Mr De Vries isn't that guy who's big on supplements. He doesn't really get it when I asked him what his favorite cheat food and his typical breakfast were. 12 years being a member of the National Bowling team, Personal Trainer and an Olympic Weightlifting Coaching cert ... come on, you cannot blame me for that judgement.
We sat down with Carl at Brekos Holland Village early Saturday morning. Carl was friendly, laid back, and very kindly shared his perspective on health, fitness, performance-training, his pretty awesome life story and his pet-peeves. We were both very happy to finally meet an honest, cool and down-to-earth sports geek like Carl so we took advantage of the situation and two hours of his precious weekend.
If you are ready, here’s an already summarised biography about Carl De Vries.
- 12 Years representing the Nation and doing Singapore proud as a National Bowler
- Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science at Edith Cowan University in Australia
- Certified Olympic Weightlifting Coach Level 1 by Australian Weightlifting Federation
- Currently a Personal Trainer at International Fitness Consultants (IFC)
Being such a key player in the National Bowling Team, what caused you to put a halt to your bowling career to pursue your other dreams?
I spent 12 years in the National Bowling set up. My best performance being Gold at the Asian Championships in Jakarta which I still remember very clearly today. I felt that I under-performed in the 2007 Sea Games in Korat which was to be my last time in National Colours before I lost motivation and interest in the sport. Since then, after my Bachelor's, I have found a way to pay my dues back to the local sporting scene by working with young local athletes. Helping them improve in their sport and perform better, seeing them win and fulfil their goals was my way. Everything is going smoothly and I hope that I can continue to inspire and instil greatness in every client, whether they are competing or not.
Have you got any past injuries from bowling? Chronic and temporary.
Yes I have shoulder problems in my right side. This issue is actually quite a common in many athletes who were trained in some sports which requires repetitive use from either side of their body. I do go for physiotherapy at our Physiotherapy Clinic at HK Street. So far so good! As for freak incident related injuries, I'd rather not mention. It's too technical.
Tell us more about your current work at IFC
IFC, short for International Fitness Consultants, is located at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Havelock Road, while the Physiotherapy Clinic is located at Hong Kong Street near Clarke Quay MRT. I'm proud to say that the company I'm working in accurately represents its name. My colleagues and I work with a broad spectrum of of people from kids to adults, up to Olympic level athletes from all around the world. On top of Personal Training, we also have Clinical Pilates, Sports Massage and Physiotherapy. As you can tell, our gym places a lot of emphasis on mindful training, ensuring that all our clients not only receive the best, tailored training and recovery programmes, but also, receive well-rounded regimes that are effective in attaining both their short and long-term goals.
What's the most common issue with clients today?
Office workers usually get a lot of lower back pains due to their lack of movement. Try to get up and stretch every 2-3 hours, a little bit goes a long way. As for athletes, issues are subjective. Generally, the more common issues would be shoulder and knee pains. Young athletes usually do not have any bodily issues other than poor control of the body and muscular imbalances.
So for women and men specifically, what do you notice mostly?
Sometimes, when they're walking, their knees inadvertently turn inwards. It's not related to genetics but more to the neglect in using their glutes. As for men, some of them have rounded shoulders, probably from too many bench-presses and very little stretching.
What’s something you're particularly sought after at work? There are so many personal trainers out there, so why do clients come to you out of the rest available?
I'm most skilful with sports-related training. I've got a wide range of athletes coming from different sports with us. Shafiq "the Slayer" from Juggernaut (http://juggernautfightclub.com/) was one of our physio clients.
He injured himself during one of his fights and came over to the gym to have us fix him up. On top of Juggernaut, we are also affliated with The British Dragons Singapore Dragon Boat Team, Bedok Kings Rugby Team and the Swim Lab (http://www.theswimlab.com). We also had 10 swimmers from Indonesia with us for 2 years of training. We have build a repertoire of clients and will continue building an even more diverse range of Sports-related training for all our future clients.
That's fantastic! Now you get to experience and nurture so many budding competitors from so many different sports! How about yourself, are there any other qualifications you wish to attain in time?
I'm thinking about getting my Masters in strength and conditioning. I'd probably do part-time. The purpose of getting it is so that I can ensure that I'm coaching with the most up-to-date knowledge and information. It is always important to stay relevant.
I see that some of the trainers/ coaches have their own blog section and so do you.
What can we expect to see from your blog this year?
This year we are looking at a five or six part monthly series on the different ways to enhance sport performance. This will include topics like Recovery, Stretching, Maintaining Health and Preventing Injury, Nutrition, etc. Each topic will be covered by the respective persons specialised in that category. These articles are written by experts of each field so don't miss out on the upcoming premium content!
You can also follow us on our Social Media Outlets;
Could we have some tips and tricks for the aspiring bowlers please?
Uhh, I don't have any tricks... If I have I'm definitely willing to share.
Some of my tips would be:
1. Proper Recovery - Proper Recovery Methods is important and this may include ice baths, compression, stretching and a combination of nutrition to suit your exercise.
2. Working on Muscular Imbalances - Continuously neglecting either side of the body may be harmful in the long run. Don't wait till it happens to you before you see a therapist! If you do find yourself needing more help on this aspect, call me!
3. Adequate Warmup - like all other sports, really.
So do you read Sports Magazines to keep up with these information? When you do, are there any articles amongst in particular which raise your brows/ pisses you off, due to false/ inaccurate information that can mislead the readers and general public?
I don't read sports magazines but I know for sure that all the ab-targeting/ 1 million crunches workout isn't going to get you your 6-packs. There also isn't such a "one month" transformation diet and exercise routine that can help you lose half your body weight to help you become some celebrity look-alike.
And what are your views on Home Exercises like T25, Insanity, etc?
Home Exercises are good for the everyday people who want to get moving and break a sweat but not for people who actually want to get "in-shape” maybe you can make it such that these workouts are good to accompany an existing training program. As I've stressed, adequate warm-up and stretching are very important. How much of time in those programmes have you actively situated to ensure that these two components are completed effectively? What are you truly trying to achieve out of the half hour you've committed? Will doing all that really help you reach your desired goals?
Last but not least, is there one topic that you can go on about all day? Music?
Improving sports from an athlete point of view... coaching methods, training development programmes, management, etc. Also perhaps, how the National Service can be improved to further enhance the fitness of the athletes?
I also like to keep up with interesting Sports News, an example, the recent one on an American Footballer wanting to contribute his brain for researches after he passes. You can look at this act from many perspective;
It can be for new findings to associate the development or damage of the brain due to the sport, or, as a way to raise the issue of the possible dangers that one is putting him/herself into versus the amount they're drawing (salary) as athletes. The emphasis can be later use to better insurance, welfare schemes, etc., who knows.
Carl's energy level doesn't sway one bit throughout the 2 hours and we really hope to see more friendly, passionate and honest sport coaches like him in the community. SportSanity is also extremely honoured to have IFC participate in a monthly series “Prevention & Maintenance – A guide to getting more out of your sport!” for all sports enthusiasts out there!