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Interview Series: Dyl Goddard

Looking at Dylan Goddard, it comes as no surprise that this South African has engaged in fitness for most of his life. From bodybuilding to competitive mountain biking to CrossFit, he's done it all! What many don't know, however, are the various roles he plays on a daily basis: personal trainer, father, gym owner, etc.

This week, we talk to this self-confessed "life-long learner" about how he manages to juggle the various roles he plays while maintaining excellence, his recent shift in priorities, and philosophies he holds to. Read on to find out more!

Tell us about what you do; what does your daily schedule look like?

I’m the head coach and “active” partner of CrossFit Tanjong Pagar. In other words, I co-own the gym, formulate most of the class programming, oversee the day to day running of the business and HR fronts. I also train several personal training clients daily and coach several classes through the week. Recently, I also operated a supplement company with a partner in Singapore but we have since decided to fold the company.

Most days, I wake up between 4-5am (some clients actually want 5am sessions!), have a COLD shower then an absolute must is a cup of “pour over” coffee and a bowl of oatmeal with coconut milk. I usually do 10 minutes of quiet time before I’m off on my One Wheel to work.

Once I get to the box, I coach for about 3-4 hours either in classes or PT before having my second breakfast (I'm absolutely loving the pancakes that Fitthree make!). Following that, I do another 2-3 hours of coaching/admin before engaging in my own training for about 1-2 hours; leaving the gym around 6pm.

I’m usually home around 6-6:30pm. The evening usually consists of a little admin work, hanging out with my new born daughter, and spending time with my wife.


Given the amount of time you spend in the gym, has fitness always been a big part of your life? When did you get started?

Yes, growing up in South Africa, fitness (and movement) was a big part of my life. I played rugby at a high level for quite sometime, competed in Bodybuilding on a provincial level, engaged in a stint of competitive mountain biking, all before moving into CrossFit. CrossFit was something that intrigued me; it was a good mix of cardio and weights which hinged on what I had previously done.

What’s your fitness schedule like now?

There’s definitely been a shift in the last 6-8 months as I took a step back from the competitive CrossFit program I was following. I’m currently taking more of a holistic approach to my training and focusing more on my gymnastics capacity and running; things that I felt were my “weaknesses” in the CrossFit arena.

I was also preparing for the Spartan Sprint race (back at the start of the year) which meant lots of endurance training and runs that made up the bulk of “leg training”.

How is this different from the “competitive CrossFit program” you previously followed?

At present, I’m training about 4-5 times a week in 60-75 minute blocks, have one active recovery day, and one complete rest day. I’ve come to realise that “less is actually more".

This is very different from the past where I would “live to train”; often averaging about 3-4 hours daily. There’s definitely been a shift not just in terms of mindset but also in terms of priorities.


What caused this shift and what is this shift toward?

Well, for a good 3-4 years, I was dealing with a bad back injury but chose to ignore that. Over the past 6-8 months, it just got to the point where I felt my entire body needed a break.

With my wife having a baby and starting a family, it also meant responsibilities aside from being an athlete; to take care of my child, support my wife, etc.

I guess the shift has been more about moving away from focusing on my career as a top athlete and focusing instead on my “career” as a father, as a coach, business owner, and a mentor. I still have as much energy as ever - but that energy has been shifted more to “giving outwards” and investing in the lives of those around me.

How do you manage to find time to balance between running a business, maintaining your current fitness regime, and also investing into the lives of others (as mentioned above)?

I always try to be productive; this has been the case regardless of whether I was competing in CrossFit or not. When I’m not coaching others, I’m listening to podcasts or watching documentaries on how to improve the business; there’s a spirit of lifelong learning that is always burning deep down in my soul.

Thankfully, as I’ve invested in the lives of others, I’ve also been surrounded by many I can learn from; many of my clients are also successful businessmen in their own right and I’m blessed to say I’ve learnt much from them.

This doesn’t even touch on my family and friends; who, I would argue, are the most important ones to “invest” in; they're also definitely the ones who I go to during downtime on weekends etc.

What is your eating philosophy (clean, paleo, etc), how did that come about?

Given all the sports and weightlifting I took part in, I’ve definitely tried everything under the sun; from ketosis to macros to days of chicken and brocolli.

My current philosophy is that of 80/20 - I adhere to a vegetarian diet during the weekdays and eat meat (if I feel like it) during the weekends.

At the same time, everyone is so different and there are many factors that play a part in coming up with a plan that works and helps to achieve one's’ goals - someone who is very active probably needs more carbs than someone who isn’t; someone who sits at a desk all day a might have better success at a concept like intermittent fasting than someone who is training for a marathon, etc.

What does health mean to you?

The overall concept would be to have/find balance in the spheres of:

Moving with intention: making it a point to move 3-4x a week with a mixture of aerobic, strength, and anaerobic exercises.

Sleep: 7-8 hours a night focusing both on quality as well as quantity
Nutrition: 80/20 philosophy with a large part centering around minimally processed food, eating REAL food and staying well hydrated.

Stress reduction: finding something that helps you destress; whether it is a holiday, a long walk; something that detaches you from your day-to-day regime or stressors.

Why is it important to be healthy? What is your WHY?

I’ve always been goal-oriented; so for a long time, my goals were to do well in a competition, to be stronger, or to hit a personal best.

Now, being a father and husband, my main goal is to be the best version of myself and be healthy enough long-term to raise my daughter and family. I want to be able to spend time with my wife and daughter injury-free for as long as possible!


What is one misconception you feel many have towards wellness/ fitness?

That ‘more is better”; this is something so common, especially in the Crossfit community. Often, many think that you have to train more to get results when the reality is that quality is so much more important than quality. I’ve seen this firsthand; having cut down my training but actually still managing to clinch #1 fittest man in Singapore during the recent CrossFit Open.

Also, many have the misconception that high intensity WODs/workouts are always “good” - but this has to be coupled with good recovery, manageable stress levels, and the like.

In fact, cortisol, the stress hormone, when raised due to stress, can actually lead to negative effects such as belly and fat gain if coupled with high intensity exercises. When stress levels are high, it is usually more beneficial to go for something slow and steady like a light jog or something that will calm your central nervous system down.

There’s also a lot of people who ride on “guilt” - “I should workout because I ate this”, “I ate too much", "I feel bad”; these are all emotionally activated circumstance which don't work long-term. Instead, choose a goal, design a plan on how to reach that goal, and get after it!

What advice do you have for someone looking to start their fitness/wellness regime?

The key would be to start slow and steady but also to find something that is sustainable with their lifestyle. For example, I’m currently working with someone who wants to get back into his wellness regime after taking some time off; we’re simply starting with walks 3-4 times a week for two weeks. Once we’ve built momentum on the movement front, we will start dialing in on other spheres such as nutrition, sleep/rest, hydration, etc.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding something that works long-term - 30 day challenges are often not sustainable and getting fit and strong will take at least six months.

What would your last meal be?

It would definitely have to be a USDA grass fed prime rib eye with a side of sweet potato fries and a brownie for dessert!

Want to train with the Dylan & be part of the CFTP family? Check out:
CrossFit Tanjong Pagar

To follow Dyl's fitness & father journey, follow him on:




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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