Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Jane Lee

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Jane Lee works as a full-stakc developer.
Jane Lee works as a full-stakc developer. (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: Lee Jane (@carcinojane)

Height: 1.56m

Weight: 42kg

Occupation: Full-stack developer

Food: I strongly believe in eating in moderation. I find that whenever I try to restrict myself from eating certain foods I end up having strong cravings for them. I like thinking that “I can eat this, but I choose not to” rather than “I can’t eat this because I’m on a diet”.

Exercise: I try to do Tabata or any online workout at least twice a week on weekdays. Then I’ll do yoga on Saturday morning and pole dancing in the afternoon.

Q: You weren’t really sporty when you were younger.

A: I was highly involved in performing arts such as Chinese opera, cheerleading, choir and drama club. But I guess you could say that Chinese opera and cheerleading were my first physically demanding activities.

I used to be one of the taller kids, so I filled the role of a stunt base in cheerleading and both activities consisted of intense stretching regimes and body movements.

Jane does Tabata, Yoga and pole dancing to keep herself fit.
Jane does Tabata, Yoga and pole dancing to keep herself fit. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

It was in secondary school that I got a little closer to sports. I joined the St. John Brigade to pick up first aid skills so that I could take better care of my grandparents at home (little did I know that it was a physically demanding activity).

On top of the tough physical training and regular team sports, as a rebellious teenager, my officers often punished me and I hated that. So, I worked really hard to get fit, in an attempt to make these punishments seem easy. Of course, that did not turn out well. The punishments just got more severe and so did my discipline and endurance.

How did you get into cheerleading and how was it?

In all honesty, I wanted to be a dancer, but I did not have the confidence to audition for a spot. Then I got poached by some cheerful cheerleaders at the CCA fair.

Being in a cheerleading team can be brutal to your self-confidence though. I was not very good at it and nobody wanted to stunt with me, so I focused on personal training. I worked out every day.

It was quite hurtful as I would hear my teammates gossiping about how bad I was, and it felt impossible to improve since no one was willing to practise with me. I broke down several times and that made me even more determined to overcome the hurdles.

Cheerleading is a very competitive sport – you have many teammates but only 24 slots per competition team. Not every member would be a "good sport"; not everyone will celebrate your achievements or progress with you. But that's fine, identify these people early and learn to filter out their negative comments.

Over time, with the right teammates and hard work, I got better at the sport and started to enjoy myself. I made it into the competing team but none of my teammates were willing to be my stunt partner, so someone sacrificed himself for the team (@incrediblerandall).

Randall spent almost everyday practising with me. He encouraged me and as I got better, I was able to work with other teammates and accomplish higher level stunts. I went on to compete in three seasons of cheerleading competitions during my three years in the team.

I love the sport, the blood, sweat and tears cried as a team. I truly hope that every cheerleader would be supportive, especially towards weaker teammates.

Jane Lee takes part in cheerleading competitions.
Jane Lee takes part in cheerleading competitions. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

What other sport did you get into, as you grew older?

I ventured into many different sports. I was a gym junkie, I tried MMA (mixed martial arts), Muay Thai, boxing, calisthenics, body pump, tennis, yoga, rock climbing and I just started pole dance classes. My personal favourites are cheerleading, yoga, Muay Thai, body pump and pole.

What are you currently pursuing in fitness?

My fitness goal is to keep fit enough to enjoy the sports I love and those that I’ve yet to try. It’s going well! I love free workout sessions which mostly translate to YouTube videos and bodyweight workouts. I started pole dancing when the Phase II restrictions were lifted.

Through your life, did you experience any incidents that made you feel insecure about yourself?

I am quite ashamed to talk about this, but I went through the “Freshman 10” in my first year of university. For the first time in my life, I reached my “healthy weight”, however I was extremely insecure about it and I did the craziest things to lose weight. 

I remember submerging myself in self-deprecating humour and trying hard to starve myself. I set an alarm at 6am everyday to get up for 10km jogs and my wallpaper read self-insults which acted as my motivation to get up. Most nights I jogged late into the night and still woke up the next day to run.

Jane went through a period when she did crazy things to lose weight.
Jane went through a period when she did crazy things to lose weight. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

It did not turn out well. I realised that I was worn out, I did not enjoy myself and I was still that same girl filled with insecurities. I decided not to let these insecurities dictate my life. I don't want to be defined by some numbers on a scale. That was when I started to experience what some people call the “gym high”. I truly enjoyed my workouts and rewarded myself with the food I love.

I felt confident and happier when I accepted my body. I enjoy working out to keep fit a lot more than working out to “not be fat”.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

I am not entirely satisfied with my body now. I'd like to get stronger and more flexible.

Have you ever received any comments about your body?

I've received both positive and negative comments about my body. I love the positive comments as it makes me feel great. Conversely, negative comments can get to me sometimes. I might skip a cake or a meal when it gets to me but I will never let it weigh me down for too long!

If you could change anything about yourself, would you?

I would like to improve myself, I want more adventures, and become more daring and confident.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Jane Lee.  (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Jane Lee. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
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