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: Michelle Sng / Sasha Christian
Age: 27 / 22
Occupation: Teacher & national high jumper / Full-time wakeboarder
Height: 1.72m / 1.61m
Weight: 54kg / 52kg
Status: Both attached
How did you get into your respective sports?
M: I started in high jump when I was 13 (in 2000) because nobody in my class wanted to do it for sports day and as sports captain I took the responsibility. I ended up breaking the school record and I went on to win at the national inter-school level.
2006 was a really big year for me, where I broke the national record twice and I went for a lot of overseas competitions such as Asian Games. 2007 was supposed to be a big year for me with SEA Games but I suffered from injury and all my big goals for 2007 didn’t materialise.
It was a stress fracture on my shin and I stuck with the pain for a full year, only going for surgery in 2008. I did come back to the sport but it wasn’t the same and I left the sport in a low state in 2011. I took a much-needed break for three years and I came back to the sport last year to help my coach on a recreational level.
Somehow the adrenalin of competition hit me and I realised how much I missed that feeling, so I started training again in hope of breaking the national record of 180cm, which is my record actually.
S: My mum was a recreational water skier, so she took my brother and I water skiing at a young age of three. I switched to wakeboarding when I was five and at the age of 11, I won bronze at the Asian Wakeboard Championships and also became national wakeboarding champion. In 2009 I won the Asian Championships and in 2011 I took the gold medal for SEA Games.
My most memorable achievement however, was third place at last year’s Asian Beach Games. I didn’t do well in the previous two competitions then, so my confidence was low and I had to pull out every trick in the bag to get that bronze. It also means that the standard is getting higher and it’s good pressure as more people push the sport so we can all progress.
Did the hiatus from the sport help, Michelle?
M: I did a lot of travelling – all of Southeast Asia except Brunei, Timor Leste, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey, a little bit of Europe, watching the Olympics in London, completed the Trans-Manchurian journey and finally ended up in Chiang Mai to teach English. It definitely did me good – this much-needed break helps me to return to the break much stronger mentally.
What were you doing before competing in these sports?
M: I started dancing when I was just two years old. I did ballet for 15 years, then rhythmic gymnastics for seven years. I played netball too.
S: I never really had the chance to explore other sports. I found my sport at a young age and grew up with it.
Q: You are preparing for SEA Games now, what’s training like?
M: In a week, I train twice in the gym for weights, twice of technique training for my jumps and another three times of track work such as plyometrics, sprints or hurdles. I also try to squeeze in yoga or Pilates.
S: I’m on the water eights times a week and I hit the gym twice too. Sometimes I’ll do yoga.
Do you follow any kind of diet?
M: I have been pescatarian since the end of 2011, where the diet includes fish or other seafood, but not the flesh of other animals. At that time I stopped training and I was travelling through India so I didn’t need so much meat. I get my protein from eggs, nuts and beans. The lighter you are, the better it is for my jumps but I need to make sure I don’t lose the power and strength.
I’m careful with what I eat, but I love desserts – almond paste, tau suan. You can say I have a separate stomach for desserts, especially anything with salted caramel!
S: I try not to have burgers every day and I like my spaghetti. My sport doesn’t require me to lose weight or anything so I just maintain a decently healthy diet. It’s important not to get caught up with calorie counting. Yes, eat healthy but don’t get obsessed with eating healthy.
Anyone ever commented about your abs?
M: I usually get positive comments, although Sasha always jokes that I use marker pen to draw my abs. Back in university, I would go to the gym and the guys used to joke that they will never date someone like me because I can lift heavier than them and I have abs like they don’t.
Is there any pressure on you to look good?
Both: There are people out there struggling to fit into a certain mould. We feel that we should just try to maintain a balance between eating and exercise. We have always been athletic and we like looking like that.
What are your thoughts on the fitness scene?
Both: It’s definitely a growing scene, with different types of fitness regimes and trends coming up. People are definitely becoming a lot more health conscious too, with more demands for gyms and personal training. There are also increasingly a lot more healthy food choices.
Social media has definitely played a big part and we see a lot of people drawing inspiration from others through Instagram. We are also able to track progress through pictures, which makes a lot of people more willing to stick to their routines.