Beatrix Chong shares how becoming a mother has impacted her fitness regime. By Joyce Teo
Now that Ms Chong has to juggle her job with taking care of her son and doing housework, it leaves her with little time to work out. She plans her week thoroughly and ensures she exercises at least four days a week. Photo: Mark Cheong / The Straits Times
About Beatrix Chong
She learnt to climb at the polytechnic and loved it so much she decided to become a full-time rock-climbing instructor. She is also a SwimSafer instructor.
SwimSafer is a national water safety programme that aims to teach swimming proficiency and water survival skills to children to minimise drowning incidents.
Physical activity is an important part of Ms Chong’s lifestyle and she did not let pregnancy or motherhood get in the way. However, she did stop competing in rock climbing events temporarily after she became pregnant.
Her husband, Faizalrizal Abu Bakar, 33, is a rigger and the couple have a four-year-old son, Rayn.
Beatrix Chong’s Fitness Routine
• Swim once a week and jog up to twice a week.
• Do rock- climbing three to four times a week, for two to three hours each time. The session includes 20 minutes of basic bodyweight exercises, such as pull-ups, sit-ups and planks.
Q: How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?
A: I mainly run and swim to maintain cardiovascular stamina, and do rock climbing for building strength and endurance. I want to keep myself fit so that I can show my students that it is possible to do it. At the same time, I want to be a role model for my son… I want him to grow up with sports as second nature. I try to take him along to my exercise sessions.
Q: Do you coach your son?
A: Swimming is an important life skill so I want my son to learn that. But he is scared of the water. Luckily, as a swim coach, I know a few ways to show him how to be confident in the water, and in a fun and engaging way too. For example, I will put floating objects in the water and make him kick over to them to collect his “treasures”.
Q: What is your secret to looking so fabulous?
A: I work hard to maintain my body and I eat in moderation. If I have an ice cream today, I won’t snack for the rest of the day.
Q: How did your pregnancy affect your active lifestyle?
A: I was still climbing and doing all sorts of sports till I was eight-and-a-half months into my pregnancy. My tummy remained very small… Some of my climbing friends didn’t even know I was pregnant. Even my obstetrician found it unbelievable that I managed to hide a big 3.5kg baby inside such a small, compact tummy.
Q: What is the most extreme thing you have done in the name of fitness or beauty?
A: I tried a liquid diet for three days but gave up completely after that. I was hungry and angry all the time. (Here’s why crash diets don’t work.)
Q: How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia?
A: I probably own more than 100 medals and trophies, and counting. The one that I value most is the medal that I won for climbing at the Asian X-Games, an annual sports event, in 2006.
Q: Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?
A: Actually, this is probably my most unfit time ever. Since my son started nursery, I have had to juggle my job, taking care of him and doing housework. It leaves me with little time to work out. However, I plan my week very thoroughly and ensure that I exercise at least four days a week.
Q: What is your diet like?
A: I love vegetables and fruit. Most mornings, I make a glass of fresh juice for myself and a salad. For lunch, I eat something filling, such as rice, to keep me going. I eat very little rice for dinner and will have a cup of Milo to end the day.
Q: What are your indulgences?
A: Ice cream, chocolate and cakes. I have sweet treats once a week. I have a sweet tooth and I love to bake, but I don’t bake guilt-free cakes. In my opinion, even using 10g less sugar can make a difference in the taste, so I don’t think healthy cakes can taste that good.
Q: What’s your favourite part of your body?
A: My tummy, because I worked hard to maintain a flat tummy, even though it’s a far cry from the six-pack I had before my pregnancy. (Try this easy abs workout to lose belly fat!)
Q: What are the three most important things in your life?
A: My family, exercise and holidays.
Q: Would you go for plastic surgery?
A: It has never crossed my mind. It’s not that I am satisfied with everything about myself, but I accept that I have to live with what I have. As I age, I realise I get more comfortable with my own body and care less about what others think of me.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline ‘Maintaining a flat tummy after baby’.