Covid-19 was a wake-up call for fitness trainer Jeremy Lee. The realisation that lockdowns could take place prompted him to be more prudent about how he spent his money.
The 37-year-old’s short term financial goal is to save a sum as a reserve for rainy days.
In the long term, he plans to invest the money saved, and has started exploring insurance-linked products, unit trusts and bonds.
Jeremy typically doesn’t monitor his expenses closely.
“Say for example, I spend a little bit more on the weekends, I will tend to not spend too much on weekday lunches. Sometimes I cook if I happen to be at home,” he said.
In keeping with Jeremy’s plan to be more financially prudent, Planner Bee challenged him to spend under S$100 for his meals for three days.
A balanced perspective
When it comes to diet, cheat days are not a problem for Jeremy. He thinks it’s more important to be aware of the bigger picture of how you’re eating and exercising.
“It’s ok to have a cheat meal more than once, as long as you have a well-balanced diet on other days and you also exercise intensively four to six times a week, each time at least about 50 to 60 minutes,” he said.
Practising that balance himself, Jeremy doesn’t count the calories he takes in. He seeks out meals that are high in protein and carbohydrates, especially on the days he trains intensively.
“I need the protein to build muscles after hours of exercise as well as to refuel the amount of energy I will need to sustain a long day of teaching,” he said. Sometimes he ends the day with a protein shake to fulfil his protein requirement.
Instead of tracking calories eaten, Jeremy tracks the calories he burns for every workout using his Apple Watch.
Admittedly in possession of a sweet tooth, Jeremy indulges in bubble tea once or twice a week. His “cheat meals” are usually on Sunday if he doesn’t work out, before he returns to “regular programming and exercising” on Monday.
For his workouts, Jeremy engages in Pilates, high intensity training and weightlifting, each about two to three times a week. A competitive kayaker in junior college and university, he picked up Pilates later on to help address his functional scoliosis and muscle imbalance. He also got into high-intensity interval training as he saw how it shaped his physique.
He went on to become a Pilates and boot camp trainer when he discovered that he was passionate about helping people figure out what worked for their bodies.
Jeremy enjoys being able to bring out the best in his clients and seeing the progress they make on their fitness journeys.
Watch the video below to find out what is the fitness trainer’s go-to milkshake for after workouts, and how he did for the challenge:
After going through the challenge, Jeremy reflected that being easily satisfied with simpler meals helps keep expenses down.
For example, a few slices of bread and coffee are enough for him to kickstart the day.
When he’s at home, cooking fuss-free meals in the air fryer helps him to save money and eat healthily.
Even when he needs to dine out more for lunch and dinner because of his busy work schedule, knowing his budget for each meal would keep his spending on track.
“If I were to keep [those meals] within S$15, I will be able to spend within S$100,” he said.
He also found that getting meals with high protein within the budget was not an issue.
Keeping a healthy perspective – whether of what you eat and spend on, or of your fitness – is what Jeremy espouses.
For those who are looking to work out and keep fit, Jeremy recommends not being hung up on what other people think of your physique. Focus instead on your own fitness journey and understanding of your body.
This challenge was part of Planner Bee’s #SgFitnessPros series, where we challenge savvy fitness pros to eat better and spend better. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more of such videos!
You can also check out our Money Journals series, to catch a glimpse of how everyday Singaporeans and Malaysians are earning, spending and investing.