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: Azimah Azmi (Instagram: @muskelkat)
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Diet: Watches carb and sugar intake depending on level of activity; stays away from processed food; include proteins and good fat into meals
Training: Trains 5-6 times a week, of strength training with weights, metabolic conditioning, and the occasional long-steady-paced cardio
What kind of sports did you do as a kid?
In primary school I was in track and field, and I also competed in inter-class soccer and basketball competitions. However, I wasn't very serious about either of those sports so I never stuck through them.
When did you start going to the gym?
Technically I started "going to the gym" since I was about seven years old. At that time, my dad was running a chain of small gyms called Boxfit Gym and I was always trying to learn how to use the equipment even though I was way too little.
When did you start lifting weights?
As soon as I turned 12 I started learning to lift, but I was never really serious about it until I was 17 or 18. Lifting heavy gives me a sense of empowerment and makes me feel like Wonder Woman!
Is there any kind of sport you would like to try?
It's a weird combination of sports I'd love to try, but I've always been fascinated with extreme sports such as snowboarding, water sports such as surfing and wakeboarding, contact sports such as full contact rugby, fast-paced sports like speed skating on ice and I'm absolutely fascinated with martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu!
Have you ever suffered from any sport injuries?
Thankfully I've only gotten minor sprains and strains. Recently I've gotten a shoulder injury from a failed muscle-up attempt and was told to not do any upper body work for six weeks. I had to force myself to rest and work on other parts that need attention as well.
Why did you decide to be a trainer?
I was juggling a copywriting job along with competing in bikini competitions and I found that my real passion was in fitness. I've been around fitness my whole life and realising that I could never really deviate from that made the decision a lot easier. I truly believe in the concept of constantly improving to become the best person you can be through fitness.
What are some of the funny anecdotes you have about your clients?
"I regret that workout" - said no one, ever. I love it when they say that training practically "killed" them, because that's when I know they truly felt alive doing it. Heart beating out of their chests, breathing deeper and harder, and sweating buckets just to get healthier? That's beautiful.
Are you satisfied with your body now and why?
I think I've reached the point where I'm truly content and happy in my own skin, no matter what my body fat percentage is, and I'm glad. It fluctuates every now and then because of my competitions, but that's fine to me. As long as my body is healthy, 150 per cent functional and I fit into all my clothes, I'm a happy, happy cat!
What kind of comments do you get about your body?
People who don't really understand my lifestyle would say "don't get too big because you'll scare people" or "your body is a little freaky". And if I got a dollar for every time someone says that, I could probably afford a car. But they could never understand that I earned this body with hours and hours of hard work and building on my craft.
I've earned this body the same way I earn my paychecks at the end of the month – I earn it through a sickening amount of dedication and hard work. So these negative remarks never really bother me anyway, I'm too busy putting in work.
Did you ever feel not confident about your body before?
I was bulimic for about six years, so yes, I've been on the other side of things. Growing up in a family that was all about fitness was a bit of pressure for me, because I thought my whole life was practically centred around having to "look good". And when I was 14, "looking good" meant being thin, which I could never really be. Thankfully I opened up my eyes to what fitness really is - it's about FEELING GOOD and BEING HEALTHY, before you can "look good".
Will you ever consider plastic surgery?
Only in the worst case scenario, such as if my body gets disfigured by some kind of freak accident (knock on wood!). So no, I mean I'm not against it, but I don't need it. Like I said, I'm truly comfortable in my own skin, even if my bikini top could be filled up a little more. Haha! I've learnt to love all my flaws because they are the things that make up my identity and I'm the only one who has that.
Why should people make an effort to lead an active lifestyle?
Look, your body is the only one you got for the rest of your life, so you should make full use of it. Everyone starts the same way, you either work your body, or watch it waste away. Pizza is not your enemy, being lazy is!