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: Beckie Liu (Instagram: @eruzajay)
Occupation: Founder of Haikini
Diet: A balanced diet
Exercise: High-intensity interval training or kettlebell training, at least three days a week. I use ClassPass to book classes at places like Haus Athletics and Uppercut Boxing.
Q: What kind of sports did you do when you were younger?
I was always an active kid! I played netball from Primary 3 to Secondary 4, and then went crazy for tennis in junior college. Tennis training was intense but so much fun. My team and I would play for hours till dark (our school courts didn’t have lights back then). I trained five times a week, so I could catch up with the girls who have played since they were young.
You frequently travel abroad to surf. When did you pick up surfing?
I started surfing seriously during my time at the National University of Singapore. Nobody in my family liked going to the beach that much. In fact, they discouraged me from surfing because it looked so dangerous to them.
The first time I tried surfing was in Phuket during a holiday with my mum before my A Levels. I went to Kata Beach and hired a guide for an hour. I remember jumping off the surfboard wrongly and when the next wave hit, my body was trapped underwater and the surfboard hit the side of my face. But that did not discourage me from trying again, so after my A Levels, I booked myself into a surf camp and never stopped surfing since.
There are absolutely no waves in Singapore, so I don’t surf here. But we’re so fortunate to be located in the heart of Southeast Asia. All the best warm surf sports in the world are just a few hours’ plane ride away – Bali, the Philippines, etc.
This year is my fifth year surfing and I know that I’ll still be surfing when I’m 70!
Is surfing just a leisure pursuit for you?
No, my goal is to join one of the regional longboard competitions in two years. Right now I’m pretty comfortable in the water but to compete, it will require a higher level of dedication (e.g. moving out of Singapore) and a focused training programme so I’m giving myself some time to get there.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself and how did you overcome it?
I think in secondary school, when girls started growing boobs. I’m like, ‘Where’s mine?’ (laughs) But there are better things to worry about than having small boobs. There’s nothing much I can do about it anyway!
When I first started wearing bikinis, I felt conscious about it. Back then I was introduced to bikini tops that were so heavily padded, the entire bikini top was just a thick chunk of foam. It was ridiculous! It wasn’t practical either, as it gets heavy and uncomfortable when wet. It’s unhealthy that these heavily-padded bikinis exist at all because it perpetuates the sexualisation of young teenage girls. How can we teach girls to love their bodies when bikini companies think it is alright to sell push-up bikinis to 15-year-olds?
I’ve learnt over the years that, if I don’t think I look good in a bikini, it’s probably because I’m wearing the wrong style for my body. Small boobs are awesome. They don’t get in the way of a workout, they don’t sag that much, and back pains are almost non-existent. It’s been a journey to self-acceptance for sure! My body is strong and healthy, and I am also very proud of my tan.
What are some misconceptions of fitness in today’s society?
That you have to look a certain way to be considered fit and strong.
What is your fitness philosophy?
To be balanced. I believe you can have a good balance of fitness and healthy food, yet also allowing yourself to let loose once in a while. I don’t beat myself up over having my favourite junk meal occasionally, as long as I add in that extra workout the next week.
Why should people make an effort to lead an active lifestyle?
An active lifestyle is a happy lifestyle! A quick search on the Internet tells you that leading an active lifestyle increases health span, is an anti-depressant, benefits memory and learning, and so on.
Working out at the gym is not that fun to me, so my advice is to find a sport that you love. Surfing does that for me. It’s a great cardio exercise but it is a lot more than that. It’s a new way to travel, to meet new friends, to train mental strength, and to keep me fit and healthy. My goal is to spread awareness for surfing in Singapore, and also to bring more people on surf trips to our neighbouring surf countries.
What inspired you to start your own bikini line, Haikini?
When I started surfing it was really difficult to find gorgeous, functional and affordable surf bikinis, so Haikini solves that. I prioritise affordability because it hurts to see a $200 designer bikini getting ruined by surfboard wax, sunscreen and saltwater.
I started this in August 2017, during my final year at NUS. I just graduated from university in July this year, so Haikini is now my full-time job. I’m working on designing more one-piece swimsuits and long-sleeved surf suits.
Beyond swimwear, Haikini is a lifestyle brand and we want more people to try surfing. It’s not for everyone, but once you stand up on your first wave, you will understand that surfing is more than just a sport. It’s a way to be more in tune with your mind and your body, it helps you form a deeper connection with mother nature. But above all, it is so fun!
My hopes for Haikini is to stay authentic no matter what. The brand was created with a ton of passion and so far I’m happy that this passion is reflected in all of our work. Haikini is my work and also my life, so as cliche as it sounds, I want to positively impact every interaction that we have – from the
Balinese women that hand-sew each Haikini swimsuit, to the fabric printer we work with, and most importantly, to our customers whom we endearingly call our “Seasters”.