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: Gisele Lim (@gizbabefit)
Occupation: Special Education Teacher
Food: I prefer whole, unprocessed food (whole grain, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts) but I also don’t restrict myself when I feel like having chips or ice cream. I believe the key is moderation and sustainability. After all, the best diet in the world is one that you can stick to.
Exercise: I do a six-days split with one rest day. I do weight training mostly and a couple of indoor cycling sessions weekly.
Q: You only started getting into fitness in your adult life.
A: Yup, I was never athletic growing up. I’m always the one faking stomachache during PE lessons so I could just sit at the corner and do nothing.
Then I started out with yoga and Pilates when I was 30 (yes, I started way late) after childbirth and that evolved into functional training and eventually weight training.
How you get into bodybuilding?
My first personal trainer was a competitive bodybuilder and she saw the potential in me. She encouraged me to pursue bodybuilding and later became my mentor and coached me through my first few competitions.
What do you like about bodybuilding so much?
Bodybuilding, and fitness, has become a lifestyle for me. I’ve developed a routine and habit to train and eat right. I love that the focus, grit and discipline involved in bodybuilding translates into other aspects of my life.
I remember a quote that says, “A well-built physique is a status symbol. It reflects that you worked hard for it and no money can buy it. You cannot inherit it. You cannot steal it. You cannot borrow it. You cannot hold on to it without constant work. It shows dedication. It shows discipline. It shows self-respect. It shows dignity. It shows patience, work ethic, passion.”
What are some of the highlights of your bodybuilding pursuit?
I’ve competed in both local and overseas bodybuilding competitions from 2014 to 2017. From placing dead last at my first overseas competition to winning first place a year after at the Olympia Amateur Hong Kong in 2017, these were definitely unique and memorable moments.
The last competition I signed up for was the 2020 Arnold’s Classic in Australia. Unfortunately, two days before the show, my flight was cancelled because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
What are your fitness goals now?
My fitness goal has always been to be stronger and healthier. I might be competing again but that’s not my priority now.
I will be doing my Masters and my daughter is going through her O Levels this year. So, these are my priorities unless there’s a show or competition that doesn’t contradict that, I will consider doing.
Have you experienced any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?
Growing up I was very tall and skinny and that made me insecure. I was often teased and bullied because of that.
Losing my mom to cancer in 2014 also spurred me to start taking care of my health. It made me question, why do we only start watching our health when something bad happens?
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
After childbirth, I developed stretch marks and loose skin around my abdomen. I felt ugly and insecure especially when I had to put on a swimsuit.
Over time, I learnt to accept, appreciate and understand my body. Today, I wear my stretch marks as a badge of honour for what my amazing body went through.
Did you ever struggle with your body?
At my lightest, I weighed 49kg (I’m 60kg now), back in my twenties when being skinny was fashionable!
But now, I’ve never been stronger, fitter, healthier and happier in my life! My muscles are the best fashion accessories to wear – free and will never go out of fashion!
Have you ever received any comments about your body?
Of course! Some like it, some don’t, but you know what? Women who dare to venture into the gym dominated by males are the ones who are not afraid of what others might think or comment about their bodies.
If you could change anything about yourself, would you?
Nope! My imperfections make me, me.
Message to the world?
I hope to inspire people to start eating right, get active and start taking care of themselves at any age.