Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Clarissa Seow

Clarissa Seow is an engineer as well as a fitness instructor.
Clarissa Seow is an engineer as well as a fitness instructor. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

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: Clarissa Seow Jie Ru (@clarissajieru)

Age: 23

Height: 1.61m

Weight: 52kg

Occupation: Engineer/Fitness Instructor

Status: Attached

Food: I love food, especially local food like mee pok and mixed rice. I don’t adhere to any specific diet usually, but I make it a habit to include vegetables or fruits in my meals. In general, I do have a preference for cleaner food as well. I am not a fan of strong-tasting food that is excessively oily so I tend to avoid them. I love drinking water and tea so I do try to make sure I drink at least three litres daily.

Exercise: I make it a goal to do at least one physical activity every day just to keep my body moving and active. I love sweating and it is definitely a ‘must-have’ every day. Activities that I plan for myself for a week include hitting the gym, indoor cycling, versa climbing, static exercises and running. Due to my hectic work schedule, I try to pick activities that are more convenient for me to get into and incorporate into my lifestyle.

Q: Were you an active kid?

A: I would believe that I was a rather active kid. I was always quite jumpy and enjoyed running around outdoors. I also started dancing in school as a co-curricular activity because I find joy in music and moving with people. I used to watch the gymnasts at the Olympic Games on TV and admire how strong they look and the incredible things they were able to do. I think watching these videos motivated me to be more active as I wanted to be strong too.

Clarissa makes it a goal to do at least one physical activity every day.
Clarissa makes it a goal to do at least one physical activity every day. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

What did you get into as you got older?

As I got older, I started accompanying my mother to the gym hoping to improve my physique as well. My mum and I had very different fitness goals at that point in time but luckily I got some help from her trainer to meet my fitness goals. I wanted to strengthen and condition my teenage self in hopes of growing stronger after every gym session. Before that, I was mostly doing cardio exercises and felt like I needed to cross train for strength and conditioning purposes.

What are your fitness goals now?

I don’t think my fitness goals have ever changed from before till today. My focus has always been to work hard and to strive for self-improvement. Nowadays, I am primarily focused on cardio and strength exercises but I have started to pay more attention to body recovery as well. Sometimes, it is not just about looking good or being strong. I think it is important to have a good understanding of your body, but it feels like this aspect tends to be neglected by many. Likewise, I highly advocate exercises that are targeted toward better mobility and balance as they are essential for overall health as well.

You're an instructor at Revolution and Clmb. How did you become a fitness instructor?

I first started getting into indoor cycling because of a Jennifer Aniston movie back in 2019. In the movie, she mentioned that she took spin classes to maintain her physique and I was wondering what that was. I went to research it and found that it is actually a pretty interesting workout on a stationary bike.

I immediately booked my first class and needless to say, I enjoyed it. Never have I ever felt so amazed at a workout and it was at this moment that I found myself hooked to rhythmic workouts. Soon after, Revolution – an indoor cycling studio in Singapore – opened in 2020 and I frequented classes until a fellow instructor invited me to the instructors’ audition at the studio.

I trained hard to become a fitness instructor because I knew that this job was one that holds great responsibility. As an instructor, it is my role to ensure that class-goers get to work out in a safe environment while making sure that my programme is effective and fun for them. I further pursued the study of fitness by going for fitness certifications so that I could equip myself with the right knowledge to help people.

Clarissa's fitness goal is to work hard and strive for self-improvement.
Clarissa's fitness goal is to work hard and strive for self-improvement. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

CLMB is Singapore’s first versa climbing studio. It is a vertical climbing exercise that mimics the natural climbing movement that works the whole body. Similarly to indoor cycling, it is a rhythmic class as well. I first tried this exercise when I visited London and It was definitely interesting as it really worked the whole body. It felt like a super effective workout. When the studio first opened in Singapore, I was asked whether I would be interested to be part of the team, so I took the opportunity and started my training with team.

What do you like about teaching fitness?

I love that I am a part of people’s fitness journeys. I love that I am in a position to inject some element of fun into their exercisesvand hopefully, motivate them to exercise more frequently. I love curating classes and ensuring that people feel satisfied after coming to class. It is like packing a whole set of happiness in 45 minutes, hoping that these 45 minutes would make people’s days even better.

Conversely, what are the challenges?

There are definitely challenges in planning for classes. I am currently a group fitness instructor and one of the challenges is the planning of classes. Due to the difference in fitness level in an open class, the challenge is the impromptu switching and changing of choreography in order to accommodate the larger group and ensure everyone can enjoy a good workout together. Also, there is a need to be alert and really look out for and offer assistance to class-goers when they are feeling lost or encounter any problems.

Sometimes I do doubt myself, wondering whether I am a good instructor. I am worried that I am not able to offer the best workout experience to class-goers because my planning was not perfect or simply because my style does not suit some. I constantly remind myself to worry less and just do what I think is best.

When you were younger, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?

I would be lying if I said that I have never experienced any incidents that made me feel insecure about myself. Growing up, I always had access to social media and the myriad of fitness and body content available online. Naturally, I found myself comparing myself to the ‘perfect’ bodies I see online. Thinking back, it was really quite unhealthy to use them as a comparison as a growing teenager who is still trying to figure herself out.

Clarissa love being a part of others' fitness journeys.
Clarissa love being a part of others' fitness journeys. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Did you go through any adversities in life that made you change how you viewed life?

Yes, for sure. I was bullied back in school and the experience was horrible. Looking back, I am actually thankful for that experience because it really pushed me to re-direct all my attention to my personal goals and achievements. Ever since then, I have focused on self-improvement. I plan and periodically set goals for myself so I can constantly have something to work towards and never stay stagnant.

Did you ever struggle with your body?

Definitely yes. Sometimes, when I begin to see little or minimal progress in my body during my training, I start to question the effectiveness of my routine. It affects me psychologically as it causes me to overthink and this made me struggle with my body for a while. However, I always remind myself that fitness is a lifelong journey and that progress is not always directly proportional to the amount of time spent in training.

It is important to stay consistent and results will follow for sure. My biggest struggle now is striking a balance between work and the time I have to train myself. At times, I do find it hard to utilise my free time for training and struggle to maintain my physique as a result. I tackle this issue by scheduling time for my workouts.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

I would say that it is a work in progress. From a performance standpoint, there are certainly some aspects of my body that I feel can be further improved. I feel that my body has yet to reach its full potential and there is much more that I can work on in terms of power, strength, speed, agility, etc. I am not fully satisfied with my body but I definitely do not detest it. I am very thankful and contented to have a body that allows me to move and do incredible things.

Have you ever received any comments about your body?

Yes, I do receive comments about my body, mostly compliments so I am definitely thankful for that. Looking back, I would have definitely chosen to start my fitness journey a little earlier and of course, train myself to be more disciplined in my training.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Clarissa Seow.
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Clarissa Seow. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)