Singaporean fitness transformations


While seeing perfectly toned bodies adequately serves as #fitspo, nothing motivates you to get in shape quite like seeing before-and-after cases of people who’ve gone through the real deal.

We delve into the stories of 2 Singaporeans who have successfully gone through astonishing physical transformations the good ol’ fashioned way: a healthy diet, and regular exercise.

Nobody knows the nitty gritty highs and lows better than them, and they’ve got some pearls of wisdom to help whip you in shape too.


Gerald Koh – ultimate fitness and body goals


Image adapted from @geraldbites, before and after

Say hello to Gerald Koh, the man behind one of the most powerful, jaw-dropping before and after photos to have graced the Internet.

Gerald’s epic fitness journey was spurred by the following factors:

  1. He was tired of being tired all the time. Even basic daily tasks like walking up a flight of stairs would give him heart palpitations.
  2. He was learning about the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease – fun fact! Gerald was a med student – and he realised he ticked every single box apart from smoking.
  3. He was the subject of hurtful jeers regarding his appearance from his peers in NS and university.

Well, look at him now!

Image credit: @geraldbites

Once he decided that enough was enough, Gerald dedicated a full day to research. He discovered a basic weight lifting programme which kick-started his transformation from flab to fab, referring to YouTube videos to master proper form and technique. He also read up on healthier eating tips such as the importance of choosing fresh produce as opposed to processed junk, and caloric balance from eating within the recommended caloric intake.

Image credit: @geraldbites

They say the satisfaction of proving your naysayers wrong is a huge motivator. One savage but strangely effective way for Gerald to stick to his new healthy habits: He imagined kicking a hater’s face in order to derive more energy for leg raises. How’s that for turning pain into fuel? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, indeed.

Gerald’s IG feed is chock full of nutritious yet scrumptious looking meals. | Image credit: @geraldbites

The buff lad admits that fitness may be difficult to adopt, but it does not have to be complicated. Acknowledging the existence of fad diets and trendy programmes that are popularised for being “shortcuts”, Gerald firmly believes that as long as one follows the basics of a balanced diet, active lifestyle and sufficient rest, they’re guaranteed to be set on a good path for change.

Image supplied by Gerald Koh

Gerald’s top tip: “Set short-term goals for yourself that are measurable and achievable. If you push yourself to attain something that is just too unrealistic in a given time-frame, it will only leave you disheartened.

Smaller goals will help you gain momentum and will eventually add up to something big, so don’t give up!”


Barbara Chng – bodybuilding champion mum


Barbara Chng is the living, breathing definition of a power momma.

Images supplied by Barbara Chng

Because of pregnancy complications, Barbara was advised to steer clear of strenuous exercise both during and after her pregnancy. She issued herself a challenge to not only bounce back to her prenatal body, but to be stronger and healthier than ever before.

Image supplied by Barbara Chng

Hit with a case of postnatal depression, Barbara discovered that stepping out for a jog around Bedok Reservoir was something that perked up her spirits. It was an immense physical struggle for her at first, fighting to catch every breath with her heart pounding like crazy.

Image credit: @barbarachng

Unfazed, she started jogging 3 times a week and noticed her stamina and endurance gradually on the rise. Barbara began rounding off each run with some bodyweight exercises like lunges, planks, push ups and tricep dips on the park bench, and the rest is history.

She ventured into the big leagues of proper weight lifting at the gym, and that’s also where she met veterans in the fitness scene who coached her on balanced food intake and nutrition.

The gorgeously sculpted Barbara asserts that her main goal behind workout out and eating well is to be strong and healthy for her children. Fat loss is definitely a nifty bonus.

Image credit: @barbarachng

Barbara’s top tips

For fitness: “Start moving! Walk more, climb the stairs, go for a jog, hit the gym. Try out different sports such as badminton, yoga, lifting weights, group classes. Find something that you have fun and enjoy doing alone or with family and friends.”
For a healthy diet: “Watch what you eat. Cook more often. When you cook at home, you know what is going into your food and you won’t be adding things that aren’t good for you. If you have to eat out, choose healthier options such as steamed chicken rice with green veggies, or a grilled chicken salad.
For a strong mindset: “Invest in yourself, health is wealth. We only have one body to live in for the rest of our lives. Treat it right, enjoy the process, be patient and not only will you be stronger and fitter, you will be more alert, energized and productive!


Ways to get fit and healthy in Singapore


Gerald and Barbara’s stories prove that no matter what age, background or current circumstances you’re in, a lifestyle of fitness takes just one small step to kickstart.

From dedicating a day of research to tailoring a workout plan that works for you, to heading out for some fresh air and a quick jog in the park. Start moving to get fit and transform not only your physique, but your entire life as well.


Get fit with the National Steps Challenge™


If you’re seeking a motivational boost, take part in Season 4 of The National Steps Challenge™ and get rewarded for working out! Regardless of your age and lifestyle, stepping up to the challenge will spur you to get moving with tangible incentives like sure-win rewards through a point accumulation system.

Image credit:

For this season, they’ve introduced an added component to simply tracking the number of steps you clock each day. You’ll now get to earn Healthpoints and redeem rewards for the amount of time spent doing moderate to vigorous physical activities (MVPA) as well. Check out our guide to National Steps Challenge™ Season 4. Whether you decide to squeeze a HIIT class into your weekend schedule or opt to walk a couple stops instead of riding the bus, having the handy fitness tracker show how fit you’re getting step by step is an addictive rush in and of itself.

Find out more about National Steps Challenge™ Season 4 here!

This post was brought to you by Health Promotion Board.

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