Picture this: It’s 9am on a Saturday and your man is preparing for a morning workout. Chances are, he simply rolls out of bed, grabs a sports drink and heads out the door – ungroomed, as usual – in an old tee and holey shorts. But not Jason Julius Lim, Richmond Lim and Mohammed Razif.

Meet Singapore’s newest breed of men STORY.jpg
Image: The Straits Times

For starters, their day would have begun an hour earlier with a careful three-step skincare regimen that would put most girls to shame. And leaving the house without styling their manes? Sacrilege!

Jason, 29, is a sports-related business owner, Richmond, 27, is a part-time student and freelance model, and Razif, 27, is a professional parrot trainer. But apart from their disparate occupations, all three boast glowing skin, coiff ed hair, six-pack abs and social media accounts chock-full of half-naked selfies.

Ladies, say hello to Singapore’s newest breed of men: the spornosexual.

THE QUEST FOR PERFECTION

One round of drink orders at our interview was all it took to realise that dedication to diet and exercise is something spornosexuals maintain with a fervour so that their bodies are constantly Photoshop-sleek.

Richmond politely refused my offer to buy him a coffee (“I don’t really drink caffeine; I’m okay with water. I drink six litres a day!”), Razif chose to order his drink at the counter himself (“My order is complicated. I keep my meals clean so I prefer my coffee black – no creamer or sugar.”), and even though Jason got a regular coffee (with sugar, gasp!), he’s meticulous about what he eats – filling up on lean meats, veggies and fruits, and cutting out all carbs after 5pm.

Whether you would call it narcissism or sheer commitment to the cause, all three men admitted that they can’t go more than a day without exercising and candidly agreed that eating a cheat meal like burgers or pizza requires “punishing [themselves] at the gym the next day”.

Unlike Richmond who has been sporty since he was young, Jason and Razif weren’t always gym buffs. 

For self-confessed introvert Razif, discovering fitness was like finding a confidence booster and stress reliever all rolled into one. “I was a skinny, shy kid growing up. But when I began working out after National Service, the compliments started rolling in and I began to feel a lot more confident. Before I knew it, I was hooked,” the singleton said.

Jason, too, wanted to build mass on his skinny frame, and eventually turned his passion for exercise and sports into a professional pursuit. He now runs two sports-based companies, leading free weekly public boot camps and aerobics classes on behalf of the Health Promotion Board.

The men work out six days a week, during which they do everything from crunches to Crossfit. But these aren’t enough, apparently. They admitted to sneaking in short 30-minute sweat sessions even on their “rest” days to get their adrenaline going. Said Razif: “It’s really hard work. But for us, a day without a workout is a day wasted.”

INFLUENCING THEIR PARTNERS

The women who go out with these spornosexuals aren’t spared the lifestyle either – both Richmond and Jason readily admit that they’ve made their other halves fitness converts too. 

Richmond’s dates with his once exercise-averse model girlfriend Sarah are now sports-focused; they often spend time together at the gym, rollerblading or running. Their workouts are featured regularly on his Instagram page and the duo even rock matching exercise gear.

Jason’s wife, 27-year old Limaran, was so motivated by her hubby’s training that she left her consultant job to become a full-time fitness instructor.

Nowadays, they work out constantly, even on holiday. Jason stressed that a hotel with a gym is mandatory, as is the couple’s tradition of visiting a local gym to get a taste of the fitness culture in different countries.

BUT FIRST, LET ME TAKE A SELFIE

So what’s the reward for all those hours of hard work at the gym? Showing off those rock-hard abs.

When it comes to taking a quick selfie (or 10), Jason, Richmond and Razif are decidedly unabashed.

Updated daily, their Instagram and Facebook accounts are swoon-worthy collections of photos of them working out, flexing their muscles, flaunting their bodies or wearing tiny speedos. (Sometimes, you get all of the above in one photo!) It’s no wonder the three men have, between them, over 13,000 Instagram followers who leave comments like “you’re my perfect man”, “oooh sizzling” and “marry me please!”

And it’s not just about having a great body.

All three confess that they take care of their skin by maintaining a daily routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising, and supplementing this with regular facials, sheet masks and trips to the dermatologist. Jason even details his skincare regimen – whether he’s getting aesthetic facial carbon peels and fillers, or eyebrow resurrection procedures – on his popular blog (www. jasonjuliuslim.blogspot.com) and Instagram account. Best part? Social-media fame means he often gets these treatments for free.

“HEY HOTTIE, WANNA HAVE FUN?”

So what’s life like when you’re this sexy? All three admit to getting checked out while they’re out and about, and propositioned – by both genders – on Facebook and Instagram. “Someone sent me a message on Facebook and off ered money to have some ‘fun’ with them,” Richmond recalled with a laugh. “The message was sent to me weekly and the price was raised each time – last I checked, it was $6,000.”

Razif said: “I’d much rather people talk to me in real life. Maybe I look too garang, which is why girls don’t approach me but I wouldn’t mind being picked up – that would be totally sweet!”

VAIN? SO WHAT?

Watching them do pull-ups and crunches on set before the shoot began, I could tell – albeit through glazed eyes – that these guys are at the peak of their fitness game. Even the makeup artist was raving about their glowing skin and Jason’s perfectly tweezed brows.

At the end of the shoot, I asked the guys how they feel when people assume they’re shallow and vain.

“To some, it may seem superfi cial but why should being a ‘manly man’ mean drinking beer and letting yourself go?” Richmond quipped. “I think being called a spornosexual is a compliment.”

It’s a sentiment Jason readily concurred with. “It’s the nonspornosexuals who are missing out, to be honest,” he said. “I look much younger than I am, and I’m constantly pushing myself to be the best I can be – what’s wrong with that?”

MEET THE HUNKS

Richmond Lim .jpg

Richmond Lim, 27 – Part-time student and freelance model

Instagram: @richymond

On alcohol: “I barely ever drink. In fact I call my drinking style the ‘one night stand’. But it’s not what you think – I just stand around with one glass in my hand all night long.”

On his diet: “I did an internship for a year and a half and would pack my own lunch every day.People thought I was antisocial but I’m committed to eating healthy. You just have to hold your ground sometimes.”

On commuting to gym: “My Crossfit gym is on the other side of the island from my home so I leave at 5.30am to make a 7am class. It’s worth it though!”

Jason Julius .jpg
Jason Julius Lim, 29 – Co-owner of sports-focused businesses Team Axis and Brandnewstart SG

Instagram: @jasonjuliuslim

On being called vain: “It’s the nonspornosexuals who are missing out, to be honest. I look much younger than I am, and I’m constantly pushing myself to be the best I can be – what’s wrong with that?”

On his sexy photos: “I don’t bother about what people think. I enjoy it, the compliments don’t hurt and, most importantly, my wife is a fan!”

On inspiring his wife: “She was so motivated by my training that she left her job as a consultant to become a full-time fitness instructor.”

Razif.jpgMohammed Razif, 27 – Parrot Trainer

Instagram: @razpec

On getting compliments: “Growing up, I would shy away from people and the camera, but my new lifestyle helps me feel good – I feel like I’ve earned every compliment.”

On working out: “I don’t think you need fancy equipment to train. I just do simple street circuits like pull-ups and push-ups outdoors. People who complain about needing a gym are just making excuses.”

On taking selfies: “Hey, there’s no shame, man. Wouldn’t you do the same thing if you worked hard to look this good?” 

WATCH THEM LIVE

This story was first published in Her World magazine, January 2015 issue.