Home Physiological Interviews Bodybuilding Singapore Interview – Adrian Tan

Bodybuilding Singapore Interview – Adrian Tan


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Name: Adrian Tan

Height: 173cm

Age as of 2015: 30’s

Weight OFF-season: 90kg

Competition weight: 84kg

Years of Training: 20

Occupation: Personal trainer and Director of Ch’I Fitness


Bodybuilding Singapore has the distinct pleasure of interviewing Adrian Tan.

The veteran bodybuilder needs no introduction; his name regionally is synonymously related to fitness and health.

The two-time Mr Singapore who has been in the bodybuilding scene for a good two decades is still spreading the word of fitness, walking the talk, leading by example.

His recent contest success includes placing top six at Mr Olympia Muscle & Fitness Search in 2013, a historic first by a Singaporean.

Contest History:

  • 2x Mr Singapore title in 2006 and 2011.
  • 2014 Muscle Mania Asia Physique Champion.
  • 1997, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2011 Singapore National Bodybuilding Champion
  • Competed in the Olympia Model and Physique search from 2011 to 2014.

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Below is an extract of the interview

Q) What are your current training splits?

I train one body part a day.

Monday: Quads

Tuesday: Shoulders

Wednesday: Back

Thursday: Chest

Friday: Arms

Sunday: Hamstrings

I do touch up on body parts twice a week if I feel they need more growth.

Calves are trained 2 to 3 times a week.

Q) Has your training philosophy changed through the years?

My training philosophy hasn’t changed much. I always believe in heavy training but with lots of reps. This is the secret to gaining mass with shape. Form and execution is always critical for me. If I don’t feel it in the muscles I’m working, I drop the weights down and go lighter and making sure I get a good contraction in the muscle group.

Q) Care to share your maximum benchpress, deadlift and squats?

I have no idea. I don’t do 1RM as it puts me at risk for an injury.

Q) Your top 3 favourite exercise and why?

I love any compound exercise. Top 3 would be deadlifts, squats and rows.

Q) What’s your diet like these days?

My diet is pretty clean and I average 5 to 6 small meals a day. Since I’m not competing, I don’t eat a lot of calories right now. Probably 2000 to 2400 calories a day. I’m not as big as when I am at my peak but that’s not a priority right now. Right now I’m focusing on work, family and keeping myself healthy.

Q) What is your favourite clean meal?

Sashimi and lots of sushi!

Q) What is your favourite cheat meal?

The basics, pizza, burgers. Also depends on my mood for a certain day.

Q) Do you believe in staying lean all year round or are you into bulk/cut?

I believe that we shouldn’t put on too much body fat during the off season. The more fat you put on, the more time you have to spend to get rid of it. Anyway I always eat 95% clean in the off season. The only difference is that the volume of food in the off season is more.

Q) Is there any upcoming contest you’re preparing for?

As of this year there is none as I’m planning for a family but for next year, who knows?

Q) Your thoughts on cardio? How to achieve the right balance with muscle building.

Cardio is the key even in the off season. People must realize that low to medium intensity cardio actually helps in muscle growth and gives you more stamina for your workouts. Most importantly, it keeps you lean as well. Cardio must be used smartly when you are in a cutting phase. You do not want to overdo it and end up losing muscle.

Q) Your delts and calves are awesome. Were they your weak body parts and you worked your ass off or did good genetics helped in your journey. Advice to readers on attaining such boulder shoulders and diamond-shaped calves.

From day 1, I stuck to the basics like lots of dumbbell and barbell presses for shoulders. I do admit that I had a good frame to especially my shoulders. They were also very responsive to weights as opposed to my chest. It took awhile for my chest to catch up.

For calves, I believe in training them first in the workout before your actual workout so you can really blast them. Consistency is also key and I make sure to train them 2 to 3 times a week with high volume and lots of sets. Calves are a stubborn body part and you need to really stimulate them with multiple sessions a week.

Q) What supplements do you use and recommend?

What works for me for the past 15 to 20 years are as follows:



Whey proteins

Pre workout (when I’m exhausted)

Multi Vitamins

Q) What advice would you give for someone who is new to bodybuilding or physique?

Read up as much as you can about nutrition, training, exercise biomechanics, etc. You need to know every facet of this sport which starts from the spoon. That’s what I did when I started training. I was reading and researching as much as I can on what I can do to be at my best.

Q) At one point in their life, athletes experience stagnation in their progress. Do you have any advice for such person to push through this plateau?

My advice is to have a detailed look into your nutrition and eating habits. I feel that’s one of the main factors we reach a plateau. If you eat the same amount of calories every day, your body will get used to it. So it is important to keep track of your diet.

Q) How do you stay motivated?

Everything I do now is related to fitness, my life, my work. So I guess its easy to stay motivated. There are times where my motivation dips but I will always be back on track in no time.

Q) Aside from bodybuilding and fitness, do you have any other hobbies?

Honestly after devoting myself to full time competition as well as work, I don’t do anything else because of time. But most importantly, I do not want to get injured dwelling in another sport. What I do like to do is watching movies, spending time at home with my wife and my dogs.

Q) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself with a family, hopefully 2 kids and still doing what I love, which is training and promoting the word of fitness.

You can follow Adrian Tan at his Instagram at https://instagram.com/official_adriantan


Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the image.

Photos published courtesy and with permission from Adrian Tan.

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