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: Clare Yau (@clareyau)
Occupation: Freelance events producer
Diet: Being a foodie with a sweet tooth, I am really bad with diets. There is really no way to pry a dessert out of my hands. In order to strike some form of balance, I try to cut down on carbohydrates instead.
Training: I do daily long walks with my dog and higher intensity workouts like hiking, running or HIIT (high-intensity interval training) at least three times a week.
Q: What kind of sports did you do throughout your schooling days?
A: I did sports on both competitive and leisure level. I was competing in track and volleyball in primary and high school respectively. When I was younger, my father would bring me on weekly hikes as well on the weekends.
What other types of fitness or sports did you dabble into as you grew older?
I tried to gym regularly but I realised I function better in nature. I enjoy being out on the open waters –wakeboarding and wake surfing. Due to COVID-19, I've gone back to hiking off the beaten paths of Singapore as well. Nature amazes me all the time.
You were very active in wakeboarding previously. How did you get into it and why did you stop?
I did wakeboarding and wake surfing for the past 10 years. I first got into wakeboarding during my university days and immediately fell in love with it. Then I got injured about three years into the sport with trapezius muscle palsy. The funny thing is, I don't recall having a major incident that caused my injury. It just happened over time.
How did you deal with the injury?
It never went away. Till today, it is still an ongoing process of daily stretches and mini exercises in order to manage the pain. I just have to make a conscious effort to be diligent about it.
Back then, when I first got injured, it was really demoralising not being able to enjoy the sport or even sit upright without hurting. However, I was able to do wake surfing instead as it does not require as much upper body strength as wakeboarding and I still have an equal amount of fun on the water.
You were one of the few female wakeboarding instructors and boat drivers in Singapore. How did you get into this?
It was an expensive hobby for me as a university student back then and I got an offer to be a part-time instructor and boat driver. One of the perks of the job is that I can get to wakeboard during the non-peak hours – for free! Eventually I bought my own boat and ran it as a full-time business because I wanted to share my passion for the sport and the lifestyle.
What were some of the challenges?
There aren't many female boat drivers in Singapore because it is a relatively masculine job as we are constantly exposed to the natural elements like the harsh weather.
The biggest challenge though, was repairing and maintaining the boat engines. Through the years I’ve become somewhat of a mechanic.
Why did you switch careers?
After spending a decade teaching wakeboarding, an opportunity arose for me to take on the role of an event producer for an amazing company and it felt like the right time for me to embark on a new journey. After all, life is about constant learning and growth.
What does fitness mean to you?
I think being fit is being comfortable with your body and being able to physically execute your exercise programme safely. I actually have to go to a friend's place in order to weigh myself for this interview as I do not believe in weighing scales.
I believe in waking up every day and being happy with what I see in the mirror and if I don't, I'll work towards it. And if I would like to hike Bukit Timah, I don't have to worry about having a heart attack. That's fitness to me.
What are your fitness goals now?
Ideally, I would like to have a Victoria Secrets’ model body. Realistically speaking, I have a shoulder nerve injury and a knee injury that I am trying to condition right now.
What do you think are some of the misconceptions that people have about fitness these days?
You don't have to look like an Instagram fitness model in order to be categorised as fit. Like my answer to the previous question, it's important to differentiate being idealistic and realistic.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
It was exactly a year ago after I came back from a trip to Europe with extra holiday pounds due to binge eating. It's always disheartening to hear unwelcoming comments about weight gain. I stopped wearing body hugging clothes and swapped them out for oversized tops due to the lack of confidence.
It was when I realised my metabolic rate is no longer the same as compared to a decade back and made a lifestyle change to work out at least three times a week without any changes to my diet.
Are you contented with your body now?
Not at a 100 per cent but close. I got lazy towards the end of the circuit breaker period. Lost some of my stamina and gained some unwanted flab due to this laziness.
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
All the time! Some good, some bad.