Strong is the new sexy and fitness is the new party. With society leaning towards health and fitness, Yahoo's #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to all inspirational women in Singapore leading active lifestyles. Know of any who deserve to be featured? Hit me up on CherylTay.sg and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (cheryltaysg).
Name: Amanda Yew (Instagram: @amandayew)
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Diet: Currently on low-carb diet for contest prep
Training: Specific muscle groups (back, abs, hamstring, glutes, arms, chest, shoulders, legs), HIIT and cardio 6 days a week
Were you a sporty kid?
No, when I was younger I didn't really like to do sports because I thought I was ugly and overweight. But things changed back in high school, where I decided to do something memorable for myself before leaving school. I took part in the 800m run and cheerleading! That was the best decision ever and I miss being that school girl.
When did you start going to the gym?
I started going to the gym when I was 18. It was funny because I thought I knew how to lift but I wasted the whole year trying different things. Not to say I regret doing them, but I did learn a lot from my mistakes!
When did you start lifting weights?
I started lifting heavy with the guidance of my colleagues in the gym. To me, lifting that heavy bar off the floor especially when it's more than my own body weight makes me feel really good because I always thought I was weak. So the day I was able to lift 60kg off the ground, that felt like my biggest achievement ever!
Is there any kind of sport you would like to try?
YES! I would love to try MMA because I love how the athletes are being trained and I want to fight too!
Why did you decide to be a trainer?
I have never thought of becoming a trainer till one day a trainer from my previous gym approached me and asked whether I was interested to be part of their team. Since I can spend more time in the gym, I agreed to it and that's how it started!
What are some of the inspiring testimonials or funny anecdotes you have about your clients?
I have a client who wanted to lose weight just to surprise her husband who was overseas for six months. She's the most disciplined and determined client I ever had. She has never missed any training sessions and is always on point with her diet. So when the day came to fetch her husband from the airport, he couldn't recognise her although she was standing right in front of him!! That's how much she has changed. He was so shocked!
When was your first physique competition?
It didn't go well because I was clueless and never had a coach back then, so I did everything on my own. I decided to take part in such competitions because I didn't want to just be a gym trainer. I want to be someone who can show what they preach. Most of my clients sought inspiration from the competitions I took part in and some of them actually witnessed the whole process. It was never easy.
How did you feel wearing a bikini in front of such a large audience?
Well it can be intimidating, but I train for a reason. I train to look good in the bikini so that the people can see my hard work. Of course you won't get to meet everyone's expectations, but I've learned to accept whatever comments that are thrown to me and work on my weaknesses.
What are the challenges when preparing for such competitions?
Diet. Work. Time. I work as a full time trainer in the gym but the amount of hours I put in to train people constantly drain me out at the end of the day. I would be exhausted to even lift and sometimes I would miss a meal or two.
Are you satisfied with your body now and why?
No. I have quite high expectations on myself so whenever I feel that I did not perform well enough, I tend to beat myself down. I know it's not a healthy thing so I'm trying my best to stay positive and work harder.
What kind of comments do you get about your body?
Well, apparently when I was off season people called me the bodybuilder who wants to be a powerlifter because of how I've bulked up after a show. I have nothing against any people who do different sports but it was an insult to say something like that when they don't know I actually do enjoy lifting heavy and breaking personal records.
Have you ever feel not confident about your body?
To be honest, I was never confident about it. Maybe because of my past relationship where I felt I was in a competition with many other girls to get that ex-boyfriend’s attention. My self esteem was lower back then. But fortunately, I've learned to overcome the fear and set my eyes on the goals in front of me. Otherwise, I would've given up on a lot of things in life. Most girls have this problem but it's actually up to them whether they want to do something about it or not.
Who is your fitness inspiration?
Amanda Latona and India Paulino.
Why should people make an effort to lead an active lifestyle?
First of all, being active is good for health. I don't see why people neglect that and work on something else which can’t even save you from a deadly disease in the future. Yes, exercising can be tiring or sometimes, boring maybe, then get a buddy or a trainer to train you at least for 30 to 60 minutes, three to four times a week. A balanced lifestyle is the way to go.