “eats the same thing every day”, simple meals at hawkers and food centers have helped him with personal finance. Since he is keeping to his nutritional goal, Daniel keeps to a certain budget which is rather low cost.

Keeping track of his expenses

Daniel tends to pay for most of his expenses with his credit card, or GIRO which is linked to the bank. At the end of every month, he would go to every individual app or bank to check for the amount spent, then total them up manually – which can be a challenging feat.

However, you can save time and money with Singapore’s #1 personal finance app, with Planner Bee helping you to manage your money all in one place.

Read more: Create a Personal Budget You Can Actually Stick To

Healthy eating tips

When we are hungry, we tend to buy more food or eat more. However, Daniel shares that we might actually be dehydrated in such instances. Since the body cannot tell the difference between dehydration and hunger, Daniel recommends drinking a full glass of water before you purchase your food, or having a full glass of water before you consume your food. This helps you avoid overbuying or overeating.

Discover more financial tips from finance pros

Enjoyed our #SGFinancePro series? Catch up on our past instalments with Kel Vin Learns Investing and Founder of 1M65 Movement Loo Cheng Chuan.



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