Fit And Fab

Keeping fit to make an impact on others' lives

Academy educator David William Edwards tells Joan Chew why he exercises daily

Mr David William Edwards started joining endurance sports when he was about 18, by taking part in races that mostly last one hour.
Mr David William Edwards started joining endurance sports when he was about 18, by taking part in races that mostly last one hour.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Q What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

A I am grateful that I get to do what I love. Feeling good is just as, if not more, important as looking good. Also, I am consistent with doing some form of exercise daily, even if it is just a walk and a light stretch.

I try to get ample sleep, although that can be challenging at times.

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

A Certainly, there are times where I am not highly race-fit. However, my weight rarely fluctuates more than a kilogram or two, even during my off-season period.

  • Bio Box


  • Age: 42

  • Weight: 68kg

  • Height: 1.78m

  • Mr Edwards is the head of education at the Gems World Academy (Singapore) in Yishun, which opened last September and offers the International Baccalaureate programme.

    From the age of four to 20, he was into athletics, cricket and golf. He started taking part in one-hour endurance races at 18 and a challenge thrown by a friend spurred him to complete a half Ironman race when he was 22.

    Since then, the Australian has competed in about 40 half Ironman and 19 full Ironman events. In all, he has done about 300 triathlons.

    His 41-year-old wife is the senior vice-president and head of staffing for Asia-Pacific at an international bank.

  • Fitness Routine


  • Morning: 45min of easy running, followed by stretching.

    Afternoon: 3km swim, with a focus on sprints.


  • 90min intensive road cycling session. This often includes six 30sec sprints with 90sec of recovery in between, followed by 20 repetitions of 60sec of hard cycling or 60sec of easy cycling.


  • Morning: 2hr cycling with time trials, which often comprise two repetitions of 20min time trials done at between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of his heart rate.

    Afternoon: 1hr run with four repetitions of 4min runs, done at 10km race pace, with two minutes of recovery in between.


  • Morning: Weights training.

    Afternoon: 3km swim. A typical set includes 25 repetitions of a 100m swim with 15sec of recovery in between.


  • 45min of easy running, followed by stretching.


  • 3hr to 4hr cycling session, with two or three repetitions of 30min time trial efforts, followed by a 30min to 40min run.


  • Morning: 2hr easy bike ride

    Afternoon: 3km swim drills and aerobic sets in the pool; sometimes, open-water swimming for an hour in Sentosa.

Q How did you get involved in endurance races?

A I started joining endurance sports when I was about 18, by taking part in races that mostly last one hour.

At 22, I had a bet with a friend on who could do better in a half Ironman race (1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run), which was the longest race I had undertaken then.

After finishing the race, exhausted but contented, I qualified for a full Ironman event and have been actively participating in those races ever since.

Q Which was your most memorable race?

A It was my first Ironman triathlon in April 1996. My family made a nine-hour drive from Brisbane to New South Wales in Australia to cheer me on at the race. The thought of doing a 3.8km swim, 180.2km bike ride and a 42.2km marathon in one day was incredibly daunting and I was proud that I completed the event.

Q What is your diet like?

A I eat six times a day, comprising a good balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. I don't count my calories closely. A typical breakfast consists of cereal, low-fat milk and toast. A mid-morning snack is normally fruit, nuts and a smoothie, with lunch often being pasta or a salad with chicken.

My afternoon snack is typically something to sustain me for a good training session at night, so a sandwich works well. Dinner is normally a great Asian dish.

Q Has your diet changed over the years?

A I have become more relaxed with my diet as I grew older and certainly since I moved to Singapore, where the food choices are simply too good to pass up!

In my 20s and early 30s, when I was really focused on my sport, I was more cautious about my food intake. That did make me become very lean; however, I am not sure I was truly healthy.

QWhat are your indulgences?

A I love great red wine occasionally, especially when catching up with close friends.

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

A Great friends and family enrich my life. „Second, my health. Being healthy makes me a better husband and friend, a more effective school leader and a more balanced person.

Lastly, my job as an educator. The chance to lead programmes, provide learning opportunities, and being able to witness the impact that these events have on others, makes me proud and excited to be a part of something extraordinary.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery?

A Only if I had a horrific accident.

My lines, wrinkles and little bits of grey are a sign of a life well-lived!

Q Do you think you're sexy?

A I've never been asked this question before. I'm very satisfied with my life and not too caught up with whether I'm sexy or not. I'm fit and healthy, and that's what matters.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Keeping fit to make an impact on others' lives'. Subscribe