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: Rachel Wong (Instagram: @tinymightylifts)
Diet: Carb cycling – meat on weekdays with nuts and vegetables; carb loading of bread, noodles and rice during the weekend
Training: Six times a week of a run before hitting the gym for weights training of different body parts such as arms, legs, chest, back and shoulders
What kind of sports did you do as a kid?
I was integrated into an active lifestyle from a very young age. I swam, cycled and was part of my primary school’s touch rugby team in my preteens. Subsequently, I joined my school’s softball team in secondary school, which helped to increase my fitness. I also started running in Secondary 2. Running became my top priority and I completed my first full, as well as half, marathon at 16 years old. I also pursued triathlons for two years.
Looking at how confident you are with your body now, it’s hard to believe you once suffered body image issues. Tell us more.
I suffered from bulimia since I was nine and subsequently struggled with many body image issues. As a more introverted child, I never voiced out such worries. I recall hating jeans, dresses or t-shirts because I was under the impression that they made me look short and fat. My body image issues carried on through my teenage years and finally subsided in Junior College.
When did you start lifting weights?
I started going to the gym in my first year of Junior College as I was keen on building a more toned physique. I love lifting heavy because it makes me feel stronger and challenges me both physically and mentally. I think that lifting has instilled in me a can-do-it attitude and has helped me to learn to be a more disciplined person. The joy of breaking old personal records is definitely a motivation for me too.
Were you not afraid of getting bulky and big when you started lifting weights?
I never had the worry about becoming bulky, because I have always known that it is harder for girls to put on muscle as compared to guys. In fact, I rather liked the idea of putting on size, because I have always admired muscular physiques.
How has your fitness journey changed your life?
My fitness journey from running marathons to lifting weights has made me a stronger person. More importantly, lifting weights and learning that I have the ability to change the way I look and feel about myself has helped me to conquer my body image issues.
I have emerged as a person constantly seeking improvement and I have also learnt to be humble and to always seek advice from people around me because I feel that fitness is something that can be shared and one can always learn something new from people around them.
Do you receive any comments about your body? How do you deal with the negative ones?
I do get people warning me not to get too big, or else I will look like a man and remain single forever. I also do get comments that I am still fat or just a “wannabe”. But I believe that in fitness, everything is constantly changing. Everyone is definitely entitled to their own opinions but I know that as long as I work hard and am satisfied with my own end result and it matches my goal physique, all other negative criticisms are irrelevant.
What advice do you have for girls who want to look like you?
I have girls approaching me in the gym to ask me questions like how to do pull ups or build more muscle. My advice is to eat right and eat snacks in moderation. Cardio is important for cardiovascular health, but the secret to looking good is to not target body parts and only do crunches for abs, but rather, lift weights and tone your whole body.
Fats cannot be spot reduced and lifting weights will also help to improve body image. Hard work and consistency is definitely the key to success. Start by hitting any gym you are comfortable with and be open; make friends and ask for advice.