By Izzat Rashad (16S03C)
The strength and conditioning gym at the EWBIS block is filled to the brim nearly every afternoon with different groups of fitness-oriented Rafflesians. Besides the various sports CCAs utilizing the gym facilities for training purposes, the gym also sees a sizeable number of Rafflesians with different fitness levels, pumping iron and working out together, ranging from the complete gym newbie to the seasoned muscular jock.
Commanding this assortment of students in the gym is the gym instructor, whose role is essentially to oversee the students’ safety and discipline when utilizing the machines and facilities in the gym, as well as to guide and advise students who have questions or difficulty with certain gym exercises. Raffles Press recently conducted a one-time interview with the gym instructor here in Raffles, Mr Jason Lim, to gain insight into the perspective most Rafflesians often overlook, and for those who do not frequent the gym, a perspective they are completely unaware of.
Mr Lim is not just any regular gym instructor plucked from the street. Though he has only been in Raffles for barely 4 months, he has nearly 20 years of experience as a professional health and fitness specialist at the back of his hand. He also complements his certification in fitness training by serving in the executive committee of the Singapore Weightlifting Federation, as well as being the sole Singapore Representative for the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO).
He attributes his undying passion for health and fitness to his younger days, and how he was struggling with severe weight issues back then. With the motivation of his peers and close friends, he began hitting the gym nearly six days a week in order to overcome his weight issues. It was then that he realised that the fitness industry was the perfect match for him, and thereby deciding to pursue a career in this industry.
He spends nearly 30 hours each week at the Raffles gym, followed by around four more hours every day training and advising clients at his very own fitness centre, Active Red Life Centre, which offers fitness and kickboxing classes and training to clients of all levels of fitness. To him, providing a conducive and welcoming environment for both fit and unfit clients in any gym is important since fitness is for everyone and “no one should be afraid to come to the gym just because they are afraid of being judged or made fun of.” He sums it up perfectly, saying that “even the most muscular people start off by being weak”.
During the interview, Mr Lim also had plenty of positive things to share about Rafflesians. Within his four months here, he was able to see how Rafflesians are “responsible, respectful”, and “have initiative and compassion for one another.” Initially, he chose to take up the role of RI gym instructor as he wanted to “better understand the kind of challenges, achievements and successes RI students experience and be a part of their life journey.” Now, he does not regret his decision to work in Raffles, and even looks forward to continue being our instructor as he feels highly motivated every time he sees Rafflesians “overcome numerous physical and mental challenges that they face,” and humbled when he hears Rafflesians “share their successes and achievements” with him.
In addition, he also has some useful advice for us Rafflesians. For those intending to hit the gym after reading this electrifying article, he encourages us to “decide on our true purpose and goals when keeping fit” and to “balance intense fitness and physical training with sufficient rest and nutrition”. He also advises us to “plan, schedule and be consistent” in our academic pursuits, as well as to spend more time with our peers, friends and family.
Here at Press, we would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mr Lim for actively participating in our interview, as well as for the quality service that he has provided to the school gym over the past few months. As fitness enthusiast Shauqat Ali of 16S06M puts it, “he is a knowledgeable, friendly, respectable and approachable gym instructor who makes me look forward to hitting the gym, to release all the stress caused by studying”. Indeed, his ability to be sincere and efficient as a gym instructor only four months into his role, has earned him the admiration and respect of Rafflesians that know him. So for those who do frequent the gym and see him on a regular basis, do smile and thank him for creating a fantastic gym environment for us Rafflesians. For those who don’t, it’s about time you started hitting the gym!
Appreciation Week is a collaboration between students from The Humanz Initiative (THI) and Raffles Press that aims to recognise and appreciate the non-teaching staff members who do a lot that we often don’t value enough. Through our article series featuring individuals or groups around the school, we hope more will be encouraged to show their appreciation for the perhaps less-noticed staff members around the school; though seemingly insignificant to some, they definitely make a significant impact on our school lives.