His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen
Today, the world trends towards health and wellness living through practising mindfulness and leading an active lifestyle, fitness regime, balanced nutrition and dietary, sustainable and responsible living, and more. Here in Brunei, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen subscribes to this concept. He often shares glimpses of how he manages a daily routine that incorporates fitness and sports as well as leading a well-balanced healthy life. The active lifestyle advocate aims to inspire others to follow suit with the same passion and determination he carries in his everyday life, as he details in this exclusive interview.
There are different ways to practise a healthy lifestyle. What does living healthy mean to you and how do you embrace that in your daily routine?
I think having a healthy lifestyle involves making small healthy habits every single day. You can’t just wake up one day and drastically change your lifestyle; it’s something that you need to do slowly before making it a lifestyle. With nutrition, for example, eating well is a huge part of my life, but I still don’t restrict myself. If I feel like chocolate cake, I eat it. Just maybe not every day!
As an avid sportsman in the field of polo and boxing, what other activities do you do to stay active and healthy?
I try to do different workouts every day, so it ranges from HIIT, hiking, strength training, mobility work and swimming. Having a varied weekly schedule that incorporates a few vital exercises definitely benefits me as a sportsman and makes things more fun.
Another thing I have recently found very beneficial is how you recover from a hectic week. It’s very easy to over-train, especially as you get older, so lately I have been focusing on doing more slow sessions like yoga. I would like to encourage people here to become healthier, which is why I decided to open Jab Gym and offer a variety of different workouts.
What is the scene like in Brunei – are there more gyms and fitness community being established? More sporting and active events organised?
Yes, I think it’s definitely picking up, especially in the last few years. There are a lot more gyms opening up, especially studios focused on group classes, which I think is great. I have also noticed that there are so many more people in Bukit Shabandar than before. It’s just great to see how people in Brunei are generally becoming more and more active, and health conscious.
Any latest trend here locally that has caught your attention regarding health and active lifestyle? Are there any health and wellness initiatives you would like to see grow here?
I’ve noticed a spike in mixed martial arts in Brunei, which I think is a really good way to keep fit and one of the best disciplines to have. In terms of health and wellness, recovery seems a little neglected at times but it is so important, especially for professional athletes. I think it would be great to try and focus on that a bit more.
How difficult or easy is it to stay healthy in Brunei and why is it important for us to adopt it as part of our lifestyle?
In my opinion, it’s easy to stay healthy anywhere as long as you put your mind to it. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of making smart choices and making time.
It helps to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine so it doesn’t feel like a chore in the first place. Another way is being creative with your food and workouts so that it is exciting and you’re not doing the same thing every day. Mixing up your exercise routine is a great way to do that – for example, if you do something like boxing one day, try yoga the next.
Healthy living is not just physical; it is mental as well. This is especially so in this day and age where we tend to neglect our mental wellbeing when lives get hectic. Your thoughts on this and why mental wellbeing should be part of a balanced approach to maintain health and wellness living?
Mental health is so important because it directly correlates to your physical health. If you work on the mind, you will feel it in your body and vice versa. Sometimes life does get very hectic and so I always try and make sure that I set aside time to just reflect and slow down. There’s still a long way to go but it’s great to see mental health challenges being destigmatised. Yoga and meditation are great ways to de-stress but if that isn’t enough, people should know that asking for help is OK, and shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.
Any message for young Bruneians on the joy and benefits of living this lifestyle and how we can celebrate being the best version of ourselves?
Always start off slow and steady; it’s much better to make small lifestyle changes as opposed to jumping in the deep end. It’s also more likely to be sustainable in the long term, which is ultimately the end goal.
Finally, as a proud Bruneian, kindly share with our readers your favourite local dish and some of the must-visit places to go to in Brunei.
My go-to favourite dish is definitely soto, a spiced soupy bowl of noodles or rice vermicelli topped with chicken or beef and garnished with chillies and herbs. For places to go, Brunei has so much to offer in terms of nature. I love the outdoors so my favourite places have to be Bukit Shabandar, a recreation park that’s popular for hiking; Brunei’s beautiful beaches, and Temburong mangrove waterways with breathtaking views, flora and fauna.