When you think of the ‘dad bod’, Jordan Yeoh’s ripped physique barely comes to mind. The #rippeddaddy has come a long way since his humble beginnings, having appeared on the covers of multiple fitness magazines amassing thousands of followers online.
But the full time dad and trainer assures us that his physique is the result of years of hard work and commitment. After starting his journey at 22 years old, Jordan started focusing a lot of his time and energy into his workouts. “I dare say I am the hardest working person at the gym…I worked really hard because I love what I’m doing,” he added.
Jordan’s attitude towards fitness is beyond appearance -he loves being fit and healthy as it gives him the energy to travel, spend time with his family and live life to its absolute fullest. Read on to learn more about his fitness journey:
FF: At which juncture in your life did you decide to embark on your fitness journey?
Jordan: Since young, I’ve been pretty active. I love doing sports and I remember my dad has this old single dumbbell which I really love playing with.
As I grew up, I avoided the gym because I didn’t have the confidence to go alone. To me, the gym is a scary place. Nothing happened until college at 22 years old. My best friend decided to sign up to a gym club and I said to him, “hey, finally there’s someone to accompany to the gym”. So that’s where I started. This was in 2008.
FF: What goals did you set for yourself, and what did you do to achieve it?
Jordan: At first I wanted to look like this Korean actor. I forgot his name but he was very popular back in around 2004, 2008. He was one of the best Korean actors with a great body, not too huge, not too skinny; Nice chest, abs. My goal back then was to achieve his physique.
So what did I do? I started working really, really hard. I dare say I am the hardest working person at the gym (chuckle) where I spent a lot of time there, going through trial and error and I’m always the last person to leave the gym.
I worked really hard because I love what I’m doing.
FF: What are the main challenges you faced, and how did you overcome it?
Jordan: The biggest challenge I faced was in 2012, when I injured my lower back (L4) as I was squatting too heavily. Back then, my form was not so good and because of my ego, I insisted on adding weights with every set, eventually hurting my lower back.
Getting injured was a huge struggle for me because at that time I was working as a personal trainer. I was managing my Facebook page (since 2012) where I blogged everyday about my fitness journey, motivating people and everything I did involved some form of fitness.
But then when I got injured, everything just went on a downward spiral. Same goes with finances because of the injury, I couldn’t really walk, exercise, perform and I had to cancel a lot of client appointments. I still remember I had to service my car loan, my own food, supplements, living expenses and stuff. So it was very, very difficult.
How I overcame it was to take a step back, have trust and faith in life. It’s not game over and I figured there must be a more budget way in fitness.
This is a good thing because I realised that I can still achieve and maintain my fitness by adjusting my lifestyle. For example like having home cooked food instead of eating out, opting for economy rice and bringing my own water around instead of ordering beverages outside. I saved a lot of money and it made me realise how much I can actually progress without spending much money as well.
FF: Based on your experience, what advice would you give beginners who are thinking of starting their own fitness journey?
Jordan: Based on my experience, it’s to manage our own self expectations.
A lot of beginners these days have crazy expectations. They want to achieve a physique like mine in less than 3 months. The hard truth is it will never happen because it takes years to get to where I am at. So setting an unrealistic expectation is good in a way because it makes you feel ambitious, but I think it’s extremely hard because 99% of the time, you won’t achieve my body in just 3 months. That’s the reality.
So let’s say you gain 10kg of muscles in 3 months, but because of your crazy expectations, you’d still think you suck and then you start hating yourself, beating yourself up and you think you’re doing very, very bad. You get demotivated and then you quit.
So to manage expectations for beginners, it takes months, and months, and years to build your body. It’s like growing a tree. You can’t rush it. You have to nurture a seed at first, and then the little plant, slowly a baby tree and so on. It takes a lot of patience and consistent nurturing. Don’t think of 2 years in the future, don’t think of achieving my body, just focus on every training session (nurturing). This is how you grow over time.
Time flies. Without realising it, it’s already 2 years and when you look back at when you first started, you’d go like “woah, last time I was skinny and now I’ve grown”.
FF: What are some of your favourite ways to workout?
Jordan: I love working out shirtless under the sun outdoors. It feels so damn good! It’s not because I’m able to show my body to the entire world.
When you work out without clothes, with just your naked upper body, and you do burpees, jumps and push ups, your sweat just drips and goes all around without any clothing limiting your movement. It feels absolutely phenomenal and freeing!
The sun, the ground and your own sweat. This is the perfect combination because this is where you get the real enjoyment of working out shirtless. Not many people will understand this feeling and those who do are probably the ones posting their shirtless photos on Instagram. I’m not sure about women but hey this is me.
FF: How do you maintain a balanced diet? Any tips to share?
Jordan: My diet is always 60% of very healthy food like chicken breast, salad, potatoes, while the other 40% is not so healthy food like fried chicken, salad dressing. At the end of the day, whatever I eat, I consume within the calorie intake my body needs.
I don’t over eat unless it’s on my cheat day which is once a week and its fine because overall, it’s still in balance. My tip to share is that it’s great to go hardcore on dieting at first but over time you want to balance it out between good food and “bad” food.
“Bad” food is not really bad. It gives us a variety, the “spice” of life because we all have different taste buds. It’s okay to have 1 to 2 cheat meals, just remember to get back on track and come back strong. This is how you want to make keep to a diet sustainable long term.
FF: What has been the best part about getting fit?
Jordan: The best part about getting fit is being able to see muscles you haven’t seen before reveal itself. For example, when I got down below 10% body fat, I didn’t realise there were muscles beside my diaphragm (which is the serratus anterior muscle). I remember I was like “what the heck is this meat popping out that I didn’t even know such muscle exist in my body? lol”
Another one is definitely my lower abs. I was amazed that my 7th pack exists. That was the fun part.
The best part goes beyond just the appearance. It’s being fit enough to cruise around and witness beautiful places. Just think about it: when you’re fit, you can really travel with your own feet.
Almost every country I go to, I like to take a run around the neighbourhood. It makes me feel grounded as I engage and interact with the local environment and when you’re fit, you can take up various activities and sports like hiking, climbing to the peak of a mountain, snowboarding, diving, you can do so much more in life.
And this is the best part. Living life at its fullest.
Join Jordan Yeoh for a fat-blasting workout at the Main Stage, or catch him LIVE at the Transformation Panel at FitnessFest 2019!