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).
Hayati Nuffus (Instagram: @alphafitsg)
Occupation: Head Coach of AlphaFit, Personal and Group Class Trainer
Diet: A lot of meat and vegetables, seeds and nuts, some fruits, little starch and no sugar.
Training: Strength work with kettlebells and the three major lifts (deadlift, squat, bench press), as well as some metcons
When did you first starting lifting weights?
I cycled, swam and played badminton growing up, and I only started going to the gym at 20 because I wanted to look good. I tried to follow exercises from magazines, but it didn’t work. I only started lifting weights at 25.
What was your first encounter with kettlebells?
I was training with one of the pioneer kettlebell coaches in Singapore under his HDB block! It was basic, minimal and rugged.
What did you like about training with kettlebells?
It's a unique tool with an old Russian history and having a handle makes the kettlebell easier to handle for high repetitions. I also like the fact that you have to stay calm, composed, and repeat one rep after another even though your heartbeat is through the roof. It resonates what we have to go through life. At the end everything will be alright and we just have to put one foot in front of the other in tough times.
Have you competed in kettlebell competitions before?
I’ve competed twice in Russia (I was the first Asian female to compete in Russia), and also in Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong. I organised the Asian kettlebell championship three years ago too, which had about 100 participants including the national athletes of Kazakhstan.
How did you end up starting up AlphaFit?
It was accidental as the owner of the gym I worked in moved out without much notice. I decided to take out all my savings and make it work on my own. I’ve been a trainer for seven years now.
How different is AlphaFit from the rest of the gyms?
It's a down-to-earth family gym where mums and dads can bring in their kids to sit while they train, couples and buddies train together, new friends are made and everyone knows everyone else, giving back to the community together. We also train very seriously for life because you never know when it may knock you down so we have to be prepared for it!
What are some of the misconceptions about kettlebells and how do you hope to correct it?
The usual "I don't want to get too muscular" and also, “It doesn't look as cool as Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting". I think everyone has to try it before they chuck it.
You have a background in CrossFit and Strongman. Tell us more about those.
I picked up CrossFit after I found kettlebells, and I have a CrossFit Level 1 trainer certificate. I came across CrossFit on YouTube and I joined a local box. I found a whole new world of training in a community of fun people. It was a very, very good experience because my coach taught me discipline and he has an extremely high standard for everything so I couldn't slack. I had to stop when I had my own gym and couldn't go to training as regularly.
While doing CrossFit, I got to know of SG Titans (local strongman outfit) and was introduced to strongman training by Sulaiman Ismail, one of the stronger male competitors. Together we trained for my first strongman competition. It was in 2011 when there was a women category for the first time in Singapore. I finished within the Top 6 to get into the finals. I didn’t win but I earned an experience of a lifetime by pulling trucks and flipping tyres. I’ve since stopped the sport of strongman as I had to focus on business.
Are you satisfied/contented with your body now and why?
Yes and no. I am fitter than I was 10 years ago, but not at my fittest which was three years ago when I was competing regularly.
What kind of comments do you get about your body?
"You don't look 60kg!"
Did you ever feel insecure about your body before?
In my early 20s when I was almost hitting 70kg. I had let myself go then, so I was flabby and had a very unhealthy diet. I decided to do something about it and started training again.
Who is your fitness inspiration?
Ksenia Dedukhina. She is the current world kettlebell champion who can snatch 202 reps with a 24kg kettlebell for 10 minutes. Beast!