This week, we found the perfect #HisStyleSnaps interviewee for our Style Archetype of the Month – the Sportif. Brendan Lai (aka @ysl_one on Instagram) is from the UK. He first caught my attention on Facebook, where photos of his perfectly sculpted physique and dashing good looks were circulated.

Countless Facebook comments asking who this guy was sparked off a search for him on Instagram, and thankfully, it didn’t took me long to find Brendan. A quick glance through his Instagram feed revealed much more of his sporty, understated personal style and discipline in fitness. We spoke to Brendan and asked him for some style tips, and also some advice on getting a body to die for.

bl4HSD: Tell us a bit about yourself! 

BL: I am located in the city of Portsmouth, which is along the South Coast of The United Kingdom.  My time is mostly taken up by training/bodybuilding and channeling my entrepreneurship. Having my own business within what I enjoy and for which I have a pure passion has always been in my blood.

I currently have ideas on the table which I hope to have set up within the fitness and fashion industry by the end of the year. I’ve always been a fan of the arts, and I especially enjoy drawing, films and photography. Modern and contemporary art is very much my inspiration for my Instagram and day to day life as I like the fresh, clean look that using mostly neutral colours give. Without too much background noise you can really focus on what the image is saying as well as give it a futuristic look.

HSD: Describe your personal style.

BL: When it comes to style I prefer to be clean cut as opposed to being scruffy-untamed. I can be a perfectionist at times and having a fresh look is something I’ve always preferred. My go-to looks are mostly street-gym wear but I like to mix it up with smart casual as well. My favourite accessories are hats, whether I chuck a flat peak on for training or I team up a classic fedora with some ripped jeans and boots for a night out. I feel it always completes a look.

I tend to stick to quite a neutral colour palette in my wardrobe – white, black, brown, grey, khaki, the occasional red. My style inspiration comes from brands like Nike, Adidas, Calvin Klein, Zara, Topman, H&M and Aesthetic Revolution – a mixture of street style and gym apparel. I do incorporate a lot of sports brands into my day wear not only because of my interest in fitness, but also because gym wear is becoming more versatile and easier to wear as statement pieces. I think that’s due to the many celebrities on social media wearing such items and promoting them.

bl7HSD: A man should always invest in…?

BL: Personally I think a man (or anyone for that matter) should always invest in themselves and work towards who they desire to be. It’s very important not to lose sight of who you want to be and where you want to be. Sometimes it becomes difficult when day to day life takes over and you are stuck in a cycle of what feels comfortable. I don’t think you should ever settle for something just because you are comfortable, if it’s not actually where you want to be. Make a plan of what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it. Nothing feels better than reaching and achieving personal goals.


HSD: If you were to attend a red carpet event, what would you be wearing?

BL: If I was to ever attend a red carpet event it would be a great opportunity to go full on James Bond and get totally dressed up. It’s not very often you get to throw on a nice tux! I do like to put my own spin on things to keep it different so I would find a unique pair black trainers or have some sort of extravagant watch or bracelet. The great thing about accessories is that they are the perfect ice breaker. Whenever I see an accessory that grabs my attention, I immediately want to engage with the person wearing it and talk about it.


HSD: Would you rather have a great body or have an awesome wardrobe? Tell us why.

BL: I would always choose to have a great body over an awesome wardrobe. Having a great body is a self-achieved goal that no one else can do for you. The time and effort that goes into building a great physique is relentless; it becomes a lifestyle that both your mind and body thank you for. Money can buy you a new wardrobe but it can’t buy the sense of achievement and gratification of reaching fitness goals!


HSD: Tell us more about your fitness regime. How often do you train?

BL: My fitness regime consists of training 5-6 times a week for 2-hour sessions. I go generally in the evenings but sometimes it can be very early in the morning. I tend to train at a variety of gyms to keep it interesting. I like to keep my diet well-balanced. I’ve recently started to prep my meals which consists of good carbs, proteins and nutrients. I’m lucky that I have a high metabolism so I can enjoy a few treats every now and again too!

I like to have porridge for breakfast because it offers slow-released carbs, giving me a long, gradual release of energy. Lunch and dinner vary but always consist of rice, pasta or potato with lots of meat for protein as well as a variety of vegetables to pack in my five a day and all the nutrients I need. I am not on any sort of “diet” though. I believe that for a great body you need not diet but to incorporate a healthy lifestyle, basically reducing the amount of junk food intake and increasing the key health foods. I do use protein shakes as a helpful boost of protein too.


HSD: Can you share a fitness tip for looking great?

BL: One fitness tip would be to learn to stay focused. Mind over matter. The more you focus, the better the results. Don’t get too hung up on what other people look like but work on yourself and achieve your own goals, you never know you might become someone else’s inspiration…

HSD: If I looked in your bag, what’ll be the one thing that surprises me?

BL: If you looked in my bag the one thing that may surprise you would be a lint roller! I always carry one with me. You never know when you’re going to want to take photos but your outfit needs a little touching up. I like to keep myself neat and tidy, ready for the camera. Fashion blogging is also a big part of my Instagram so I like to keep things on point.


HSD: You have a big following on Instagram. Do you spend a lot of time managing that?

BL: Instagram has become a part of my everyday life. I spend a lot of time managing my account and engaging with my followers, from giving tips and advice as well as posting inspirations and motivations. I’m so grateful for all the support I receive and I try to respond to as many followers as possible. I would not be at the stage I’m at today without them.

You can follow Brendan on Instagram @ysl_one.