Sport: Obstacle Course Racing (SPARTAN RACE)
and Martial Arts (Continuous Fighting + Various Martial Arts)
Name: Adrian Li & Kaity Zhu
IG handle: @Vigilantefitnesscouple (Main)
@Vigilantefitnesshk (Client Features)
1. When did you discover that this was your passion and that you were going to pursue it as far as you could?
While we were never natural athletes, we always aspire to become the best we can. We started casually and did an obstacle course for fun, but got hooked! With each small step and achievement, Kaity unexpectedly qualified for the Spartan Race World Championships in 2017! Since then we realized our passion truly brings out the best in us and decided to continue on racing competitively. We eventually turned our passion into work by making official transitions to become coaches in the fitness industry.
2. Who inspire you?
As cheesy as it may sound, we inspire each other and keep each other going. Adrian was the one who pushed Kaity into doing her first fighting tournament. Kaity was the one who pushed Adrian to do a double trifecta worth of races their first year into obstacle course racing. With each person’s achievement, the other pushes them to go further, because we believe in the potential of the other! The best part of us both being coaches is that we can identify and work on one another’s weaknesses while enhancing their strengths :)
3. Have you participated in any major competition / events?
Obstacle Course Race -
Elite Competitors of the Spartan Race North American Championships, Asia Pacific Championships and the Spartan Race World Championships in various years beginning 2017.
Age Group Competitors of the Obstacle Course Race Championships since 2017.
Martial Arts -
Ocean State Grand Nationals 2015, 2018.
4. In your opinion, what was your best performance?
Martial Arts -
Adrian - 2 x National Karate Continuous Fighting Champion 2015, 2018 Kaity - Ocean State Nationals Karate Con[nous Fighting Champion 2018
Kaity - Top 10 Female Elites in East Asia National Series + 1 x Elite Podium (Silver) Adrian - 12th Overall Elite Men in East Asia National Series
5. What’s your training like when training for a competition?
When we enter our On-Season phase, training becomes sports-specific with a focus on sharpening our obstacle techniques involving grip, walls vaulting, fast technical trail running, and swimming. Obstacle efficiency and running speed, along with proper recovery becomes a priority. Off-season, we focus on building our trail run foundation paired with heavy strength training, as these are the basis of our sport.
6. Do you maintain a special diet? If so, what do you eat? Are there cheat days?
Off Season - Everything and anything, we are absolute foodies and enjoy ice cream, burgers, fried chicken and cookies! Of course, this is in moderation and within reason when relative to your activity level. To us, there should be clear ON and OFF modes. We feel that keeping a sparkly clean diet year round can be lack-luster when you end up craving certain foods, and then feeling bad for “breaking code” after eating a normal, moderate amount. Instead of leading a life in full-blown restriction, we find it more mentally healthy to be mindful of what we choose to fuel our body with, and what we eat to enjoy. Food should not come with guilt. That way, during On-Season, we are driven with a strong purpose for this clean diet over a designated period of [me, versus 365 days of the year.
On Season - While we are not the Plain Chicken Breast and Veggies type, we do believe in eating wholesome during On Season. This is to ensure that our body gets the best fuel to healthily perform at peak condition. During this [me, we refrain from overly processed foods that are unnecessarily sugary and fried. We will also replace some of our favourite snacks with healthier variants. As we love cookies, we bake our own “clean” version with oatmeal, honey, dark chocolate, and Nuzest’s plant-based protein powder. These cookies satisfy our cravings while also serving as fuel for long runs and even as a pre-race breakfast. For beverages we drink less of the delicious Hong Kong Milk Tea, and switch to drinking honey, lemon water, Nuzest smoothies and of course plenty of good ol’ water.
7. When not training for a competition, what’s your training like? Do you cross train? What does a typical week look like?
During the offseason we work on building up our base fitness in road running, trail running, all-round strength training and martial arts. Training during this phase is more volume and skill-development focused in order to improve our base fitness so that once on-season comes around, we can sharpen up to levels better than ever before.
8. Do you see yourself as an inspirational role model for aspiring athletes?
We certainly hope so! Neither of us were natural athletes and put in a lot of effort in training, experimenting, and learning from that process. As we refine our methods to training more intelligently we push even harder for every bit of our achievements. We hope to inspire this train hard and smart ethic to our students. All while enjoying the processes without strict dietary limits.
9. Where are your favourite training spots in Singapore and Hong Kong? Why?
While we have races in Singapore and know of its fitness enthusiasm, we have yet to fully explore its training spots! Living in Hong Kong, Happy Valley Sports Ground is one of our favourite training areas for both running and strength. We are also blessed to be surround by nature and love all the mountain trails Hong Kong has to offer. The views never fail to impress and make the long grind runs a lot more enjoyable.
10. Have you always been fit and fab? Was there a time when you were not? Can you tell us more about that?
Both of us used to be much skinnier and lighter and put on a lot of muscle for Spartan. We were both pure distance runners and lacked any upper body strength. Martial Arts helped us develop crucial confidence and strength but it wasn’t until we got serious with Spartan that our fitness made leaps and bounds.
11. If there are readers who would like to get started in your sport, what advice do you have?
The hardest part is leaving your comfort zone and actually giving it a try! For a first race, do it for fun in the open heat with some friends. Enjoy the commadarie and focus on having fun! When things get tough, it isn’t something a group of friends or even a passerby compete tor can’t pull you through. If you have yet to find a group, many local groups have facebook pages that link up those seeking similar endeavor, you just have to take the first steps to your plan for success!
12. Do you have anything else about yourselves that you would like to share with our readers?
While we open train outdoors, we also love staying at home and building Gundam models :) It’s a shared passion of ours to build and customize the figures from one of our favourite shows!