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: Angela Lee
Occupation: Professional MMA fighter
Diet: Eats whatever she wants off season but keeps clean during training camp
Training: In a week – MMA 4 times, Muay Thai 2 times, BJJ 2 times, Weightlifting 2 times, Wrestling once
When and how did you start in martial arts?
I started when I was three years old. I grew up as a mat baby in my parents’ martial arts schools.
How did it lead to MMA?
My dad, who is also my coach, has always taught me self defence in all ranges of combat. I started competing in MMA when I was 14 years old, against boys at the Tigerbalm Internationals in Canada.
What was your first MMA fight like?
I was so excited! In Hawaii, you have to be 18 years old to compete in MMA, so as soon as I turned 18 I made my amateur MMA debut. I won my fight via armbar in the first round and I was overjoyed because I knew how hard I had trained for this fight. It was just so great to see all of my hard work pay off!
What is it about MMA that you like?
It's not a typical girl sport. I love the rush and thrill of MMA. I live for competition. I also love the fact that there are so many ways to win in an MMA fight. It’s like a chess match and its more mental than physical. I think girls are great strategists so it's perfect for us.
How did you feel about fighting in Singapore and representing your heritage at ONE: WARRIOR’S QUEST?
It was so amazing! To make my professional MMA debut in Singapore with all of my family and friends made it even more special. I am very proud of my heritage and I was honored to fight for and represent Singapore.
Do you see yourself as an inspiration to other women out there?
I hope to inspire women to empower themselves (mind, body and spirit) through martial arts training.
What do you bring to the cage and what do you want people to remember you for?
I bring the fight. I fight to win while some fighters fight not to lose. I want the people to remember me for who I am as a fighter and not to judge me just by appearance.
What advice do you have for women who want to pick up martial arts?
I believe that martial arts is something that all women should learn because it's the most important life skill that you could have. Martial arts is something that will always benefit your life and it will never be something you regret learning.
If you want to pick up martial arts though, you need to have commitment and a positive attitude. Martial arts is all about learning and improving yourself. You may be discouraged at first, but keep trying! That is how you will make yourself a better person and a better martial artist.
What kind of guys attract you?
He must be humble, respectful, caring, supportive and hardworking. I believe that those values are very important. I also need someone who is compatible with me, my family and my lifestyle.
I believe in sharing similar values and interests, as motivating partners are definitely key to a lasting relationship. It’s gonna be hard to have a relationship with someone who doesn't share the same interests in you. So yes, martial arts or some kind of training would be another thing to add to the list.
How confident are you about your body?
I'm very confident about my body. I've always been athletic since I was little so I've always been on the muscular side and never really skinny. However, as a fighter now, I am more accepting that my body goes through phases. For example, when I'm dieting and cutting weight, I look shredded and toned but after my fight, I gain the weight back and my body fills out more.
What advice do you have for girls struggling with their bodies?
The most important thing is to be healthy. A healthy body will give you confidence. Strive to be the best person you can be; it's not about the looks. You will notice your body naturally changing when you choose to live a healthy lifestyle.
What misconceptions about fitness does society have these days?
The biggest misconception today is that people go for a certain image (look) instead of what’s more important – which is the way you feel (healthy, energetic and strong).
How do you define fitness?
Fitness is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise, rest and diet.
How do you define self worth?
Self worth is all about maintaining a healthy mind and spirit by having gratitude (daily) for all the positive things in your life.