Ep 122 – Competing in the CrossFit Games while in Medical School: Singapore’s Fittest Man Ian Wee

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There was, of course, a lot of shock, a lot of happiness, a lot of pride because we all knew that this was the first time that Singapore gets to send athletes to the Games.  Of course, within the box… members were proud, the box owners were very happy.  Outside of the box I received a lot of support from people I don’t know- people overseas via social media, and of course, my family.” – Ian Wee

Ian Wee, the Fittest Man in Singapore, is one of 236 athletes who qualified for the 2019 CrossFit Games by earning a National Champion title in the CrossFit Open.  This feat is all the more impressive when you consider that he’s also in the process of completing medical school, so his time spent training has been quite a bit less than many of his competitors.

A student at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Ian has been participating in CrossFit off and on since 2013.  Over the past six years, he’s taken time away from the sport to focus on medical training and research (he’s published over 50 papers), and to compete as a National Olympic Weightlifter for Team Singapore, where he’s set national records in the snatch and total.

With the announcement of the changes to the 2019 Games selection process, Ian re-committed himself to regular CrossFit training and found ways to squeeze in extra sessions while keeping up with his studies.  His efforts paid off when he finished the Open in first place for his country, securing a berth to his rookie CrossFit Games.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Ian the 2019 CrossFit Games, and it was fun to compare notes on what it’s like to be a medical student while training as an elite athlete.  We talked about his experience representing his country at the Games, how he balances school with training, and what plans he has in store for the future.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Ian’s athletic background and how he made the transition from working out at home to training at an affiliate
  • His experience competing as a National Olympic Weightlifter for Team Singapore
  • His interest in research and some of the studies he’s published
  • Where Ian is at in medical school and how he fits in his CrossFit Games training
  • The factors that led him to pursue a career in medicine
  • Why he’s considering a career in surgery
  • The process for arranging to take time off to attend the Games
  • The support he received from his family, affiliate, and community as he prepared for the Games
  • His CrossFit Games experience
  • The next event on the horizon for Ian
  • The changes Ian made to his training to prepare for the Games
  • His approach to training for the 2020 season
  • Three things Ian does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Ian

You can follow Ian on Instagram and Facebook.

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Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.

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