He stays hip-hop healthy
Local b-boy says breakdancers are the fittest people around
Staying healthy is of utmost importance for a b-boy, or male breakdancer. But not to the extent of hitting the gym or going on extreme diets, said local professional b-boy Sherman Lim.
The 26-year-old is part of b-boy crew Radikal Forze, which organised the annual *SCAPE Radikal Forze Jam 2017 last month.
A home-grown festival, *SCAPE Radikal Forze Jam is currently into its 10th year. A signature event of Recognize! Studios, it has seen some big names in the hip-hop scene tear up the dance floor over the years.
Lim has been breakdancing for 10 years and started competing just two years after he started. He has won over 50 competitions to date, and he recently participated in a couple of battles at *SCAPE Radikal Forze Jam.
Lim, who is 1.73m tall and weighs 75kg, did not really undergo any intensive fitness regimen or diet to prepare for the competitions.
He said: "We try not to have an athlete's mindset because dance is an art form and not purely physical. So we don't want to make it too rigid, even though we still need to take care of our body."
However, for one of his most important competitions, the Freestyle Session World Finals held in the US in 2014, he trained for three months, five hours a day and ate healthily, with no condensed milk throughout.
"I was working out every day, I minimised my partying and made sure there were no distractions," he said.
"But I still had cheat days on Saturdays, when I'd eat anything."
Lim said arm strength is as important as leg strength when it comes to executing those eye-popping moves.
"You have to carry your body in an awkward position, so it is important to do exercises such as crunches, handstands, push-ups and jackknife three times a week after practice," said Lim, who dances every day.
"For warm-ups, you have to stretch your back, neck and every other muscle for about 20 minutes. It's the same for cool-downs."
Rating his fitness 9½ out of 10, Lim proudly declared that breakdancers are the fittest people around.
But he has also sustained his fair share of injuries - a broken toe and finger, a wrist tendon injury and a lower back strain.
Once, he tore his meniscus, the piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between the thigh bone and shin bone. He had to go for physiotherapy and was on crutches for three months.
"After that, I could walk but not squat," he said.
And what is the hardest b-boy move he has had to do?
He said: "Head spins. It's second nature to me now, but I took a good six years to master the technique and find the balance, and suffered from neck strains all the time."
Any tips for budding breakdancers? Train hard and smart, said Lim.
"Have a focused personal session for three hours instead of one that is filled with distractions and lasts up to seven hours.
"They should also religiously do stretching and take note of common injuries that will occur on their knees or wrists.
"Most importantly, they should have enough rest. It's best to have at least six to seven hours of sleep," he said.