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: Leona Hui (@leonahui)
Occupation: Events manager/boxing fitness trainer
Diet: “Seefood” diet – I see food, I eat food! Jokes aside, I don’t really follow any diets as I believe that balance is key. I have pizzas and ice creams, but also take my salads and meats, and work out regularly because I genuinely enjoy having a good sweat. Essentially, work your way towards having a healthy and positive mindset, and a strong body will soon follow.
Training: I try my best to train at least once every day, for five to six days a week. Sometimes work gets in the way of my scheduled training, so I’ll have to be flexible and work around the uncertainty of my job.
Q: How did you get started in boxing?
A: Thanks to my events work, I stumbled upon the “mysterious” world of boxing. Back in 2010 when Singapore hosted the Youth Olympic Games, we were running an event where we put up various sports booths and the public could try their hand at different Olympic sports featured.
Boxing was one of them and during the event downtime, one of the coaches called me over to put on a pair of gloves and hit some pads for fun. Since no one was at the booth, I thought, “Oh okay, I’ll just try it for fun”, and once I started I thought it was pretty fun, and then the coach gave me his name card and told me to call him and come for training. The rest is history.
When did you decide you wanted to start competing in boxing?
It wasn’t really a decision that I made at a certain point but just generally having fun and showing interest in training, after which, a few months in, the coach asked if I’ll ever be interested to compete in a fight. I said yes, why not?
What are some of your best achievements thus far?
I’d like to say winning an international gold medal but unfortunately that’s not the case. There’s a small running joke in the team that I always get matched up with the No. 1 seeds in all our international tournaments after the general draw, so I’ve been up against some really experienced world and regional champions. I’d like to think my best achievements are actually just standing up against these world-class pugilists and fighting my heart out against them.
What is about boxing that you like so much?
It’s a sport that requires discipline, humility and perseverance. Definitely something that has changed my life for the better. And every time you step into the ring, it’s an adrenaline rush. Everyone should try it once in their life.
What have you learnt in all your time in competitive boxing?
If you think you’re the best, there’s always someone better. So be humble, stay hungry, and have lots of heart to survive in this sport.
What are some of the challenges you face as an athlete in Singapore?
As the majority of us are not full-time paid athletes, it’s really hard to juggle between work commitments and training because it’s a chicken-and-egg matter – organisations want to see results first before they invest in training and sponsorship schemes, while athletes can’t really afford to put work and life on hold to train, in hopes of getting a medal without having any money to live on. And boxing, in particular, is such a physically and mentally demanding sport that we need to train hard consistently, so it’s an endless struggle for us.
What are your fitness goals now?
Currently, just hoping to achieve more overall strength and be more of an explosive fighter in the ring.
When did you feel the least confident about yourself?
I was feeling pretty down a few years back, when I had lost, I think, almost every single fight I had in a year. I was questioning myself if this was the right sport for me, or if I should even be continuing training so hard when it amounted to nothing, questioning my abilities as a boxer and just generally doubting myself and my love for the sport.
How did you overcome that?
A few teammates had spoken to me and reminded me that this was just part and parcel of the process, and losing was just a part of the pathway to eventually getting the win. And once I realised that this was just my own personal journey of self-improvement, I began to see that as long as I had improved with every fight and represented the country well, these small wins for me will amount to a big one next time, be it winning an international medal, or inspiring the next generation of boxers to do so.
Do you get any comments about your body?
Not much in general but people sometimes comment that it’s unfair I eat so much but still can maintain such a lean frame, to which I say: come join me at boxing and you can be the same.