Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Roy Lim

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Roy Lim is a retired triathlete. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Life is more than the numbers on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore who lead healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Fight Cheryl above Instagram or Facebook!

Name: Roy Lim (@roylimjt)

Year old: 60

Height: 1.86m

Weight: 75kg

Job: Retired

Status: Married

Food: 80% plants, 20% fish and shellfish

Exercise: I follow a triathlon training plan when preparing for an event. In a week, I swim three times, run three times, bike three times, two strength and conditioning sessions and one rest day.

Q: When you were young, did you play sports?

A: I used to play soccer and squash, and was on the national junior squash team when I was 18 or 19 years old. But that was the end of my active life until now.

Roy led an unhealthy lifestyle for most of his working life before turning things around during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roy led an unhealthy lifestyle for most of his working life before turning things around during the COVID-19 pandemic. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

You have had an unhealthy lifestyle for 40 years of your life.

Yes, after completing my military service, I sold insurance for 13 years before moving into corporate and banking. I then held C-Suite roles at four different insurance companies across Asia-Pacific for 17 years.

You could say my life is all about drink, eat, work and repeat. I am a heavy smoker and also drink a lot of alcohol. It’s a very unhealthy lifestyle.

What made you decide to change your life?

I had a fun night on my 57th birthday, the day before the Circuit Breaker period of the pandemic began. The next morning, I woke up feeling very hungover and with a severe headache. I decided enough was enough and I decided to quit my job for good. I tried quitting smoking three or four times before, but it was only temporary.

This time, I tried to stick with it. It also keeps us from going out so I’m not tempted. Sure, I struggled a bit with withdrawal symptoms but I was determined. Two of my friends (the same age as me) died from smoking and drinking; three of my other direct reports, 10 years younger, had heart attacks and strokes.

I am a very goal-oriented type of person and I aim to be in the top 1% in what I do, especially in my career. So when I set my mind to something, I’m sure I will achieve it.

You retire at age 60.

I decided it was time to retire when it was time to stop laughing at my boss’s jokes and when I looked forward to the sun setting on Friday and dreading the sun rising on Monday. I live for passion and purpose. If I don’t feel it anymore, I’ll move on and find new meaning in new things. Life is too short to be unhappy and stressed.

Roy aims to complete the Ironman triathlon in 2020.

Roy aims to complete the Ironman triathlon in 2020. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Why did you decide to take up triathlon, out of all the different sports you could choose from?

During social distancing, I went out to try running after seeing people at the park jogging. I was terrified of running just 1km so I set a goal of completing 5km in 30 minutes. Which I did a few months later. Then I was surfing YouTube and happened to see a video about an Ironman triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike ride, 42.195km run).

I like finding big goals to work towards, so I decided to take up triathlon. I did poorly in all three subjects, so why not? I find the idea of ​​completing new endurance events appealing or exciting. Additionally, the idea of ​​having to split my time between swimming, cycling, and running gives me better function, less injury, and more sustainability because I’m less likely to get bored.

The Ironman dream was created in 2020 and I started training for it, but unfortunately tore my meniscus and had to spend most of 2021 recovering from the injury. I continued my Ironman training in 2022 and since then I have completed Ironman 70.3 Melbourne, a self-organized 60km run for my 60th birthday, Ironman 70.3 Desaru and the PTO Asian Open. I will be attempting my first full distance race at Ironman California in October.

What challenges did you face when you first started triathlon training?

I’m not a natural athlete and I had almost no aerobic base for all three disciplines, so I was really starting from scratch, so there was a very steep learning curve. I had to study and learn how to swim freestyle.

At the same time, I had no Ironman friends and no one to ask for advice. I found a training program online and I thought “no pain, no gain” was the way to go. I would give it my all in every workout and as mentioned above, I ended up tearing the meniscus in my right knee. A typical case is one foot forward, two feet backward.

This set me back but I remained determined to achieve my triathlon goals. I realized I had to find a training program that suited my age and ability level. It took me almost nine months to be able to run again. However, rehabilitation gave me time to retrain and helped me learn about heart rate zones, efficiency, training plans, nutrition and injury mitigation.

I also looked at my diet, reducing my meat consumption and cutting out sugary foods. I became an 80% plant-based, 20% pescatarian, and I noticed I started to feel better with my energy.

Roy believes that miracles happen outside of one's comfort zone.

Roy believes that miracles happen outside of one’s comfort zone. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

How do you feel about your transition?

I am at my healthiest and in the best shape of my life. I believe that miracles happen outside of one’s comfort zone and I also believe in doing what you fear to conquer your fear. I learned how to adjust my ego after being humbled by things I couldn’t do.

I honestly never thought I would have this lifestyle but I feel lonely and at peace doing this.

When do you feel least confident about yourself?

I am naturally confident. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Maybe I feel like everyone is equal. We all have the same 24 hours.

Have you ever struggled with your body?

When I turned 40 and broke up, I had 6 packs and weighed about 62kg. However, over the years, due to eating a lot of sugar from alcohol and bad food, I weighed up to 84kg. I went to the gym out of vanity but not like what I do now.

I’m happy with the progress I’ve made from not smoking, drinking less, participating in triathlons, and not eating meat. I currently weigh 74kg with about 16% body fat.

Have you received any comments about your transformation?

Mainly positive things like your body and fitness that puts many men half your age to shame. Of course, a few thought I was crazy to try Ironman races.

At the end of the day, I am my own competitor and I am passionate about my goals of being healthy and happy.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Roy Lim.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Roy Lim. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

#Singapore #Fitspo #Week #Roy #Lim
Image Source :

Leave a Comment