Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: MMA ring girl Mel Tan

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 FacebookTwitter and Instagram (cheryltay11).

Photo by Cheryl Tay
Photo by Cheryl Tay

Name: Mel Tan (@meltan0304)

Age: 29

Height: 165cm

Weight: 57kg

Occupation: Assistant HR manager / ONE Championship ring girl

Status: Attached (sorry!)

Diet: Not afraid to eat big but no rice at night; salad or juice for lunch twice a week; will try to eat clean after a day of indulgence

Training: In a week – Muay Thai/Brazilian Jiu-jitsu twice, rock climbing once, pole dancing once, running once

Photo by Cheryl Tay
Photo by Cheryl Tay

Q: You’re probably the fittest ONE FC ring girl we've seen. Have you always been this sporty?

A: I played basketball from the age of 12 and then I ran the 400m event in school, as well as triple jump. I set the school record for 400m at my secondary school back in Malaysia. However, after I started working, I became busy and neglected my fitness.

It was only in 2012 when I started jogging and then my friend introduced me to pole dancing. I enjoyed pole so much that I was doing it three times a week for two years. I eventually stopped running in 2014. Right now I’m still doing pole but I also enjoy doing a variety of activities, such as Muay Thai, rock climbing, trekking and hiking. I just went to climb Mount Kinabalu!

You took part in FHM Girl Next Door 2013 and you said you were nearly 10kg lighter then. How has your body changed?

Yes, I was about 49kg back then and right now I’m about 8kg heavier but it doesn’t bother me at all. I accept that weight is not a good indicator of your body. Initially I couldn’t accept it and I used to obsessively weigh myself every day! End of the day, just keep a good balance between your diet and training and be confident about your body.

What kind of comments have you received about your body?

I noticed my body became more athletic and toned, especially in the last two years. I didn’t intentionally aim for this body; it came as a result of all the things I do. I feel healthier and I like the way my body is now!

You have a big appetite (Mel ate roti prata, dim sum and an American breakfast set with this writer after the photoshoot). Do you make any effort to eat healthy?

(Sheepish grin) I’m not afraid to eat a lot and I think you should just eat, as long as it is in moderation and you balance it with exercise. I do eat clean, especially after a big indulgence. But most of the time I eat healthy – healthy and clean doesn’t have to be boring. Just eat real food and throw out the processed food.

Do you find it harder to eat clean during that time of the month?

Yes! It’s harder to resist cravings during the period, especially in the evenings, so I just use exercise to feel better.

You probably picked up Muay Thai and BJJ after being influenced by ONE FC. What do you like about mixed martial arts (MMA)?

Indeed, I became interested in MMA because of ONE FC and I think it’s useful for girls to pick up some martial arts so we can learn how to protect ourselves!

Do you have a fitness inspiration?

Yes, Michelle Lewis!

Photo by Cheryl Tay
Photo by Cheryl Tay