Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Ong Wei Yu

·7-min read
Ong Wei Yu is currently a personal trainer.
Ong Wei Yu is currently a personal trainer. (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: Ong Wei Yu (@ongweiyu)

Age: 28

Height: 1.65m

Weight: 58kg

Occupation: Personal trainer

Food: I usually eat food that are high in protein as I know I get hungry pretty easily. I’m not cutting at the moment right now and in fact, I'm trying to gain a little bit of weight so that I can build a little bit more muscle. Buff up!

Exercise: I used to focus more on strength, power and core due to volleyball but now I'm on the hypertrophy and core side since I left competitive beach volleyball. A little bit of plyo as well as I don't wanna lose my jump height haha, I worked really hard for it and may come in handy when I play leisure volleyball.

Wei Yu switched from netball to volleyball in her secondary school days.
Wei Yu switched from netball to volleyball in her secondary school days. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Q: How did you get into volleyball?

A: When I was in primary school, I was on the track team as a sprinter and high jumper. I was also on the netball team in primary school.

Then I got into volleyball. How I got into it was one big coincidence. My mother wanted me to get into Dunman Secondary School or Ngee Ann Secondary School, as they were both really close to my house. I went to Ngee Ann and tried to use DSA (Direct School Admission) through basketball but failed.

Coincidentally, in that same week, the teacher-in-charge of Dunman's volleyball team came to Yumin Primary (my school) and was talking to my netball coach to look out for girls with potential to join the Dunman Secondary volleyball team. This coach wanted to start a girl's team with people who have no prior volleyball experience. The netball coach approached my mum, told her about this and she accepted without telling me. I only knew that I got in via volleyball after the first week of school.

How did you get into beach volleyball then?

The coach on the national beach volleyball team scouted me and asked me to join the team when I graduated from Dunman Secondary School.

What are some of the highlights of your journey as a national volleyball athlete?

  1. Made it to the Combined Schools team and competed at the Asian School Games for Indoor Volleyball;

  2. Singapore’s first beach volleyball women's player (with my partner) to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games;

  3. Fifth in the Southeast Asia Beach Volleyball Championship;

  4. Got through qualification rounds and made it to the main draw of the Songkhla Beach Volleyball FIVB event;

  5. Competed at the 2022 SEA Games.

What were some of the challenges being a national athlete and competing at major Games?

The one major challenge is definitely the lack of exposure. Athletes from other countries are more exposed to higher levels of competitions and they also compete more compared to us. Also, when you make it to huge competitions like these Games, it’s expected that the majority of the players are full-time athletes.

Wei Yu represented Singapore in beach volleyball at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2022 SEA Games.
Wei Yu represented Singapore in beach volleyball at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2022 SEA Games. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

You have since retired though.

I’ve already decided that I was going to retire from beach volleyball after this year's SEA games. Reason why was because I don't see myself being able to cope and train six days a week while doing personal training at the same time.

I figured that if I can't commit 100 per cent to the training, I should leave because I will never be able to meet my own and my coach's expectations. At the same time, I find myself being more interested and invested in my clients’ successes rather than my own.

You used to be cabin crew, what made you decide to switch careers?

I entered Singapore Airlines with the intention to leave after the bond. I knew it was not something that I foresaw myself doing in the long run. It was more of a short-term thing that allows me to enjoy, talk to people from different walks of life, learn about their culture and explore different cities! I really enjoyed myself in SQ but I knew I had to leave to find a career that I see myself doing in the long run.

As for becoming a personal trainer, I think it was a given. I knew I wanted to do something that has got to do with sports since I have been in the field for as long as I can remember, but did not have the courage to actually venture into, until my short stint at Sport Singapore as a production assistant.

I met several fitness personnel and talked to people whom I know who are personal trainers, to find out more about their life and how the job is. I did not just jump into it though. I still had the "maybe try corporate again" and so I did. But I honestly find myself dreading heading to work so that was then I decided that that was it! I am gonna try personal training.

What do you like about being a personal trainer?

What I like about being a PT is that I can make a positive impact on someone else's life through fitness. I have seen and experienced the benefits of being active for XXX number of years and believe that if everyone's exposed to fitness in some ways, they will definitely be able to see the positive outcomes that comes with it.

Wei Yu made the career switch from a Singapore Airlines cabin crew to a personal trainer.
Wei Yu made the career switch from a Singapore Airlines cabin crew to a personal trainer. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

I like the fact that I get to work with different individuals and the job is never the same everyday. The biggest challenge that comes with the job is changing, creating and cultivating new habits in individuals which is something that I like. Also, my colleagues are the best people to be around with.

When did you feel the least confident about yourself?

I guess it was after the Commonwealth Games back in 2018. I was really set on a goal but failed to obtain it. I literally eat, sleep and visualise what I want to get for the entire year. Failing to meet my expectations really brought my confidence down A LOT… to the extent that I did not feel like I should be part of the team. Haha I did not even have the confidence to wear my Singapore tee to training. It was really bad.

I guess I overcame it because of my competitiveness. I still wanted to compete. I wasn't done just yet so I slowly worked on it and gained my confidence back in a FIVB competition in China. I didn't tell anyone about that issue at that point of time because I figured it was my problem to deal with. My partner at that time, Serene, played a vital part. She was competitive as well so she literally cheered for every point and that helped me greatly. That's for sure!

Are you satisfied with your body?

I am satisfied with my body but am excited to see how much I can push it. I haven't done any hypertrophy work in my time as a volleyballer so let's see how that goes! Hahaha

Have you ever received any comments about your body?

Yeah, definitely. But I guess what's important is my own opinion about my own body. Haha I don't really care about other people's opinions regarding this topic because everyone's thoughts and likes are different. Some like having a nice butt, some like having a nice back, some like having muscular arms.

If I were to entertain their thoughts or comments, I think I'll have to be in the gym 24/7 and my mind will most likely be running 24/7 also. Sounds tiring! Haha so no, I am a lazy individual who likes to put in effort to things that are worthwhile and what matters most is I like and treasure what I have and that's good enough.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Ong Wei Yu. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Ong Wei Yu. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)