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Interview Series: Dom Da Costa

Looking at Dominic Da Costa’s Instagram account, you would assume he worked full-time within the fitness industry given his rock-solid abs and muscular strength. While he admittedly feels “off” after several days of not working out, he actually works in a relatively desk-bound job like many other Singaporeans in the CBD.

Having moved from Dubai (where his journey with meal prep companies started) to Singapore three years ago, he found FitThree after settling down… and hasn’t turned back since! Known to FitThree staff as the guy who “needs LOTS of protein”, he shares more about his life, what balance means to him, and how he maintains wellness given the work/travel that he does.

Tell us what you do. What does your daily schedule look like?

I usually wake up around 4.45am and am out the door by about 5.30am by bike to the CBD area. The first part of my day usually involves hitting the gym before I head to the office for the usual 9-5 (or rather 8-6) grind. Nights/Evenings are pretty simple - just refueling and resting before the next day.

I work in the recruitment industry which involves lots of travel and also a desk-bound job (for the most part) so I try to make sure I’m active and get my workout in at the start of the day. In terms of social media, however, I have a health/fitness account that I use to encourage others and to share my workouts amongst other things.

Given all the travelling that you do, how do you stick to a healthy regime surrounding food or fitness?

I consider Singapore my “health hub” - where I’m able to stick to the routine that I’ve become accustomed to after living here for the past 3 years.

With travel, however, it can definitely be tough to squeeze in workouts or make the best choicest nutrition wise. There are some trips where I’ve learnt to “let it go” and simply be present where I’m at for the 2-3 days I’m there, or focus on the work element of the trip. On other trips, however, I make more of an effort to stick to a routine of sorts.

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Has Fitness always been a big part of your life?

For sure! Movement/sports has always been a huge part of my life. In fact, I was in a football club and almost went pro when I was younger.

What does your workout regime look like?

I follow a mix of my own programming and some programming by a CrossFit gym in Hong Kong. Similarly, some of the workouts I do are by myself and others are with some of the other guys from PURE.

I’m pretty intuitive when it comes to exercise - I don’t have a hard/fast rule in terms of which days I work on my arms or legs or chest. Rather, I go with how my body feels and what movements feel good on the day.

I also engage in lots of activities outside of the gym - golf, tennis, and all the cycling to/fro daily.

Is that same intuitive approach one you take with food as well? Or what is your nutritional philosophy?

Before, being surrounded by lots of body builders, I went down the whole macro counting path but that was not something I felt was right for me and/or sustainable. At the same time, it did give me a basic understanding of nutrition and how much my body needs to thrive.

Now, I definitely follow a more intuitive approach; I have a bowl of pasta when I want… but also have the protein when my body craves it. I don’t stick to a diet plan of any sorts; rather, I go with how my body feels and I make sure to fuel it when it needs to the fuel.

This was not an overnight process; it took time to learn.

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What does health mean to you?

  • Sleeping Well: If there is ONE thing I would say is key, it’d have to be sleep. I’ve definitely seen the effects of having too little and it’s not pretty.

  • Eating well: Balance and eating according to your goals
    Keeping Active: The gym is just one avenue, but it’s also about keeping active outside of the gym.

  • Being relatively social: Having healthy relationships and meeting friends over lunch, that sort of thing.

  • Keeping mentally balanced: Being okay with letting things go and recognising you’re human as well!

What is one misconception you feel many have related to nutrition?

That fats make you fat! An avocado and cheeseburger are obviously very different.

Quite often, I also notice that people have a misconception that there is a “right” or “wrong” diet. BUT no food on its own will make you fit or fat. Rather, I reckon it would be more helpful to consider nutrition from a more holistic approach. When deciding on what accounts for a “good” or “bad” diet, there are many factors to take into consideration such as body type, weekly routine, age, sex, exercise levels, stress, and sleep (to name a few). What works for one person probably won’t deliver the same results as it would for someone else.

Another misconception is that the same mentality should be taken in fitness as well as nutrition when it comes to pushing through pain. In fitness, there are times when its okay to ignore the “pain” to get stronger or faster. In terms of nutrition or fueling yourself, however, it is NEVER good to starve yourself. When you feel hungry, your body is telling you it needs food and you’re not getting any stronger by ignoring that “voice”.

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What is one piece of advice you’d given to someone who has just started on their health journey?

Try to start where you are - find something sustainable and stick with it. Don’t overcomplicate things by doing too much research or comparing yourself with others who are probably in a much different place than you. Rather, try to do some really basic stuff; the “big 5” and keeping the food as simple as possible.

Given that you have followers that probably reach out from all over the world, have you seen a difference in the type of questions asked based on geography?

I have definitely noticed a few trends (geographically, culturally, and age-wise) based on the different people that reach out asking for advice and information.

In general, people from the US & Europe seem to be more interested in discussing workout and routines that will help them achieve their goals. In Asia, however, diet and nutrition seems to be more of an area that people reach out in terms of advice and information.

That is one aspect I really enjoy in terms of social media - being able to help people; if people can improve their health and quality of life just by making a few simple but significant changes in their daily routines, that’d be awesome.

What would your last meal be?

English Roast Dinner! The full works: roast beef, gravy, parsnips/carrots, english mustard, yorkshire pudding, etc :)


To find out more about Dom's fitness journey, you can follow him on:

Instagram

NRF

NRF

Nicole is a SGP-American writer passionate about holistic health/wellness. When she isn’t writing, she can be found (attempting to) smash a CrossFit WOD, dancing on a bike, or baking up a storm. 

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