If you’ve ever set foot in PFC Studio in Plaza Damas where Joseph Lee works full-time as a fitness instructor, you’ll be amazed at how tidy the equipment is. It’s probably because Lee has a bit of an OCD streak. “I’m a legit neat freak and I might have a slight obsessive-compulsive disorder. After a workout session, I always put everything back in its place,” he laughs.
Always active in school, Lee was drawn to basketball because of his 1.9m frame. “I was constantly being shoved around because I was the tallest and, naturally, I’d be playing as the centre, but I was also the skinniest,” he recalls.
His earliest memory of wanting to seriously get into fitness was when he stumbled across his father’s collection of Men’s Health magazines. “I remember reading everything and memorising the workout routines just so I could try them. But I knew that I couldn’t reach my early fitness goals because I needed a lot of fitness equipment and, most importantly, I needed a gym,” he says. “A few months down the road, my dad took me to one of those commercial gyms in Hartamas and bought me a membership, and that’s how I got into fitness.” Little did young Lee know that one day he'd find himself in the pages of that very magazine—he was a finalist for the MH Cover Guy search in 2015!
He’s also into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and is currently training for the Pan Pacific IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2017, which will take place in Melbourne later this year. He explains: “I started training BJJ seven years ago. I was always getting into fights when I was younger. I decided to pick up BJJ just so I could defend myself. I guess the time I spent on training BJJ and weightlifting has helped me stay away from trouble.”
He adds, “But what really sparked my interest in the sport even more was when I entered my first tournament after training for a year. Practising is one thing, but competing is quite another. The constant grind, the mental and physical preparations and the motivation to perform well are the reasons why I’m hooked.”
Lee may look all brawn on the outside, but he has a soft spot for animals and would love to do something to help them if he weren’t working in fitness. “I have two dogs and they’re called Happy and Fatty,” he laughs. “They’re both mixed boxer breeds.”
He also apparently talks a lot. “I even talk in my sleep, according to my brothers and my partner. They always complain about the conversations that I have in my dreams the next morning,” he chuckles. “One time, in Vietnam, I was trying to negotiate the price of a car because I really wanted it. According to my partner, that session went on for at least half an hour!”
His talkative trait matches the type of woman that he’s attracted to. “I love it when I meet an intelligent woman who knows how to carry on a conversation. It keeps me intrigued,” he says.
A good way to start a conversation with Lee would be to ask about his Instagram handle @jobroseph. Does he consider himself a “bro” person? “Yes, because a ‘bro’ person, to me, is a good friend whom I’m comfortable being around and sharing things with. Calling someone a bro takes away all that awkwardness, especially when you’re meeting them for the first time. But please, based on experience, do not call the girl you want to date a ‘bro’.”