Fit And Fab

Powerlifter hopes to inspire others

Para-powerlifter Mohamad Ashree, who has polio, hopes to represent Singapore at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Para-powerlifter Mohamad Ashree, who has polio, hopes to represent Singapore at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The fitness buff, who has polio, is a reformed drug offender

Q What is your secret to looking fabulous?

A Eating clean, working out and drinking lots of water. I watch my diet carefully. Before I started para- powerlifting in 2015, I ate a lot of whatever food was available.

Q What is your diet like?

A Breakfast is either wholemeal bread with peanut butter or a bowl of oats and five egg whites. I usually have a fruit snack later.

Lunch at 12.30pm may include grilled chicken breast, stir-fried broccoli and carrots, and brown rice.

Dinner at 4pm can be grilled salmon with stir-fried broccoli and carrots. The final meal of the day, which I take before 8pm, is usually grilled white fish and vegetables.

Q What are your indulgences?

A During off-season, I indulge in a good briyani once in a while.

But I'm not giving myself any cheat days now as I will be taking part in the World Beauty Fashion and Fitness Asia competition on April 30 at Marina Bay Sands.

I will be competing in the transformation category of the fitness pageant, where I hope to inspire others, particularly youths, with my story as a former drug offender who has turned over a new leaf.

Q What's your biggest challenge when it comes to fitness?

A My right leg has been affected by polio since I was young. It hampers my workouts and it can get quite frustrating at times. It also makes running a challenge so I have to run on the elliptical machine.

  • Bio Box

  • MOHAMAD ASHREE

    Age: 48

    Height: 1.75m

    Weight: 62.5kg

    Mr Ashree had polio when he was young and still walks with a limp. He said it has badly affected his self-esteem.

    He fell into the wrong company and was arrested twice for drug-related offences.

    The turning point came when he found work at a gym in 2015. There, he met a para-athlete who introduced him to para-powerlifting and told him about the training available under a Singapore Disability Sports Council programme.

    Mr Ashree, who is single, went on to train with the national para-powerlifting team. Now working as a gym operations assistant, he hopes to represent Singapore at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Q How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?

A I do not train just for competitions. It is part of my lifestyle.

Q What is the most extreme thing you have done in the name of fitness?

A Crossfit. I had never done it before, until I took part in a competition for a charity event recently. There were three rounds and I almost gave up after the first round.

Q How has your active lifestyle influenced the people around you? 

A Most of my friends are in awe as they can't believe a 48-year-old guy can have such a good physique. They have started working out and I have been giving them tips.

Q What are your must-dos before a competition?

A I listen to heavy metal music to calm down.

Q How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia?

A I have just started on my powerlifting journey and I look forward to getting more certificates or tokens from competitions. I have a growing collection of sportswear.

Q Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

A I have always been fit. I started working out regularly when I was a teenager. However, I was a lot smaller and skinnier back then.

I used to do a lot of bodyweight training but I did not have a fixed schedule then. I also enjoyed swimming.

Q What do you do to relax?

A I listen to music and destress by cleaning the house.

Q What are the three most important things in your life?

A My health, my family and my personal development.

Q What's your favourite and least favourite part of your body?

A I like my abs and I'm working to make them more defined. My least favourite are my legs.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery?

A If it's for cosmetic reasons, it is not necessary. But if it were a part of rehabilitation or, in my case, to reconstruct my ankle to reduce the pain, I would go for it.

My right ankle was curved inwards and it was very painful whenever I walked. I had titanium braces inserted in 2014 to realign it. Though I still walk with an obvious limp, there is less pain.

Q Do you think you're sexy? 

A I don't know. I'll let others be the judge of that.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline 'Powerlifter hopes to inspire others'. Print Edition | Subscribe