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 up on or !
Occupation: fitness trainer
Status: Attached (long-distance relationship)
Food: My number one rule is to never skip breakfast. I would typically start my day with a warm glass of apple cider vinegar with lemon. For breakfast, I would make a simple banana porridge or fruit bowl with Greek yogurt. For lunch and dinner, it’s either a high-protein bowl or chicken wrap. I love a green smoothie after a workout or as a mid-day treat. Sometimes I’d even indulge in bubble tea!
Exercise: I usually do Barry's Bootcamp two to three times a week (between teaching classes there) and weight training once a week at the gym. On other days, I would take a spin class, boxing, yoga or go for an outdoor run.
Q: Why weren’t you active in sports at a younger age?
A: My interests were in creative arts and music. I joined the art club in primary school and played cornet in the military band in secondary school. I dropped out of military band because I kept fainting during the drills. I was anaemic, which made me weak and tired very easily. Once, I even fainted on a moving escalator and chipped both my front teeth. I guess this explains why I wasn’t active in sports back then.
Then you got into modelling.
Yes, I started modelling in my teenage years but due to my unhealthy eating habits and no exercise, I gained weight soon after I started modelling. I overheard a photographer mentioning to another model that I looked different in person than in the pictures he saw online where I was ‘a lot skinnier’. That made me become extremely self-conscious about my body and it made me really depressed. I thought going on a diet meant eating less, so I would skip meals and became obsessed with weighing myself every morning.
I was desperate to lose weight quickly, especially when there was an upcoming photoshoot or model casting. I kept a food journal and became obsessed with eating as little as possible. Whenever I get depressed, I end up binge eating on fast food. Whenever I was stressed out or overwhelmed, I won’t eat at all. I was so unhealthy that it showed up on my skin.
Dealing with acne was the worst, as it made me even more insecure about my appearance. I went to a dermatologist and tried everything that was prescribed, except changing my diet.
What was the turning point?
.I read this book called ‘Body For Life’ by Bill Phillips and the transformation stories inspired me to improve my physical fitness, live healthier and make a change in my lifestyle habits that lasts. I finally decided to cut out fast food completely and started eating a well-balanced diet, incorporating more fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Having a personal trainer helped tremendously as I was new to the gym, which was a daunting place to me in the beginning
Everyone will have a different point of view of what an ideal shape looks like. Instead of trying to look a certain way, I developed a more loving relationship with my body and wear what feels good for me. I’m buying clothes that fit, rather than trying to fit in a certain size.
Besides struggling with weight and physical appearance, did you struggle with confidence in other ways?
I used to get picked on in school for looking too dorky. I always felt awkward in social situations and was never one to strike up a conversation. To overcome this lack of confidence in myself, I chose to sing the National Day song in Mandarin on stage in front of the entire school. I had to memorise the lyrics as Mandarin is not my native tongue. For others it may not be a big deal to be on stage, but for me, it was honestly one of the most liberating moments in my life. I gained more confidence in public speaking and had more practice as I went on to host events and on television.
Are you satisfied with your body now?
Yes! Since I recovered from a fractured ankle that took months to fully heal, I learned to shift my focus on what my body can do rather than what it looks like. At the time, I was just about to start my job as a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp which unfortunately, had to be put on hold.
I learnt to appreciate even the simplest tasks such as walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water – this wasn’t easy when I was on crutches. I was happy to finally be able to squat, lunge and run again when my body fully healed. More importantly, I am able to continue my profession as a trainer and help others along their fitness journey.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
I find it easy to stick to a routine but when it comes to making plans, I always leave things to the last minute. Especially when it comes to social plans, I can be such a hermit.