Healthy Achiever: David Lai, Illusion Show Producer

Many of us blame our packed timetables for not being able to eat healthy or work out. Who has time to spend 3 hours at the gym when there are chores to do and late meetings at work?

And even if we had the time, a long day at work has already depleted all our energy, who would want to slip on their workout clothing and go for a jog?

All we want to do is just zone out on the couch and chow on our takeaway dinner of nasi dagang or the like. Nobody has the time to cook anymore.

We realise this. Heck, we live this life where we really want to make a commitment to live healthy but simply do not have the patience, time and effort to, and so we become complacent.

However, a quick look around shows us that there are people far busier than us who are successfully leading a healthy lifestyle. Are we doing something wrong? How do they do it? We spoke to some high achiever Malaysians whose schedules are constantly packed to see how they manage juggling between work and living healthy — and still come out stronger.

david lai 3

You’ve probably seen one or two of David Lai’s performances. Voted as one of Prestige’s Top 40 under 40, David Lai is a mentalist, illusion show producer, and entrepreneur that brings a bit of magic with him wherever he goes.

From his days of performing illusions on the street, David has truly come a long way. He has now produced and directed some of the most prestigious magic shows our nation has seen — Resorts World Genting’s Superstars of Magic in 2011 and 2012, and he’s not even 29 yet!

His latest big project was the production of celebrity magician Peter Marvey’s show: Magician Without Limits, which runs from May 28th up till Nov 18th this year. And when he’s not producing or directing a show, he’s out and about performing his impressive acts across the world.

Despite his busy schedule however, David is still a stickler for health and fitness. We talked to David to see what he does it different:

I make a point to live healthy by… 

Making a personal commitment. Once you’re personally committed, there is this `no exception’ rule that automatically takes over. My schedule does get to a limit where I work more than 14 hours a day at times, and for that, I only prioritize what I do best, and leave the rest for a moment. At moments like this, I still stick to a clean diet, while my exercise gets cut down to body weight exercises which I can do in my own bedroom. When my schedule gets back to a normal pace, I usually go back to hitting the gym. All the time though, I discipline myself to have a balanced and clean diet .

I love workouts that… 

can be done without usage of equipment. 30 reps of body weight push ups + 15 reps of air squats (x 3 sets). I usually do this as my morning ritual when I get up, and it is just a great kick-off to the entire day. My blood gets flowing, I get clarity, and most importantly, my body automatically tells me it’s time to wake up!

When it comes to meals…

I eat as many times as I want in a day. Maybe 5-6 times or more. But I always take small portions, and mostly on water-rich foods. Lots of vegetables, fruits, juices, nuts along the way. I’ve almost completely cut off meat from my diet.

I get inspired to keep going by…

the knowledge that as much as I earn, the figure will not matter if my health is not there.

Taking care of my health… 

helps create a new release of energy. You need energy in your day, and without this, nothing productive can happen. Having energy to do things that are important is the start of a good day, hence taking care of your health is KING in determining whether or not you’ll have a productive day.

If I have a huge billboard this is what I will put on it… 

Health is the crown on a well man’s head that only an ill man can see.



Photo credits: Rev Asia


The Healthy Achiever Series is where we interview some high achiever Malaysians on how they keep healthy and happy. Stay tuned for more follow-ups to this series! If you have a story to share, send them to and you may be featured!

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