Never judge a book by its cover…and with Mike Singh there is whole bookshelf to choose from. The first line of his Instagram tells us about his triumph as a medalled finalist in the International fitness competition WBFF. With his solid ripped physique this is certainly not hard to believe. That’s also not the only thing stands out about our American Mr Muscle.
It’s the day of the latest Best Gay Life shoot. As soon as this chiselled cheeky Texan cowboy walks into the Lemonade Factory Studio you can’t help but be drawn in by his presence. There is a smile for everyone and a calm confidence that feels good to be around. When he kicks of his cowboy boots (trust me I’ve got shoe envy) revealed are bright yellow and pink cartoon socks. You suddenlyget a feeling that this is a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously…how refreshing! Mike is a passionate teacher with an extremely positive outlook, which has obviously been coloured by his belief system as a Buddhist.Mike is also just a lot of fun to be around and I can’t help but want to find out more.
What does a typical day look like for Mike Singh?
My day starts at 6am as a teacher and ends by 4pm, usually with me jetting off to the tube towards Westfield as I get my daily lift in at Gymbox. Quite routine, but I love it.
So, I’m going for the question that everyone wants me to ask…are you single?
I am definitely single.
Men all over London are now carefully planning how to win over Mike Singh. What will the winning date look like?
It would involve comic books, pizza or fried chicken with fries (chips as you call them here in the UK) and laser tag!
Does a significant other feature in your master plan?
I see marriage in the future for sure with a guy. Just awaiting my equal as I live my best gay life.
We all know dating as a gay man isn’t always easy. Have you had any ‘interesting’ dating experiences?
On one of the first dates I had here in the UK, I was walking through the park with the guy and he reached out and held my hand. That’s not something I would do in conservative Texas, so I was a little nervous. He was like, “Relax. You are in London. No one cares!” And we ended up making out on the grass in the Brixton Park with the sun hitting us. It was a nice experience.
What a welcome to London. You are known on the American fitness circuit, but are relatively new to the UK muscle scene. Has the transition been difficult?
I think the transition has been really easy to be honest. I had a meal prep sponsor in Texas and was a ‘Barbell Apparel’ athlete ambassador, but in London I have had amazing opportunities to network and have received free sports products. My current coach at Gymbox is well known in the UK and working with him will help with entering the fitness market in the UK.
Did you just wake up one day and say I want to be a fitness model? How did it all happen?
I actually got dared into do a men’s physique competition in 2016. I had a college dad bod going on and had never been shirtless in front of anyone before. It was a hectic, but empowering experience for me as I had a really low self-image of myself. Eventually the dynamic nature of prepping for a fitness competition became a way of life.
So as a fitness model you must have a strict diet, give us a bit of insight to your kitchen habits?
I follow a macronutrients diet specific to my height and weight. For example typically 160 grams of protein, 50 grams of fat and 80 grams of carbs. I stay under 30 grams of sugar a day and my main source of carbs are from vegetables. I love bread, but it’s not in the diet unless it’s a victory (cheat) meal on the weekend.
We’ve seen the stunning pics taken from the fitness shows you have taken part in. How do they work? What exactly do you do at a fitness show?
They look at your overall physique, smile, hair and stage presence. The judges look at how marketable you are and how proportionate you are. I have to hit 4 to 5 different poses with a smile and there is real art to it. My posing coach Audrey Kaipio taught me that posing is about bringing out your inner ‘alpha male’, and walking on the stage with your own flare. If a competitor has a great body, but the posing is rubbish they won’t get a call back for a chance to win.
What is it like backstage at a fitness show?
Pretty relaxed from a male fitness model perspective. Guys pumping up in the back with weights, resistance bands and push-ups. Lots of laughs.
I get the sense that your family and your heritage are important to you. Can you tell us a little about your roots?
My mother is from Thailand and father from India. A Buddhist Thai woman with a Sikh Indian man was a very taboo relationship back then, so it was quite a sad ending. My mom raised me by herself with Buddhism for balance and lots of love.
