Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Alicia Pan

Alicia Pan started Yoga Movement to make yoga accessible to all. (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: Alicia Thew (nee Pan) (@alicia_pan)
Age: 34
Height: 1.58m
Weight: 53kg
Occupation: Business owner, part-time singer, mum to one-year-old Koda
Status: Married
Diet: I don’t follow any strict diet plan – I eat everything in moderation.
Training: I try to work out three to four times a week with a bit of boxing, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and yoga.

Q: Were you a sporty kid?

A: I was not an athletic child. I was more into the arts so I was doing mainly music and arts. I then picked up components of mixed martial arts later in life, dabbled a little bit in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but got super into Muay Thai and boxing.

Alicia Pan used to do compete in muay thai, and also tried mixed martial arts. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

I competed once in Muay Thai but didn’t follow through, as the Yoga Movement business got too busy for me to keep up with training six times a week. And in this sport, if you can’t commit to training, you’d be stupid to compete.

How did you get into yoga and what led you to start Yoga Movement?

Yoga was something that took me a long time to get into. I was looking for a very specific type of classes and when I jumped into my first yoga class in a big box gym back when I was living in Taipei, it didn’t tick the boxes for me.

A couple of my good friends who were there at the time were yoga teachers, and they encouraged me to give it another shot. I jumped into their classes and did them semi-regularly, and really started to notice change in my physical and mental health.

About a year after, I jumped into a training to teach yoga and – with the help of my then-partner, now-husband Pete – decided to create a brand that would service what was lacking in Singapore back at that time: yoga that was accessible to all.

Alicia Pan has had to adapt her workout regime to look after her one-year-old child, Koda. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

How has your fitness regime changed from your pre-pregnancy days to now?

Before I had Koda, I made time to work out almost every day. I was performing and running Yoga Movement, and those two together were quite hectic. Still, I had the energy and motivation to fit in boxing training five to six times a week, as staying fit was important to me.

After Koda was born, priorities had to change. While work still remained busy, I needed to be with him when he’s awake while I was not at work. That definitely meant reducing my workouts to spend time and take care of him, and it was totally fine by me.

These days, working out three to four times a week is a luxury. If I don’t get to train, I find time to do my workouts at home when he naps. These may consist of 20-30 minutes of interval training or yoga.

What are your fitness goals now?

I am at a point in my life where I don’t feel the need to impress anyone, so for me staying fit is more for the sake of feeling more energised internally and feeling healthy.

Even during her pregnancy, Alicia Pan remained active with yoga and HIIT. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

How do you balance Yoga Movement, Koda and life?

It is not easy, but it’s all a mental challenge than it is physical for me. I still have the energy for all three things, but deciding what to prioritise on different days can still be a bit of a challenge for me.

Koda’s development is most important to me at this particular point, so I make sure that even though work and life get in the way I am still there to help him reach each little milestone.

Did you struggle with your body image during pregnancy or after childbirth?

I absolutely LOVED every moment of my pregnancy. I think I was lucky that I didn’t suffer through the dreaded morning sickness, nor did I suffer through much water retention. Even though I had to cut out any kind of contact sport or training, I remained active throughout the entire pregnancy, with yoga and modified HIIT.

I made it a point to move every single day, even if it meant something as simple as walking instead of driving. Because of all that, I did not struggle with my body image both during and after pregnancy because I felt great internally.

Alicia Pan with her one-year-old son, Koda. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Did you ever not feel confident about yourself?

I think I stupidly criticised my body most during adolescence. It was that period of time when you felt everyone was meant to be skinny and I was mostly critical about my thighs because I never had a thigh gap.

Looking back at those days, I was already skinnier than I am now. I am not sure what I was thinking, but I am sure it’s a common phase that a lot of teenage girls go through because of peer pressure. Oh, and I also always wanted to be taller.

How did you overcome it and become more confident?

I just didn’t really care as I got older. I just appreciated that I was able-bodied and healthy. After I got married, body issues just got brushed off to the side.

Do you get any criticism about your body?

I used to, when I was in entertainment full-time, but that’s normal and that was more than 10 years ago. These days, I think with the amount of body positive messages spreading across the world, the amount of body shaming has been significantly reduced.

What are your plans for Yoga Movement, and also for Koda?

We will be launching a brand new app that we’ve been working on in the second quarter of this year – and also a new location. With regards to Koda, our plan will be to give him a sibling semi soon! 🙂

Yahoo #Fitspo of the Week: Alicia Pan. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)