From breaking her leg as a teen, to breaking boundaries later in life, Tiffany aims to always be the best possible version of herself.
A former elite gymnast headed for the Olympics, Tiffany Soi (for short) now proudly calls herself a climbing athlete, as well as a wellness advisor. The 32-year-old Thai-Chinese also created her own workout, ClimbFlow, which mixes dynamic yoga and fitness. Here, Tiffany shares eight facts about her fitness journey, and how she climbed to greater heights in life.
She used to be an elite gymnast.
Tiffany took up gymnastics at the age of three, but due to surgical requirements for her feet and the accumulation of injuries over the years, she had to quit the sport at 15 – the age where she should have peaked as an athlete. Due to the lack of awareness in sports rehabilitation back then, more injuries surfaced even after she stopped doing gymnastics. She woke up one day unable to bend or move because she had seizures in her pelvis and lower back. This left her in a back brace for six months. During her recovery period, she not only saw a holistic chiropractic therapist, but also started practising hatha yoga for its strength-building benefits.
She can’t live without her morning yoga routine.
For 20 minutes every morning, you’ll find her doing gentle yoga and stretches at home. Throughout the week, she goes bouldering two to three times, adding on bodyweight core exercises, TRX and kettlebell training at the end of each session.
Her biggest obstacle in life was working in male-dominated fields.
She has always been in male-dominated environments. Besides growing up with two brothers, she was one in six women pursuing an astrophysics degree back in university. When working in the corporate tech, finance and construction industries, she was often stereotyped as being incapable. “Girls shouldn’t be afraid to want to be strong, be it mentally or physically,” she says.
Natural rocks and cliffs are her playgrounds.
After stumbling into an indoor rock climbing gym by accident, she fell in love with the sport and grew to love meandering on real rocks and exploring nature’s beauty. “Climbing is very much my form of moving meditation. There isn’t a space I feel more alive, more calm, or more complete than when I am climbing,” she says.
She wants to stay active till a ripe old age.
Whenever she feels too lazy to work out, she says to herself: “This is my one life and my one body, which is the magnificent vessel carrying me through it, so I am responsible for taking care of it as best as I can. I want to move well till I am past 100!”
She doesn’t own a weighing scale.
From being too tall during her days as a gymnast, to being too muscular as a child, Tiffany was often called a boy because she had a six-pack, biceps and back muscles, unlike her peers. She later came to accept the way her body looked after realising that strength and beauty come in different shapes and sizes. “I embrace my own awesomeness and the wonder of what my body can do. My only interest is in cultivating the best version of myself,” she says.
She believes in sustainably-sourced proteins.
“I really do believe we all need to do a better job for our planet and animal welfare in sourcing more protein from non-meat sources as part of our daily meals,” she says. She loves protein smoothies as a fast yet nutritious meal. “I will add oats, bananas, blueberries, spinach, flaxseeds, coconut oil and blend with a nut milk.”
Dark chocolate with sea salt is her favourite indulgence.
She has dark chocolate a few times a week and as it “absolutely sets off all her endorphins”, but she doesn’t feel guilty about it. “If you’ve made a decision to eat something that you have labelled an indulgence, don’t get hung up on the guilt. Guilt causes a whole lot of negative food relationships and eating problems.”