Building muscles with hard work – Healthy On Deck

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Building muscles with hard work


Q How has your exercise regimen changed over the years?A I used to focus only on muscle groups that I thought would impress people, so I trained justmyupper body and focused heavily on my chest and arms. I did not train my legs and back until I picked up dragonboating in Republic Polytechnic.

I realised there wasmuchmore to training and incorporated different exercises into my workouts as I read online and watched videos.


Since then, I have been training every muscle group– essential for bodybuilding where you need the “total package”.

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

A After I competed in the National Bodybuilding Championship in 2014, I had a slipped disc.

160315 Fitness routine_Brendan_reviseI had to stop training for some time, so all I did at home was play computer games and eat whatever I wanted.

I cut myself some slack as I was about to enlist in national service. My weight shot up to 89kg, which meant that I had gained close to 10kg in a month.

It was a low period for me– mentally and physically– so I told myself I needed to focus on my recovery and resume my usual lifestyle.

Q How has that injury affected you?A I went back to the gym after a month of rest, but avoided exercises that would stress my lower back

. I gradually added more exercises to my workout when I felt stronger. Even up till today, I cannot do certain exercises such as deadlifts or normal barbell squats.

When I do certain rowing movements for my back, I have to find the correct angle so as not risk re-injury and I cannot use heavier weights like I used to.

I’ve seen a specialist and was told that if I injure it badly again, surgery would be needed. I still go for weekly physiotherapy.

Q What is your typical diet like?

A My diet differs on training and non-training days. I always start my day with a protein shake and eggs. On training days, I consume up to 2,400 calories, comprising mainly carbohydrates and protein, and keeping fat low.

On these days, sweet potatoes, chicken fillets, rice cakes, vegetables and cereal would cover themajority ofmymeals.

On non-training days, I consume up to 1,900 calories. I lower my carbohydrates, maintainmyprotein intake but increase my fats. I would have salmon, almonds, peanut butter, vegetablesand eggs.


  • AGE: 21WEIGHT: 74kgHEIGHT: 1.7mMr Ong has his older brother Jonathan, 26, to thank for setting him on the road to fitness.

    It was Jonathan who encouraged him to work out in secondary school, who gave him his first scoop of protein powder and who taught him how to exercise in the gym.

    Two weeks before the National Bodybuilding Championship in 2014, Jonathan signed Brendan up without his knowledge. Brendan had wanted to take part, but did not feel confident enough about his own body. He did Jonathan proud by coming up tops in the Classic Bodybuilding category and taking third spot in the Juniors Under 75kg category.

    Last month, Brendan distinguished himself in two categories at the NABBA WFF Singapore Muscle War, placing second and third.

    At first, he thought it was “weird” to stand onstage posing in a tiny piece of underwear but, later, he found himself enjoying the chance to show off the body he had worked so hard to transform.

    He wants to continue with bodybuilding for as long as he can. The bachelor lives with his parents and brother in western Singapore.

    Joan Chew

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