Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (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: Shazrina Shamsudin

Age: 27

Height: 1.65m

Weight: 56kg

Occupation: Senior Digital Writer

Status: Single

Food: I don’t follow a strict diet. It also doesn't help that I’m guilty of having a sweet tooth and I always crave for sugary treats. Since my job requires me to go for multiple food tastings every week, I do struggle to keep track of my diet as well.

On days when I don’t have any events going on, I try to keep my meals simple and as nutritious as possible. I avoid fast food, and get a good balance of vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains for a healthy and balanced diet.

Ultimately, my main focus is to eat slowly and in moderation. Doing so allows me enough time to savour my meal and experience satiety after eating.

Exercise: I hit the gym at least thrice a week and I’ve been doing the standard push-pull-legs split for the past four years. Besides that, I try to go for runs and attend HIIT or Pilates classes to add some variety to my routine.

Just like most of us, cardio workouts are one of my weaknesses, especially when it comes to running. However, I do enjoy challenging myself every once in a while. Not only do I do it to keep myself on top of my game, but at times, I do so when I’m stuck in a fitness rut. During the lockdown, I also started focusing on improving my mobility and flexibility to improve my range of motion and my posture.

Aside from that, my job also presents me with lots of opportunities to attend different fitness events as well which I go to every few weeks. I get to dabble with different sports and other wellness activities including yoga, bouldering, boxing and MMA, just to name a few. I really enjoy attending them because it brings me out of my comfort zone and it also allows me to understand my body a lot better.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Q: When you were younger, were you active in sports?

A: My fitness journey started when I was in primary school. I joined the swimming team and moved on to volleyball when I was in secondary school. In polytechnic, I wanted to challenge myself a little more and I decided to join the women’s football team. I wasn’t the best at it, but I definitely enjoyed my time playing the sport.

However, while I was playing football, I injured both my ACLs (anterior cruciate ligaments) on two separate occasions while I was training so I wasn’t in tip top condition for a few years and it took me a while to pick myself back up and try something new again. Till this date, I’m still quite wary when it comes to doing exercises like squats, that require me to put a lot of pressure on my knees because I still haven’t got my ACLs fixed.

What did you get into as you got older?

Growing up, I found myself falling back to the gym. I like how it’s straightforward and it’s something that I can do alone or with my friends. I got myself an Anytime Fitness membership four years ago and I think the motivation to work out also came from wanting to visit all the Anytime Fitness gyms in Singapore. Weirdly enough, I keep a list of all the Anytime Fitness gyms I’ve been to on my phone and so far I’ve visited 37 of them in total. In fact, I’ve also been to a few Anytime Fitness gyms overseas too. And while it’s not exactly normal, I think it motivates me to exercise more regularly.

What’s more, with an irregular work schedule, I can still fit in a quick workout without having to commit to a class and there’s also no excuse for me not to exercise. More importantly, I think it’s imperative that I keep to a workout regime that’s sustainable and find one that I can actually stick to.

Working out also serves as an outlet for me to destress especially after a long day at work. I think many of us tend to neglect our mental health because we’re too consumed with our busy lifestyles and we often lose sight of what’s going on around us. By exercising, I get a dose of serotonin and endorphins in, and I feel a lot better and more relaxed after a good workout session. Essentially, staying mentally well should be given the same priority as keeping physically fit.

What are your fitness goals now?

My fitness goals vary from time to time, but currently I’m more focused on doing more pull-ups. It’s one of the few things that I’ve been struggling with for quite some time, but I’m still working on it. That being said, I’ve always wanted to sign myself up for a callisthenics class too but it’s just been on hold for quite some time because I’ve got too much on my plate at the moment.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Besides that, some of my other goals include going for more runs. I’ve not signed up for a marathon in my life because I’m not a big fan of running, but I do want to work towards it because it’s just one of those few things I have yet to check off my bucket list.

I also recently attended a personal training course and I’m working towards getting certified really soon. All I’m left with is to study for my exam, so I’m really looking forward to that.

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

Growing up, I think like most of us, I struggled with my insecurities. Not that I was shamed for how I looked, but since young I cared too much about what people thought of me and not to mention, I had a tough time dealing with my crippling anxiety.

Since young, my mum would always make sure that I was an exemplary student in school. I didn’t get into trouble. I was a prefect and a student councillor. It made me realise how much perfectionism was ingrained in me since childhood and it has wreaked havoc on my life. Holding myself to unrealistic standards quickly became debilitating, and it affected my mental health.

On top of that, during my adolescent years, I struggled with some family issues, so I didn’t know how to cope with the stress. But as I grew up, I’ve learnt that I can’t change my past but I can change my outlook on life. Mulling over what’s already been done is just a waste of time, and I’ve realised that prioritising my physical and mental health supersedes everything else.

I started working on myself a lot more and working out seemed to be a great outlet for me to channel most of my stress and aggravation. Moreover, I was also lucky enough to have a good support system that included my friends and family, so I’m really thankful for all they’ve done for me.

When did you feel the least confident about yourself?

I felt the least confident when I was in poly. Not only was I struggling to keep up with my grades, but I felt especially down when I injured both my knees in that same period as well. I didn’t like the feeling of not being able to push myself harder and I felt especially vulnerable with my injuries.

But I was pretty stubborn and I didn’t want to give up so I continued playing football and remained active moving forward. However, even with the injury, it still felt like I was holding myself back from doing everything because I was more worried about twisting my knee again while working out.

To counter this, I started to work on my lower body to regain strength and movement without causing further injury to my ACL. Strengthening my quads and hamstrings were some of the areas I tried to focus on so I could improve my strength and range of motion.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Did you ever struggle with your body?

Back in university, I stopped working out because I just lost the groove and the motivation to work out. I didn’t participate in any sports and I started to notice that I got a bit chubbier. I had a poor diet, lack of exercise and I ran on less than five hours of sleep every day. I was probably having too much fun in school and I got way too carried away with everything else, so I didn’t pay much attention to my body.

Only when I graduated, did I realise that I gained quite a bit of weight. Looking back at my graduation photos, you could tell that my cheeks were really chubby and I was quite pudgy. But that all changed when I met someone I was seeing back then in 2018. He started getting into fitness and that motivated me to get into shape as well. And while he didn’t say much about my weight, I made a conscious decision to work on myself because I wanted to feel better about my body and the way I looked. So I guess, thanks to our shared interest in fitness, that kickstarted my fitness journey again.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

I would say I’m quite satisfied with my body now, but I do feel that there are more areas that I can definitely improve on. Don't get me wrong, constant dissatisfaction with yourself is absolutely unhealthy. But I guess there will always be something to work on and it’s totally normal that we crave for perfection. Currently, I’m trying to get leaner and stronger but of course, it’s never an easy process.

Have you ever received any comments about your body?

Back then, when thigh gaps were a thing, a few of my friends commented on the size of my thighs and it made me feel very conscious about myself. I didn’t like how chunky they looked and it didn’t help that I also had bigger bones. But as I started to exercise, I appreciated my leg muscles a lot more. With more training and practice, my legs got a lot stronger, I even got more confident when I’m doing exercises like the pistol squat.

Nevertheless, I think for most of us, we’re all a work in progress, and we will never be satisfied with our body. But for me, I believe that at the end of the day, as long as I look good, I feel good, that’s all that matters.

Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin.
Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Shazrina Shamsudin. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)