Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Victoria Lim

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 (cheryltaysg).

Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay

Name: Victoria Lim (Instagram: @thepinksoldier)
Age: 24
Height: 1.67m
Weight: 59kg
Occupation: Key Leader at Lululemon Athletica
Status: Attached
Diet: Eats everything and has a soft spot for desserts and truffle fries
Training: Touch rugby twice a week, CrossFit three times a week, spinning once a week, hot yoga on weekends and a new sport once a week
What got you working out?
I have always been active since I was a child, with an uncle who encouraged and emphasised the importance of keeping an active lifestyle. I enjoyed being active and would take PE lessons in school very seriously. However, it was only until I was 18 that I started doing sports competitively.

What sport did you compete in?
I entered touch rugby at Republic Polytechnic and played at the Inter-Varsity Poly Games. I was only in Year 1 and as a junior, I didn’t expect to be chosen on the team. I eventually became captain of the team and we gave it a new name – RP Rainbows, because we chanced upon a rainbow at night after one of our more challenging games.

To be able to lead my team of very fun, lovable and talented 16 girls was my greatest honour and joy.  I went for the trials alone, because I had a passion for sports and I never thought I would become captain, especially when I’m not the best player.

Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay

What is it about touch that you like so much?
I feel free on the field. I love diving and my signature must-have on the field is my long socks. I cannot play a game without long socks. I like how my mind shuts off anything non-game related and during that time, only everything on the field matters. I love feeling carefree and also the reassurance and security you get from communicating with your teammates by your side. I also love the adrenaline from diving to score that try and I can't get enough of it even if it means drinking muddy water on rainy days or getting grass in my mouth.

How difficult it is to balance retail hours and an active fitness regime?
Well, I wouldn't say it is difficult as long as you can manage your time. There needs to be a balance in life and a good awareness of your health too. If you are exhausted from work and lack of sleep, best recovery is to rest. I am blessed with a good job that supports my love for fitness so I'm loving it!

Have you not been confident about your body before?
From the age of 13, I struggled with low self-esteem and lost my confidence. I didn’t know how to deal with people's opinions and criticisms about how I look. All I wanted was to go to school and the next thing I knew I was getting mean and hate comments and people start giving me weird looks at school.

I felt lost and paranoid so I stayed low and kept my eyes only to the floor so that nobody will notice me; I thought there was a problem with how I look. That was where I developed insecurities about my body and I felt ugly. It didn’t help that social media added more stress by portraying what society perceived is "ideal" for a woman's body.

Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay

What did you do to improve your confidence then?
As a teenager I tried going on diets but it got me really unhappy because I love food and I kept getting hungry so I got cranky. I tried many ways to lose weight but they were shortcut methods that obviously didn’t work and got me nowhere. Eventually I just let the negativity sink into me and I “accepted” that I am never good enough and that I deserve the criticisms

So are you contented with your body now?
Yes I am. I don't think I have the perfect body but we don’t have to let ourselves be defined. I have overcome the mental barrier about societal stereotypes and I don't care what people think about how I look as long as I am happy. I am active, I eat a lot and it makes me happy! Everything else will fall into place as long as you're happy because that is all that matters.

What kind of comments do you get about your body now?
That I'm too muscular?! "Do you want to look like a man?" "Omg Vic, your arms are so muscular. Don't you think you are training too hard?” “Oh Vicky, wah your thunder thighs ah…”

To be frank, these comments don’t bother me because firstly, I really am nothing close to being muscular. But, I earned this. Nobody gave this body to me. If you want it, you got to go get it.

Every muscle I have is from hard work; from feeling like death and wanting to give up yet fighting through the exhaustion. People who pass such comments don’t know what I’ve been through at training to get this. I don’t work out for physical appearances; I just enjoy the process.

Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Victoria Lim. Photo: Cheryl Tay

As you grew older, how have your opinions on fitness and body image changed?
I became less bothered about my body image as I got more passionate about fitness. I understand that the body changes depending on the sport you do – for example, more muscular or lean – but what matters most is that I am happy with the process.

Why should people make an effort to lead an active lifestyle?
A challenge I would like to put out to everyone is to do one thing a day that scares you, breaks you and renews you. I wouldn’t say people should be forced to make an effort out of guilt or obligation as effort comes from within and if they are unwilling, it isn’t going to be consistent.

People should look at leading an active lifestyle for good health and to be able to spend more time doing things they are passionate about and with their loved ones. I am always making sure I eat healthy and stay active for myself and my loved ones as I will be sad if I have to miss out anything in life.

Just a daily reminder – “This is the life you design it to be and it will become what you deem it to be in your daily actions. This is not your practice life, this is all there is.”