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: Melissa Wang
Diet: When preparing for competition, she ate 6 meals a day of oatmeal and egg whites for breakfast; chicken breast, tilapia, brown rice and veggies for the rest of the meals
Training: Weight training with a focus on legs and glutes three times a week; morning boot camp twice a week and one hour intense cardio session.
What sports have you been involved in your whole life?
I started swimming and ice skating at an early age, then I swam competitively throughout middle school and high school. Later, I became a certified National Life Guard of Canada as well as a Lifesaving Instructor. During college, I taught at a local community recreation centre to support my college expenses. I also cheered for University of Toronto Varsity Cheerleading for three years.
When did you start going to the gym?
I started going gym after I quit swimming at 18. I gained a scary 20lbs over one winter! My training stopped but my appetite didn't.
When did you start lifting weights?
A year ago when I met a trainer friend who gave me a taste of gain! I saw quick results and changes on my body, especially the lower part of the body so I recently asked him to put me back on a booty gain programme, Colombian standard!
Why did you decide to compete in a bikini fitness competition?
It's always been on my checklist. I want to impress myself and inspire others – especially for Asian ladies. Don't ever think that you can't be a bikini or fitness model because of your genetics. Thus I took part in 2015 MuscleMania Miss Bikini Asia and came in 4th.
How do you feel wearing a bikini in front of such a large audience?
I loved it! I had so much fun on stage. This is the other quality I didn't think I had until I got on that stage - I was not nervous and I didn’t get any stage fright at all. I was a little impressed with myself. I’ll definitely compete again, probably next year in bikini or fitness model category.
What are the challenges when preparing for such competitions?
Balancing work travel, training and meal prep. I also had a hard time cutting down, so I had to train extra hard and put in more hours. No going out, drinking or dinner dates... but it was totally worth it! I get to spend time with ME, learning more about who I am, what are my limits and what drives me.
Are you satisfied with your body now and why?
Even though I went back to my normal weight after the comp, I know so much about my body now and how my body reacts to certain foods or training.
What kind of comments do you get about your body?
Being Asian, I think people expect me to be skinny, flat and ‘muscle-less’. I often get questioned on why I want to gain muscles.
Did you ever feel not confident about your body before?
Sure. When I was in boarding school about 14 years of age, I starved myself for months to look good for some event I don't even remember.
Will you ever consider plastic surgery?
Not at this stage in life. I can still improve through exercise and diet, but I'm not opposed to it.
Why should people make an effort to lead an active lifestyle?
Your body is your best outfit. I can't speak for everyone, but I always believe active people have a healthier mind set and a more positive outlook on life. I want to be the type of people you want to surround yourself with.
Advice to people who are thinking of competing?
There are no shortcuts to having the body that you dream of. I'd like to share with you the five points I remind myself everyday: 1) believe in yourself, 2) set realistic goals, 3) do it now, 4) enjoy the journey and 5) never give up.