Entrepreneur, athlete, student- Yes, Yes & YES! Calvin is all of the above. Many of you would have known him as the “Milo Boy”, heard of him as the national sprinter who has or seen him on television programs doing us proud with his outstanding performances in the competitions that he has taken part in. Yet, how many of you know that not only is he a national athlete, but also, an entrepreneur and a student too? Besides being a student of NTU’s Sports Science and Management, Calvin is a pretty successful entrepreneur who not only manages 1, but 3 businesses. He is the creative director of Shiok SG and also, the co-owner of both Impressionist and Imagica. One would then wonder, how did he manage to balance out his commitment towards his businesses, studies and sports?
“I guess time management is my strength. I am able to segment my mind in such a way that I can focus on one thing, finish it, before moving on to another. Multitasking would be my added strength. I have to learn to prioritise so that certain things would have more progress than the others. Managing expectations is important too as success does not come overnight.”
Indeed, with good time management and multitasking as his strengths, Calvin is not only able to cope, but also, excel in his various commitments. Despite so, it is hard to deny that he is leading a hectic lifestyle. So, what are his reasons for taking up so many commitments, resulting in him having such a busy lifestyle?
“I always strive to learn more and I guess, I have this hunger for wisdom and knowledge. Most importantly, I let my passion drive.”
For Calvin, his hunger of wisdom and knowledge is also evident in his devotion towards sports as well. Just a year back, Calvin has put on hold his studies in NTU for a year to focus fully on his trainings for the IAAF World Championship 2013 in Moscow and also, this year’s Asian Games. Growing up in a nation where education is an important part in everyone’s lives, one cannot help but ponder how did he feel about taking that one year off from his education and what made him decide to do so.
“Taking that one year off wasn’t easy (for me) because if you look at it from the perspectives of both an employer and a student, there is the issue of opportunity cost. One year can cost you quite a lot in a way. Yet, there was a support system that gave us some allowance during this one year. Also, there was a team that was working together to plan trainings for us. In that one year, I felt that I have greatly increased my quality of life. It helped me to realize that life is not so much about reaching the end of the education and going into the working society. It also allowed me to focus on what I love (track and field) and get to know my strengths and weaknesses better. In fact, it allowed me to focus on other hobbies like music and arts. “
Indeed, taking that one year off from education is an insightful and enriching one for Calvin. Not only did he get to focus on his trainings, he also get to discover more about himself. However, we cannot deny our curiosity with regards to his training regime during that one year, or even, now.
“Usually, we train about 6 days a week. For now, I have to plan my training schedule around the school curriculum and I have planned it in a way that school takes precedence in the morning and trainings are in the evenings. This is different as compared to the double sessions that I used to train for whilst I was training full time. For sprinters, our trainings consist of specific components like short accelerations, speed endurance, strength and power activities, plyometric, core stability and so on. Each training session usually lasts for about 3 hours.”
Despite such a harsh training regime, we all know that without a good and balanced diet, results would not show. So, how is Calvin’s diet like?
“For sprints, it is not a weight class sport so there is not much of a control. Yet, I still do try to eat healthier. The Health Promotion Board’s guidelines are actually good since they guide you on the amount of greens you should take to have a balanced diet. For me, it is not so much about the type of food but rather, the way that it is being prepared. I try to avoid oily fried food and have more steamed dishes instead. Before competition, I usually take in more carbohydrates since they give you a direct energy source. I will take in more proteins after a race as it helps in muscle regeneration.”
Like any of us, Calvin has cravings that he cannot resist too.
“I am more of a beverage person and I am a coffee addict. I usually have at least 1 cup a day and if possible it has to be a good cuppa from a good barista. I am also a dessert- fan, especially brownies and ice-cream. I wouldn’t reject a small piece of brownie (when it is offered to me). I believe in the equation – energy in, energy out. Whenever you take in energy, you need to burn it so that your body would not retain any fatty acids. I believe that eating and exercising is correlated yet, I do not go to the extent of counting calories. At times, I even treat myself to desserts after a race.”
Well, desserts might be one of his motivations to do great for a race. Yet, what are his main motivations for any races?
“For me, there are intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. For intrinsic motivations, it concerns more about myself. I do ask myself why do I want to compete and am I ready to compete. These allow me to do better (during the races). If I feel that I am not prepared well enough (for the races), I will require extrinsic motivations like winning the medal. However, I feel that for any sportsmen, intrinsic motivations are more important.”
With such a strong drive to do well in track and field, it is hard not to wonder who inspires him all along and sparks off that desire in him to want to stand out in the sports industry.
“I have 2 role models. The first one is our sprint king in the 70s- C. Kunalan. I like his charisma. There are little sportsmen who still retain the kind of sporty persona that he still carries up till now. Moreover, he gives back to the society and uses sports as a channel to bring people together. My 2nd role model is the fastest man on Earth- Usain Bolt. He debunks many stereotypes like those who think that tall people cannot run well or that fun- loving people cannot ace in races. He shows us that sports is about enjoyment. He brought the level of play higher but soften the competitive atmosphere (in the sports industry). Moreover, it is not easy to remain on top (amongst the rankings) for 6 years.”
Indeed, like Usain Bolt, Calvin is a fun-loving person too. Besides being a national athlete, if you do follow him on Instagram, you will know that he plays the guitar too. So, what kind of music does he listens to?
“For me, I usually listen to the top 40 or 100 songs so that others can relate too. I am trying to open up to different genres now like jazz. Music plays an important role in my preparation for competitions too. I usually play upbeat songs to get myself ready when the competition is near.”
Besides his interests and talent in music, if you have seen his profile in Shiok.Sg, you would know that Calvin is quite a fashionista too. So, what is his style like?
“I like to have a transition between the sporty and lifestyle look. I guess my personality is more than just a sports-related one. I like a formal professional look and tend to dress up more. Since I am also involved in Impressionists in which we conduct interview courses for others, I believe that image is important. I take grooming as an important part of my life as it speaks about how you perceive yourself and if you do take care of yourself. I like to wear shirts too because it can be either a formal or a casual wear depending on what you match them with.”
Yet, he did not let his other interests steer him away from his passion in sports. This is particularly evident when he shared with us his goals for next year.
“Next year is SEA games that will be held in Singapore. It is iconic as the last time Singapore hosted SEA games was in 1993. Moreover, there is also the new sportshub now. I hope to get some gold medals for Singapore.”
With his undying passion in sports, his resilience and the relay team’s improvement in this year’s Asian Games (finishing off 6th overall and breaking the national record), we can be certain that for next year’s SEA games, our national track and field team will be doing us proud.
To know more about Calvin Kang, follow him on Twitter (@frappecal) , Instagram (@frappecal) and his Facebook profile ( (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calvin-Kang/305099956277184?ref=bookmarks)).
Written by Chelza Chong