Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: ONE Championship’s Kirstie Gannaway

Cheryl Tay

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 and on FacebookTwitter and Instagram (cheryltay11).

Photo by Cheryl Tay
Photo by Cheryl Tay

Name: Kirstie Gannaway
Age: 24
Occupation: Professional mixed martial artist (Evolve Fight Team)
Height: 165cm
Weight: Fights at 48kg
Status: Attached for four years to fellow ONE Championship featherweight Herbert Burns
Diet: Careful with amount of sugar and salt; cuts out as much processed food as possible when preparing for a fight
Training: Two to three times a day at Evolve MMA of two hours each time of various MMA disciplines such as wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Photo by Cheryl Tay
Photo by Cheryl Tay

Q: What is it about MMA that you like? It's not a typical girl sport.
I love how natural it feels when you move in MMA. There are a lot of options to attack and defend, many more than any other martial art. I believe instinct plays a big part in the success of MMA and mastering the art of performing on your instinct is a great feeling.

What advice do you have for women who want to pick up MMA?
My advice for any women interested to get into MMA is to relax, don't let the way you look concern you too much and focus on techniques. Getting techniques right from the start goes such a long way, especially if you want to improve and learn more advanced techniques, it will always come back down to how well you execute your basic technique.

I believe a common mistake made is how some try too hard to copy other fighters they admire or try really advanced or technical moves when they barely know how to do the basics yet. Choose where you train wisely too. Competing in martial arts might look like a one-man sport but it is the total opposite. In order to progress, you need others around you, for the support and knowledge.

What misconceptions about fitness does society have these days?
People still tend to pick up magazines or go online and read about diets, then see fit and strong-looking people in the media and think there is a specific equation to achieving that. But it doesn’t work that way. I honestly think most of the media revolving around fitness is unrealistic.

At the end of the day, not everyone has the time or luxury to be on an extreme strict diet and being able to work out all the time. Fitness is about incorporating exercise and a healthy lifestyle into one’s current regime.

How do you define fitness?
Fitness is about the lifestyle. Exercise and diet go hand in hand. One cannot achieve positive results without putting in the work for both of those things. At the end of the day, it is all about finding a balance and being able to do what you enjoy while giving your body and mind what it needs to work at its best.

Bad habits such as smoking or excessive drinking should be cut out completely to achieve top results physically and mentally. Once a person achieves a healthy lifestyle that works for them, they will see and feel results, undoubtedly giving them confidence and pride in themselves.

Did you ever struggle with body image issues or weight issues?
When I was younger, I went through phases of what I thought was nice or not, especially when I started with boxing and Muay Thai. I was more of a tomboy then and I used to wear my brother’s clothes! I like being strong and over the years my weight does fluctuate now and then, but I am fine with it and I embrace the way I look no matter what. I am very confident of my body!

What advice do you have for girls struggling with their bodies?
I would say to girls everywhere that we all have different body types. We all put on weight differently, shed weight differently and our bodies react differently to different diets. Ultimately, the fad will always change. One moment, the ‘in’ thing is to be skinny and the next, it is about being toned with some muscle. Try not to get sucked into those fads and just be yourself. It is about living a healthy lifestyle of a decent nutritious diet and an exercise regime that works for you and your body.

Photo by Cheryl Tay
Photo by Cheryl Tay