Jim Madasamy epitomizes our idealism in expecting to merge two extremes to cohesively attain a balance. Not only is it overly difficult or perhaps even peculiar to try to marry fitness and music espousing radical social transformation and liberation from conventionality to new social norms. It was era of glorifying drug use, alcoholism and free-sex known as “Flower Power” – of exalting “peace” and a time when blues, rock and roll, blues-rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, progressive rock and folk music fueled the music and lives of the day. This is still very much alive today.Popularization of the blues with its origins from the wretched days of American slavery saw its infusion into contemporary music most notably in the 1960s.

 

The blues had earlier on greatly influenced jazz and rock and roll. It was also a time when blues-influenced soul music came to the fore. Jim is a bluesman and founding member of The Blues Gang. On vocals at times, he is a guitarist but principally a bassist. The Blues Gang was formed in Woodlands, Singapore in 1973 and Jim at 62 has been through all those pop-culture changes and managed to stave off the ills and yet be a part of the invigoration of arguably the most glorious and creative era in music history.

 

          

He has been an avid fitness believer cum practitioner and attained a firm balance to follow his passion for music and adopt sports to be part of his daily life. Jim has run 7 marathons in all. He ran his first 42-km marathon when he competed in the 1987 Kuala Lumpur Marathon.The same year he ran the Penang MAS Marathon. He lamented that the toughest route he ever ran was the Ipoh to Kuala Kangsar stretch along the newly-opened PLUS Highway in 1988. Two years later Jim ran the Singapore Marathon while his last marathon was the 2005 Kuala Lumpur Marathon. In the arena of 21km half marathons, Jim ran in the PJ Half Marathon, Adidas King of the Road, Johore Singapore 2-Link Run; and other half marathons in Melaka Kuantan, Klang and Shah Alam. Jim’s last half marathon was the 2011 Hatyai Nature Run when he was aged 61. Besides these challenges, Jim has run countless numbers of 12km, 10km and 5km races and has tasted victory on a number of occasions. His most memorable prize was an excursion to Auckland, NZ.


But how does Jim do all this amidst his hectic schedule as a performer? Here again, he has to strike a balance in his hectic schedule and erratic hours into doing adequate exercise to keep fit and be ready. After over 25 years competing in grueling races, he does admit that age is catching up. But at 62, that has been certainly “late in coming” – so to speak. As a flexible regime, Jim either jogs in the morning or evening. It’s not unusual to see him get home at 3.00am but out cycling or jogging at 7.30am. Whenever he’s too tired he rests. He admits that a good night sleep is perfect before a race. Otherwise strength, speed and endurance would be lacking and you get a “buzz” in your head. With keeping fit, he tries to cover a decent jog when weather is good or opt for exercise at home. He visits a gym at least once or twice a week to work with weights to strengthen and condition his upper body. This, according to him, is crucial for holding up at the later stages of races.    

Jim advises that mornings are best for training in tropical weather. He alternates between easy programs and speed and endurance training. For hill training, he loves the FRIM parklands in Kepong but for 2-hour endurance runs, his route would be Lake Gardens-Bukit Tunku-Sri Hartamas and back. Alternatively, he could be on his mountain bike to Bt. Caves for “steep steps” runs and walks. Jim is mindful about proper diets and don’t consume meats but some poultry. He is more into seafood with emphasis on fish and vegetables. He consumes supplements for general health and to strengthen his knees. He doesn’t smoke, consumes negligible amounts of alcohol occasionally (but never before a race) and drinks copious amounts of water.

 

These days, Jim still performs with The Blues Gang and does “power-trio” pub gigs with fellow musicians Karim and Hazizi. He also performs as a soloist. Over the years, Jim has seen it all from the perils of “unhealthy” culture which caused the early deaths of numerous megastars at the nascence and prime of their musical careers.

To us, Jim Madasamy is a testimony to the nullification of our excuses for shunning fitness because we don’t have the time or opportunity. It is an affirmation that even in the most conflicting of circumstances and environments you can still make it happen so long as you willed so. You need not be a 62-year old marathon runner but there’s nothing stopping you from adopting some semblance of fitness into your daily lives. You have the option of the outdoors or just “do your thing” on the latest precision-calibrated workout equipment and accessories.

It’s your call!