Cheryl finds it fulfilling getting messages from people who are inspired to get moving by her.
ABOUT CHERYL LOH
When she’s not leading fitness classes at fitness and martial arts school FaMA, she can be found doing high-intensity interval training, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, or jumping rope.
The jump rope enthusiast took up the sport at the age of eight and has won international tournaments. “I am still as passionate about jump rope as ever, and I jump on my own every other day to keep in touch with the rope skills and as a part of my warm-up before workouts.”
Ms Loh, who is single, holds a diploma in sports and wellness management from Nanyang Polytechnic.
Q WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO LOOKING FABULOUS?
A To be confident in your own skin. Anyone can look fabulous when she has achieved her personal goals and can find the confidence within herself.
Q HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN ACTIVE?
A Yes, I started doing jump rope in primary school. I picked up cheerleading in 2010, recreational gymnastics in 2011, trampoline in 2015, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in 2016.
I have tried a variety of fitness and conditioning classes over the years, and participated in the Sasuke Ninja Warrior contest in Guangzhou, China, in 2015.
I do BJJ on a recreational basis and go for classes two or three times a week.
Q HAS THERE EVER BEEN A TIME WHEN YOU WERE NOT FIT AND FAB?
A I went to Taiwan in 2014 for a five-month overseas study exchange programme, during my last semester at Nanyang Polytechnic.
While I was there, I trained for a jump rope competition and went for weekly cheerleading practices.
However, I did not watch my food intake and, worse, I binged on sugary foods to distract myself from the weather. It was my first winter experience and I found it very cold at 10 deg C. I ended up piling on 5kg.
Q WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE?
A I have tried different diets to see the effects they have on my body type. I am currently doing intermittent fasting, where I eat within an eight-hour window in a day. I will have my first meal at 2pm and my last food by 10pm. I generally try to avoid sugary and high-carb foods.
Q WHAT ARE YOUR INDULGENCES?
A Cheesecake, caramel popcorn and Oreo cookies dipped in milk.
These foods are high in sugar, so I let myself indulge only once a week. That’s my “cheat day”.
Q HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
A My job as a fitness instructor is very demanding, both physically and mentally. I try my best to be as productive as I can in the day, and rest my mind as much as possible after work. I sometimes take on cheerleading performance gigs when I am not working.
Q WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE?
A My loved ones, health and coffee.
Q WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR BODY?
A I like my smile. Sometimes, I think I smile too much during class and thus fail to portray the stern image of a coach.
My chubby cheeks are my least favourite. Unfortunately I cannot hide my face so there is literally nothing I can do about it.
Q WHAT ARE YOUR MUST-DOS BEFORE AND AFTER A WORKOUT?
A Before a workout, I blast music to get myself pumped up. Then, I do my warm-up exercises. After a workout, I stretch.
My warm-up and warm-down exercises usually last 15 minutes each. So, for a 40-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session, half an hour will be spent on these exercises, leaving me 10 mins for the HIIT routine.
Q HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO KEEP UP WITH YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE?
A Fitness is a way of life for me. Participating in fitness activities also helps me to come up with new ideas and ways to better help people achieve their fitness goals.
Q HOW HAS YOUR ACTIVE LIFESTYLE INFLUENCED YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
A I got my mum to be more active. It is an achievement as she used to dislike exercise and did not want me to pursue a career in the fitness industry. Now, she works out every other day. She does the exercises I taught her at home. She has lost weight and enjoys the compliments she has received from friends and family on how good she looks.
Q DO YOU MAKE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO STAY FIT?
A I do share quite a bit of my life and what I do on social media. I find it fulfilling to receive messages from people telling me how my posts have inspired them to get moving.
I strive to be a positive influence, but at the same time, strike a balance and not go overboard with my “occupational hazard” when I’m with family and friends. Talking about diets and working out all the time can sometimes be a turn-off.
Q HOW EXTENSIVE IS YOUR COLLECTION OF SPORTS-RELATED PARAPHERNALIA?
A I have jump ropes, fit bar and rollers, cheerleading pom poms and hair bows, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gis (uniforms), ankle weights, inline skates, sports tapes and guards, and more.
Q DO YOU THINK YOU’RE SEXY?
A Yes, especially when I’m working out and know that I’m getting stronger each time.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2018, with the headline ‘Trainer strives to be a positive influence’.