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: Christel Fung (@_paradiseseeker_)
Occupation: business development manager, fitness trainer and content creator
Food: I love my vegetables, so all my meals are based on that. For protein, I will always gravitate towards fish and eggs. My go-to snacks are fruits and yogurt, and of course the occasional chocolate!
Exercise: I try to move my body for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Any type of workout will make me happy! I mix it up with leisure runs with my dogs, longboarding, rollerblading and cycling. If I have more time, I will add in some functional training, CrossFit, and the occasional Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). And when the sun is out, playing frisbee, stand up paddling, and swimming.
Q: You were in competitive swimming from a young age. How did you get into it?
A: I mainly started because my mum enjoyed swimming and I would join her for some laps around the pool. Shortly after, I was enrolled in classes, but I think it was mostly because my parents wanted some time off from handling us four kids.
I seemed to enjoy the water tremendously and went on to represent Singapore in a swim meet in Vietnam when I was 10 years old. As I was small in size, I would lose out in the short-distance events. So, I started to compete in butterfly and freestyle in the longer distances. I did pretty well in those and competed in open water and triathlon competitions as well. I’ve swam competitively for 15 years.
What were some highlights of your swimming career?
Honestly, I enjoyed every single time I competed, especially in overseas competitions. It was where I got to meet people from all over the world, sharing the same passion. The atmosphere is always filled with such positive energy and the after-competition parties are always wonderful.
What were some of the lows?
One of the lowest points was when I was training up for the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and I got into an accident that put me out of sports for about a year. Plus, it was also during my A-Level examinations.
But like every hurdle, you just have to hop, climb or pull yourself over it and continue to push on. I recovered from that accident and was back representing Singapore a year later. That episode was a low point in my life but on the positive side, I have a cool scar to show for it.
When did you decide that you were done with competitive swimming?
I decided to stop swimming competitively after I graduated from university. It was the time where I got the opportunity to travel the world not for competition, but for leisure. It really did open my eyes to so many opportunities and possibilities out there.
There were so many new things to try and so much to see when you aren’t training twice a day, six days a week. Don’t get me wrong, I still do love swimming and would do the occasional laps around the pool or beach, but I also wanted to try out other sports and learn other skills.
You're a highly active person now. What keeps you motivated to be so active?
I do lots of various sports now, mostly because I can’t sit still for very long and I always want to dabble in everything. My go-to besides swimming, running, and cycling, are functional training, CrossFit, and diving. I have learned a lot about BJJ and Muay Thai recently, more for self-defence. I do enjoy the occasional peaceful longboarding or rollerblading around parks, the camaraderie at tennis matches and the meditative slacklining sessions.
I think being active started from a young age and being consistent at it helps too, to the point that I would feel more tired and lethargic if I didn’t move my body. But the main thing that keeps me going now isn’t for the looks or body type, but more about the functionality and the new skills acquired when learning new sports.
The thing I love about fitness is that everything is interrelated. For example, the flexibility in yoga allows you to get the rotations you need in BJJ and Muay Thai. The strength in the ability to execute a one-legged pistol squat gives you the balance you need when slacklining. Or the unpretentious running sessions give you the cardiovascular advantage for longer breath holds when diving. Fitness is a beautiful thing and it helps to keep the body healthy, radiant, and strong.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
As I mentioned earlier, I got into an accident that left me pretty scarred mentally and physically. I lost most of my muscle and cardiovascular endurance when I was recuperating, and as a national athlete, it does take a toll on your mental state when you lose the main thing that you are good at. But I decided to replace the time to focus on my studies, and slowly get my endurance back when I was fully healed.
Did you ever struggle with your body?
Not really. I was mostly focused on what my body could do rather than how it looked and it is something that I still focus on today.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Very satisfied. I know my body can now accomplish anything that stands in its way. Physically and mentally.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
All the time. Both positive and negative. But it only matters what I think about it.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
Does flying work here? If not, I’m good as I am!