Singapore boy, 14, develops bodybuilding passion which helps him cope with dyslexia, boosts confidence

By Fran Lu

A 14-year-old boy from Singapore has amazed social media with his impressive physique, a result of two years of bodybuilding.

Athanasius Lee, said he is “addicted” to bodybuilding and trains every day except Sundays. He posts his workout diary on his Instagram account @athylifts, which has 650,000 followers.

His parents, Gladwin and Rachel, said they fully support their dyslexic son’s hobby because it has increased his confidence.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

Lee began weightlifting at home at the age of 12, inspired by young bodybuilding influencers such as Jesse James West.

Lee said they appeared to have fun in their videos, which immediately captivated him. The first time he tried bicep curls while watching a YouTube tutorial, he did it for four hours.

Teenager Lee says his intense workout regime has helped him with his studies. Photo: Instagram

A third-year secondary school student, Lee balances his training schedule with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. He said sticking to his routine has made him more disciplined, which benefits his schoolwork.

“In the first week, I barely saw any progress, but I discovered that, within 30 days, a lot can change,” Lee said, adding that consistency works wonders.

His parents showed support by finding a professional personal coach for their son to check that the training he was doing was suitable for his age.

His mother also designs his daily meals to make sure his food is “clean and healthy” to help with his bodybuilding.

There is a growing trend of male teenagers in Singapore working out.

Data from the National Sports Participation Survey showed that participation in weightlifting and bodybuilding among males aged 13 to 19 reached eight per cent last year, five per cent more than in 2020.

Lee’s coach, Adrian Tan, told Channel News Asia that social media could be a reason youngsters are increasingly aware of how they look, which is driving them to the gym.

The youngster with his coach who says social media influence is driving young men to the gym. Photo: Instagram

Tan added that he ensured Lee was not training too heavily in case he got injured.

Lee said his shape has made him “really proud” adding that his dream is to become a professional bodybuilder.

“A boy who dares to dream. Keep going and he will get very far,” one observer wrote on Instagram.

“It is good to chase your dream when your parents can afford it and will give you their support,” said another.

Other people who read the story took a different view.

“What happened to having fun in childhood? Going out and playing with your friends? It’s not the same when you are older,” one person said.

More from South China Morning Post:

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2024.

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In Aseanplus News

Police use drone, bombs to smoke out gunman in 4-hour standoff
Indian airlines, brokerages affected by global IT outage
Oil tankers catch fire near Singapore and Malaysia
Major tech outage affecting S’pore and global businesses; airports, banks, media services disrupted
Indian soldiers kill two suspected militants in Kashmir
Over 5,000kg of controlled chemicals seized in northern Myanmar
Bangladesh capital bans rallies after government buildings torched
HK actor Nicholas Tse wants to continue 'risking himself' for action films
Coalition of Duterte supporters to hold rally in Manila during Sona
RTM to broadcast King's installation ceremony in Malay and English

Others Also Read