Fit And Fab

Going topless on a no-carbs diet

Mr Liu once did 1,000 pull-ups every week for three months to challenge himself.
Mr Liu once did 1,000 pull-ups every week for three months to challenge himself.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Undergraduate Jax Liu skips carbs if he has to show off his torso at a sales promotion event

Q What is your secret to looking fabulous?

A Consistency. It's important to sweat a little every day, rather than to exercise for a few weeks and then slack off. I think looking good is 30 per cent working out and 70 per cent diet.

Q Was there ever a time when you weren't fit and fab?

A I've always been lean. But I gained 5kg and started having a paunch when I worked part-time at a fast food restaurant to earn pocket money during my Secondary 3 school holidays.

I worked nine hours every day, five days a week. And during the three months that I worked there, I ate lunch, dinner and supper at the restaurant.

My weight was about 60kg then. I lost the extra 5kg gradually after I stopped working at the restaurant because I ate much less fast food.

I played basketball in secondary school but the turning point was when I joined the canoeing team in junior college - the training sessions were very intensive.

We would train four or five times a week and up to 10 times a week for three months before competitions.

I continued exercising regularly after I stopped canoeing because it had become a habit and I enjoyed looking good.

Q What is your diet like?

A I try to have carbohydrates only for breakfast and lunch. If I crave Hokkien mee or fried rice, I'll eat them then.

For dinner, I won't take any carbohydrates. For example, I'll eat a piece of chicken chop with no sauce or chicken skin, but with garden vegetables on the side.

I avoid sugar and oil completely and it is good that I don't have a sweet tooth. I also go on a no-carbs diet for a month - although it's not healthy - to look good for sales promotion events that require me to go topless.

  • Bio Box


    Age: 23

    Height: 1.73m

    Weight: 60kg

    Blessed with a lean physique during his childhood, Mr Liu had a rude shock when he put on 5kg after working long hours at a fast food restaurant when he was 15.

    It spurred him to eat better and exercise regularly.

    The second-year Business Administration student at the National University of Singapore is on a seven-month internship, part of his obligations as a Singapore National Cooperative Federation scholar.

    He is helping the NorthLight School Cooperative increase its shop presence and branding. The school was set up about 10 years ago for students who failed the Primary School Leaving Examination.

    Mr Liu is the only child of a 53-year-old retired graphic engineer and a 46-year-old nurse. His fitness regimen has influenced his parents to eat healthier and also got his mother to start jogging.

Q What are your indulgences?

A After a month of no carbs, I'll eat whatever I want to eat in the next one or two days... food like burgers, pizza, ramen and fried rice.

Q How do you maintain an active lifestyle despite your busy schedule?

A I plan my schedule every week, right down to what exercises I'll do in the gym. I start my day around 9am and attend lessons until 4pm. Then I give tuition until 6pm.

After dinner, I finish my homework and scholarship-related work and go to the gym at 9pm. I think it's all about the effectiveness and efficiency of your planning.

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

A I'm hyper-active by nature and if I don't work out, I'll feel lethargic. It's also really good to take a break from my hectic schedule so that I don't feel stressed out.

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

A I once did 1,000 pull-ups every week for three months in junior college, to challenge myself as well as to prepare for the Division A Inter-School Canoeing Championships.

Team morale was very high because we were the defending champion and my coach had jokingly asked us to do 1,000 pull-ups every day for one year.

That was too hard, so I did 1,000 pull-ups every week instead, until the day of the competition.

Q How has your active lifestyle influenced your family?

A My mother started jogging twice a week around the time I started exercising regularly in Secondary 3. I think that seeing the way my body had changed motivated her.

Q What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your body?

A My favourite part is my chest because if you have a nice chest, you'll look good in anything you wear. Least favourite has to be the love handles.

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

A Relationships with family and friends, wealth and laughter.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery?

A I don't think a guy should anchor his self-esteem on his looks. It's more important to focus on your contributions and the impact you have on people close to you.

Q Do you think you're sexy?

A No, I think that's quite corny. I'd rather describe myself as fit, active and energetic.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2016, with the headline 'Going topless on a no-carbs diet'. Print Edition | Subscribe