Advertisement

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Jennifer Kim: 'I feel strong and capable and that feels wonderful'

Be inspired by the success stories of fitness influencers, celebrities, models and trainers in Singapore

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Jennifer Kim is a strategic planner for an advertising agency.
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week Jennifer Kim is a strategic planner for an advertising agency. (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: Jenn Kim (@jenergyyyyy)

Age: 26

Height: 1.65m

Weight: 55kg

Occupation: Worked as a strategic planner at an advertising agency for the past two years but moving back to the US soon.

Status: Single

Food: Honestly I don’t follow any type of diet. I don’t think I have the self-control to, especially living right next to the Tiong Bahru Market haha. That being said, I try to eat relatively clean by getting enough protein and greens in and avoiding fast food. I’m lucky to have a fast metabolism but it also means I’m constantly hungry, so I’m still trying to explore how best to configure a diet that fuels me with enough energy throughout the day without experiencing mid-day crashes. Definitely a work in progress.

Exercise: My exercise regime has changed a lot over the past few years since moving back to Singapore in 2020. For the majority of 2020 to 2022, I trained four to six times a week as an equestrian and participated in many show-jumping and dressage competitions. I also discovered bouldering during that time and began climbing regularly, in addition to skateboarding and the occasional gym sesh on the side.

For the past year I’ve mostly turned my focus to yoga and hitting the gym, though I still dabble in those other activities from time to time. I’m always down to try a new sport or active activity with friends, as well and have gone for some cool classes in things like aerial silks and boxing, which are such a fun change of pace for me.

Jennifer did horseback riding in her younger days.
Jennifer did horseback riding in her younger days. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Q: Were you active in sports when you were younger?

A: Not particularly. Besides horseback riding, I hardly did any sports. I remember I even quit basketball when I was a kid because I bounced the ball on my foot too many times — talk about coordination haha.

I also had some knee problems throughout high school which restricted me from repetitive high-impact movements like running and jumping. Eventually I grew out of those knee issues but I certainly didn’t grow out of my distaste for running.

What did you get into as you got older?

When I began university, I joined my college’s equestrian team and competed on it for four years, having a blast with my teammates and even competing individually in collegiate Regionals. As mentioned, I also picked up sports like skateboarding, yoga and climbing over the years.

You mentioned you started getting more active in the last few years when you moved to Singapore.

I think a few things contributed to my becoming more active since moving to Singapore. For one, the downtime during the pandemic spurred me (like many others) to start exercising more as a way to pass the time. I have fond memories of skating down the long road behind my family’s house a few times a week during Circuit Breaker while there were still few cars out and about.

Second, because I ended up suddenly moving to Singapore due to COVID-19 and having to graduate online in 2020, I hadn’t found a job yet because my original plan was to finish school in the US and find a job over there. So, I ran into a lot of visa issues in the beginning which barred me from working here for a while, but on the flip side I had a lot more time to explore new activities and work out.

Lastly, I was lucky to immerse myself in a few different sports that I was passionate about which had wonderful communities as well. Getting to hang out with my friends while doing something I love is the best kind of motivation in my book.

Jennifer will be going for yoga teacher training to become an instructor.
Jennifer will be going for yoga teacher training to become an instructor. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

What are your fitness goals now?

I’m eagerly looking forward to my 200 hours yoga teacher training coming up in February to become a certified yoga instructor. Otherwise, I don’t have any specific fitness goals at the moment but I like to think I try and push myself towards progress in whatever sport I’m engaging in, whether that’s unlocking a new asana or hitting a PB (personal best) in the gym.

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

For sure - I definitely experienced my fair share of negative comments about my appearance, especially in middle and high school. I grew up attending international and American schools and went to a predominately white boarding high school in the US which led me to internalise a lot of misguided, white beauty standards.

It took a lot of unlearning and self-educating to understand where some of my insecurities came from and how my environments, as well as the media, heavily affected how I saw myself growing up.

When did you feel the least confident about yourself?

I had a pretty tough time in high school with my mental health and body image. In part, due to the reasons I mentioned earlier, but also due to how intense and demanding my high school education was. The school was like a pressure cooker for students and it didn’t help that I had left home at 14 to live thousands of kilometres away in order to go there on my own.

The school was insanely competitive on all accounts - academics, extracurriculars, sports, and social life - which led to a persisting feeling of inadequacy that I believe a lot of my classmates probably felt too. I think I only really overcame many of those insecurities once I entered college and grew more into myself. I was fortunate to have gone to a university where the campus culture motivated people to be themselves and embrace their uniqueness, and though it wasn’t perfect by any means, I’ll always be thankful for that.

Did you ever struggle with your body?

I did struggle a fair bit with body image and comparing myself to my peers while I was in high school. Though to be fair, it’s hard not to when you’re a teenage girl. Whenever my mental health was particularly rocky, I used to experience poor eating habits like skipping meals, sometimes not eating for an entire day and questioning if I looked thin enough.

Jennifer battled with her body image in her younger days.
Jennifer battled with her body image in her younger days. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

I believe it was mostly tied to anxiety and depressive symptoms rather than strictly disordered eating, but either way It was horrible and I’m extremely glad I don’t put myself through that anymore.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

I am! I feel strong and capable and that feels wonderful. I’ve become more active over the last few years than I’ve ever been before and I’m absolutely so much better for it. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel 100 per cent satisfied with my body but hopefully that just means there’s always something to work towards.

Do you get any comments about your body?

I guess I mostly tend to get comments about looking strong and fit. I used to have a hard time accepting such comments since I got asked things like, “Your shoulders are so broad, do you swim?”, which made me feel as though I looked too masculine. I do have some damn broad shoulders, but I’m trying to just embrace it and remind myself that I’d rather look and feel like this than the opposite.

If you could change anything about yourself, would you?

I’ve always been envious of people who knew exactly what their one passion was and committed themselves deeply to it. I moved around a million times growing up, never staying in one place for more than four years on average, making it pretty hard for me to conceptualise long-term plans. (Please don’t ask me where I see myself in five years.)

So if I could change anything about myself, I’d love to finally figure out what my calling is. But I guess in the meantime, I’m having fun in this ongoing exploratory phase and remaining open to whatever adventures and opportunities come my way.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Jennifer Kim (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Jennifer Kim (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)