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: Natalie Yeo (@nattylifts)
Diet: Eats everything in moderation but makes wise meal choices such as choosing steamed fish over fried fish and removing the skin on chicken;
Training: A lot of high intensity interval training (HIIT) style workouts, supersets and circuits, as well as hot yoga or Ashtanga yoga once a week for recovery
Q: When did you start going to the gym?
A: I started going to the gym with my mum when I was 15, but we did mainly studio classes like yoga and body combat. I was introduced to heavy lifting two years ago by my current boyfriend and I enjoyed it because I like the feeling of being strong and that sense of achievement when I hit a personal record (120kg for deadlift for example).
Do you still do heavy lifting now?
Lifting heavy is not my goal now as I am now focusing on building physique. I lift heavy only once a week. Initially when I started I was afraid of getting big and bulky, but I soon realised these concerns were unfounded. I did put on muscle mass, especially at the start when I did powerlifting but that’s inevitable if you want to grow stronger. It puts curves in the right places and I like the muscle tone that lifting weights bring to the female body. I think it's sexy and I don't think I'll ever want to give that up. Just keep your caloric intake in check and you wouldn’t be growing too big.
What made you decide to join fitness competition NutriGirl?
I've always toyed with the idea of joining a fitness competition but I've never had the courage to jump right into a bodybuilding one because of a lack of experience. NutriGirl was my first fitness competition and I joined it because I really liked the whole element of going on a journey with the other girls and pushing our boundaries together. We were mostly amateurs, so it was a good learning experience.
Was that your first time wearing a bikini on stage?
It was! It’s pretty normal to feel a bit self conscious because you're strutting it out in front of a huge crowd (and lots of cameras!). But I took it as a step out of my comfort zone and basically went in with the mentality of having fun! We girls all worked so hard to achieve our physiques anyway, so we should carry it with confidence.
How has your fitness journey changed you as a person?
It has made me more attuned with my body, such as figuring out what works for me and what doesn't. I also feel more empowered, both physically and figuratively. I've never had Instagram till five months ago. I've also been getting positive comments, and to a certain extent, I am very grateful for the support and honoured to be able to inspire others.
I’ve also become more disciplined and resilient. The preparation for a fitness competition can really take its toll on you. It takes a lot of mental and physical willpower to find time to hit the gym, on top of a hectic schedule and having to watch the diet.