Are you out to your family? Was that a difficult process?
My mom knows I’m gay and she is very supportive. At first I think she was really concerned someone might try to hurt me out of hate, but she knows I’m secretly a Power Ranger in life.
As well as being the Power Ranger of the family you are also the first member of your family to go to University. Was that always on the cards for you?
My mom actually only finished Year 3 in Thailand, because her mother took her out of school to help raise her 6 younger siblings. It was my grandmother that told my mother that a woman’s place was with a man and in the kitchen, not in books. Mom felt really disadvantaged without an education, so she has always pushed me to do well in school and attend college. I attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the School of Natural Sciences!
And what about the university of life…what are the life lesson you have learnt? What are the most important rules you live your life by?
I was in a Greek fraternity while in University. It taught me the life lesson of balance. During the week I would get everything academically sorted and party on the weekends with my fraternity brothers. No work, means no play and if you play it has to be balanced.
12.8 thousand followers is impressive. How much work does it take to have such influence on Instagram?
I used to post daily, but after I hit past 10k I started to post about 3 times a week. My message of settings goals and living your best empowered life are the messages I share with my followers. I think I’m pretty ordinary, but get to live an epic life so I’m sharing my experiences.
I’m sure something not many people know about you is that you are a Buddhist. Tell us about Buddhism and why it’s an important practice for you?
I was raised Buddhist by my mother, but I didn’t really dig deeper into the religion until I got to college. I studied the history of Buddhism in India and Buddhist art as well. After my gained knowledge I became a Buddhist monk for a period of time. It’s actually a very common for a man in his 20’s to become an ordained Buddhist monk. Buddhists believe it honours your family and grants safe passage for one’s mother to heaven. Buddhism has taught me the importance of mindfulness and reflection through meditation. I let go of the negative things in life and embrace the people that lift me up.
I’m always fascinated by different religions and beliefs. If there is someone out there who like me wants to explore what this religion is like, where would you suggest they start.
Visiting a local temple like the Thai Buddhist temple in Wimbledon (Wat Buddhapadipa) during festivals are great place to start or local community groups that offer meditation. And I course will gladly offer insight if asked.
Is someone’s beliefs and religion an important factor in choosing a partner? And how has it featured in previous relationships?
I have tried dating agnostic and atheist guys in the past and it has proved challenging, so dating a guy that had some spiritual beliefs would be nice. Maybe we could meditate together!
It’s clear that the life of a fitness model is a strict one, but what do you do to let your hair down? Any naughty Habits?
I have one victory meal (cheat meal) once a week. Usually on the weekends to enjoy some fried chicken, bread and fries. A chocolate hobnob to seal the deal.
If you were to write one of our guest writers travel blogs where would you chose as your favourite destination?
…and what is your top travel tip?
Pack light and be ready to walk and explore the beauty.
It has been just over 15 years since section 28 was repealed and teachers were allowed to talk freely about gay relationships in schools. What messages do you think it is important to pass down to young LGBTQI people?
That love is love and its ok to be you. Gay is normal and hate won’t change that.
With the way things are going in America with transgender rights seemingly disappearing, it can feel like we are moving backwards. How do you feel about that and what do you think needs to be done?
It makes me really sad that America has gone that route. I think everyone should be treated with compassion and given equal rights. I’m hoping that LGBTQ+ friendly states like California or New York put things into place to protect transgendered citizens. And Democrats keep pushing the injustice of this so that change and righteousness be brought back.
I always ask this of our featured guests…what are you watching right now? Any Netflix recommendations for us?
I love the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sex Education.
Tell us something about you that will surprise us?
I’m a huge X-MEN marvel comic book fan, a bit of a geek and proud of it. I grew up reading the comic books before the movies were a thing.
And finally what does living your ‘Best Gay Life’ mean to you?
Being honest with yourself and what you are about in everything you do. Loving and appreciating yourself for who you are and spreading happiness. If you have to question whether or not something feels right or is this going to put me in a bad place, that’s when you aren’t living your best gay life.