This 33-year-old Shape Fit Girl 2018 finalist broke the stereotype of weightlifting among women.
Despite having participated in a variety of sports like Taekwondo and track and field, it wasn’t till 2015 when Sri Ranjini Mei Hua started being actively involved in strength training. The full-time research manager is now a qualified yoga and pilates teacher, and hits the gym up to thrice a week. Here are eight things to know about Ranjini’s fit lifestyle.
Her close friends and family said she “looked like a man” when she started strength training frequently.
While Ranjini was initially affected, it didn’t stop her from what she was doing. “I figured I’d rather be strong and be able to do pull-ups and things like that so I didn’t bother about what other people thought about my body,” says Ranjini.
She used to dislike going to the gym.
“I didn’t know what to do at the gym and the predominantly male space was intimidating,” she says. She would only head to the gym if she was accompanied by someone.
She later became intrigued by her progress in strength training, and has never looked back since.
“When I first started, I struggled with the barbell, but with more practice, I could lift more,” says Ranjini. “Each time you get stronger, you can lift more – that was what motivated me to keep going.”
She was the smallest and lightest girl at the 2017 Strongman Log Lift Championship.
Despite that, Ranjini successfully lifted a 45kg log over her head, close to her body weight of 48kg then. “I was the scrawniest girl there – all the more I had to prove myself,” she says.
She self-practises callisthenics.
The workout that makes use of bodyweight resistance exercises like handstands and inversions is challenging to pick up without proper guidance. But Ranjini is able to do so with her experience as a pilates instructor. “In pilates, I learnt about protecting my joints and maintaining good form, so I know when I am tired and compensating with the wrong muscle groups,” says Ranjini.
Fitness is not her only passion.
Ranjini holds a full-time position as a research manager, and she is not looking to give that up any time soon. “In research, I learn new things all the time and it keeps my mind active,” says Ranjini. “There’s a lot to learn in both fitness and research. I want to continue developing my skills in both areas.”
Her indulgence? Cakes… and more cakes.
Chocolate truffle cake, carrot cake, ondeh ondeh cake, cheesecake – you name it and it’s on Ranjini’s list of favourite cakes to eat. She even has her own signature raw chocolate brownie recipe for cheat days.
She struggles to keep up with her mum during supermarket trips.
Fitness runs in the blood – her siblings have always been actively involved in sports like taekwondo and track and field while her dad used to lift weights. Her mum? “My mum is as fit as a fiddle,” says Ranjini. “When I follow her to the supermarket, she walks so fast that I struggle to keep up even though she’s shorter than me.”