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: Anna Klewer (@annainasia)
Food: I’m a pescetarian, meaning I don’t eat any meat, just fish and seafood. I generally eat very clean and aim for a low fat, low carb and high protein diet.
Exercise: I do weight training at the gym five to six times a week with another three high-intensity cardio sessions. On top of that, I target a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
Q: You weren't into fitness when you were a kid. Then you started going to the gym at 14 – what made you get into the gym?
A: As a kid I was not interested in sports and spent hours reading books instead. I grew very fast when I was 13, 14 years old and have been the same height ever since. As a result I started to have back pain so my doctor advised me to do some weight training to strengthen my back muscles. That’s why I signed up at a gym and started training. It was out of necessity, not because I was interested in it.
You did a lot of modelling as a teenager. Did that impact your body image and how you viewed yourself?
It’s not a secret that you have to fit into a certain size and have a skinny appearance as a model. Although, I think this stereotype is changing more and more, which I am very happy to see. When I was starting to model, I was 12kg lighter than I am now – at the same height.
But this is how I learned to be very disciplined with my nutrition and cooked a lot for myself so I could easily track my calorie intake. Back then I liked the skinny look, but my energy levels were not that great. I am much happier with my current body shape and fitness level.
You were offered an opportunity to become a full-time model in Hong Kong at 18. But you eventually turned it down and pursued your university studies instead. Why?
I always wanted to pursue a corporate career, so I knew for myself modelling would only be an additional income and I would not want to rely on it full-time. I like to challenge myself mentally and make money with my brain rather than with my appearance.
Also, as a model, there are too many factors out of your own control as well, which can add immense pressure. One season you might be super in demand because they are looking for your type, another one it can change so you don’t get any big jobs. And nothing you can do about it, no matter how good you are.
What’s an important life lesson you learnt from your modelling experience?
What matters in life is not how you look, but so much more what’s inside of you.
Your fitness regime picked up when you moved to Singapore five years ago.
Yes! I started to do dragonboating when I first moved to Singapore because I wanted to try out something new and meet new people. I enjoyed it so much and joined international competitions.
My goals in the gym changed with that, from looking and keeping fit to becoming stronger and become a better paddler. But then I pursued a part-time MBA besides my full time job and unfortunately had not enough time anymore to attend all training sessions and was just trying to push my fitness to new levels back at the gym again.
What are your fitness goals now?
I just turned 29 so my goal is to be in the best, fittest shape by the time I hit 30. I’d like to see how much I can improve if I put my mind and discipline into it without excuses. But I also really enjoy working out as it’s a great way to balance out sitting for hours in front of a computer with minimal movement during work.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
I think I reached the lowest confidence when I found out my ex-boyfriend was cheating on me, wondering if I am not attractive enough. But luckily I realised quite quickly that this was just a projection of his own insecurities and need for external attention and validation to feed his ego. Knowing and truly believing I deserve better, I gained back my confidence.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
I can definitely say I am content with my body now and proud of everything it is capable of. It was a journey and a lot of work, but I feel the older I get, the more content and accepting I am. No body is perfect (literally) so the best way to appreciate ourselves is to love our body the way it is – in every stage. We only have this one vessel to carry us through our lifetime, so we better take good care of it.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
Yes, both good and bad. When I was younger, I was quite shy and wanted to please everyone, so when I received any negative comments it affected me a lot. It took me some time to accept that everyone’s beauty standards are different and people sometimes don’t even know that their comments can be perceived as rude.
I do not care anymore if other people find me too skinny, too big, too curvy, too tall – I have to be happy with myself. But of course it’s also nice to receive compliments, knowing that the hard work and discipline shows. With that I have to say: The best compliments are coming from girls, I just find it so much more honest without any ulterior motives. I am all here for empowering each other.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
I am accepting myself the way I am. The only thing I would like to change is my metabolism which is super slow – eating more and not having to follow a strict diet would be great :)