Here’s another reminder that nothing else but the mind matters when it comes to being amazing. By Estelle Low
Faith Tan, 49, is Singapore's female winner for the Under Armour Test of Will 2017 heats. Photos: Under Armour Singapore
Faith Tan is walking, talking proof of how age, height and weight are really just numbers in the grand scheme of things.
The 49-year-old beat 184 other women at the recent Under Armour Test of Will heats to emerge as the winner of the female category.
Held at Bugis Junction on April 8 and 9, the Test of Will fitness challenge saw hundreds of hopefuls banging out as many reps of burpees, dumbbell thrusters, TRX rows and sandbag throws as they could manage in four minutes. Without rest.
I was one of the 184 women, trying my darndest to prove that I could do more than what I thought of myself. I exceeded my humble target of 55 points, and was pretty happy.
And then I heard about Faith, who has 122 points to her name.
Each exercise was done for 60 seconds. So if you do the math, you can tell that Faith did one burpee in two seconds, one dumbbell thruster in a little more than one second, and so on.
If that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is. (For an idea of just how amazing, try counting how many reps of each of the above-mentioned exercise you can do as quickly as possible, spending one minute per exercise without resting in between. It's only four minutes in total, but you will feel the burn.)
Here’s the interesting part: Faith is the smallest fitness personality I’ve come across. She stands at 138cm and weighs 37kg. She’s also a single mum with a 16-year-old son.
When I ask for her occupation, she tells me she’s both a banker and a long-distance runner.
I like how she prioritises fitness as much as she does her career. And how she has this odds-defying vibe. I like her already.
Shape: What's your fitness routine like?
Faith: I visit the gym daily and do weight training exercises that target various body parts. I also include two 8-10km runs on weekdays, and challenge myself with long-distance trail runs on weekends. Each trail run lasts for five to six hours.
S: Why do you work out?
F: Like many, I exercise to stay fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
S: What keeps you going?
F: Exercise makes me energised and focused for my job which is equally demanding. I believe that great things happen outside of the comfort zone, so I constantly push myself and put my will to the test. The feeling after each tough session, especially when you gave your best, is pure ecstasy!
S: Why did you join the Under Armour Test of Will 2017?
F: I’m a huge fan of the Under Armour brand. When my friends told me about the Test of Will, I immediately signed up. I wanted to challenge myself and see how many of the specific exercises I can complete within four minutes. That would also be an indicator of my fitness level.
S: What were your most recent competitions before Test of Will?
F: I took part in the 10km Marina Run 2017 and 17km Hulu Langat Trail Run 2017 in Malaysia. I topped the women’s category for both events.
S: You clocked 28 burpees, 53 dumbbell thrusters, 36 TRX rows and 5 sandbag throws at the Test of Will. How happy are you with your performance?
F: I’m very pleased! There were so many strong competitors at the event, so the win came as a surprise. Moreover, the sandbag throw was to my disadvantage given my height, but I just gave it my all during that minute. I didn’t set any expectations for myself. I just wanted to do my best.
S: How did you train for the Test of Will heats?
F: I did daily weight training at the gym, switching between upper body and lower body exercises. Closer to the event, I supplemented my daily training and runs with similar exercise movements to that of the competition, and focused on my weaker ones like the sandbag throw.
S: Have you always been this fit?
F: Yes. I started working out after my A levels and have not looked back since. The benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle keep me going. I look and feel great all the time!
S: Has your small build ever been an issue?
F: During my primary school days in Malaysia, I used to be teased. I would feel sad and discouraged.
However, those comments don’t have much of an effect on me. I stay rooted in my religious beliefs and adopt a positive outlook in life. I know that what matters is that I’m fit and healthy. My body is as good as I want it to be. I cook my own meals, exercise daily and ensure I get adequate rest.
S: What's your favourite body part?
F: My legs! They’re strong, toned and get me through my runs.
S: What's your proudest fitness achievement to date?
F: Topping the female category at the Test of Will 2017 heats, and being able to represent Singapore to compete against other finalists from the region.
S: What’s your goal for the Test of Will finals in Kuala Lumpur in May 2017?
F: Similar to the local heats, I aim to push myself out of my comfort zone, do my very best, and hopefully do our nation proud!
S: Do you have any other fitness goals?
F: I intend to complete a 320km run. It’s a local race that will be held in the later half of the year. Last year, I did a similar run where I completed 240km over three days.
S: What’s your favourite fitness motivation quote?
F: I have two:
1. Great things happen when we go beyond our comfort zone.
2. No retreat, no surrender; no pain, no gain.
This article is brought to you by Under Armour Singapore.