Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook!
Name: Alyssa Kau (@alyssakau)
Occupation: fitness instructor
Food: I try to eat as clean as possible but I am also learning to listen to my body and its cravings - even junk food cravings because it's usually your body's way of telling you that it needs a specific nutrient.
Exercise: I go on big walks with my dog every day and I get my workout in as I teach (perks of being a fitness instructor).
Q: You started in gymnastics.
A: Yes! I did gymnastics from when I was very young up until I was 13. After that I got into cheerleading, so I've always been into sports that require flexibility, movement, and balance.
I continued on with cheerleading as I got older, but then I got two injuries - I broke one hand cheerleading and then the other trying trapeze. I stopped cheerleading for a few years, but in that time I knew I still wanted to do something similar but better for my body. I ended up finding yoga and have stuck with it since then.
How did you become a fitness trainer?
I started getting more serious with fitness and yoga when I was in law school. As I went further down the path of law, I realised more and more that fitness truly called to me and that I wanted to be able to share the joy it brings me with others. That's when I decided to take my yoga teacher training that set me on the path to where I am today.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
Being a fitness instructor is tough work - your body is your tool and you are spending your entire day giving your physical, mental, and emotional energy out.
It is incredibly rewarding to see clients progress, but at the same time it's important to maintain balance and ensure you don't burn out.
When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?
I struggled with anorexia when I was younger - I thought being skinny was beautiful, which I think we still see a lot of in young girls even today. As I got more into fitness and became more confident in my body, I started to feel the benefits of proper nutrition and taking care of myself physically and mentally.
I became healthier physically, but most importantly I learned about acceptance. Our bodies are always changing and that's beautiful in itself as long as you're paying attention to what it needs and making sure it gets the nutrients it needs.
I was the least confident about myself when I was struggling with anorexia. I was stuck in a feedback loop of thinking I wasn't skinny enough, so I would try to get skinnier, and because I wasn't giving my body what it needed I would feel even worse. As I emerged from this cycle and focused on fitness and nutrition, I became a lot more confident in whom I am overall.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Yes! Of course I still have goals I am working towards that my body can't do yet, but they're more about skills and having the strength to do fun things, such as arm balances, rather than focusing on my appearance. The journey of getting there is part of the fun!
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
Yes of course - some good, some bad, some just kind of weird. For the most part now, I surround myself with good people, both friends and clients, and I would say the majority are positive - or asking me how I got stronger or more flexible so they can follow suit, which is great because I can help them get there!
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
I would say I'm always working to change something about myself. Physically, I'm happy with where I am. But mentally, I'm working on getting a bit more organised. I have a tendency to leave my laptop places or forget where I put things, so I definitely want to get better about that. :D