We received over 100 unique submissions for Shape’s inaugural search for an inspiring fitness enthusiast. Here are the five finalists. Read all about them below and vote for your favourite here. There are prizes to be won! By Zarelda Marie Goh
From left: Victoria Pang, Betsy Chen, Natasha Goh, Shermaine Tan and Sophie Mong. All photos: Zaphs Zhang/SPH Magazines
SHAPE FIT GIRL FINALIST: BETSY CHEN, 35, PILATES AND FITNESS INSTRUCTOR
I STOPPED EXERCISING AFTER SECONDARY SCHOOL AND ONLY GOT BACK INTO FITNESS AT 31. At that time, I couldn’t run for even a minute! I’ve been skinny since I was a child, and it didn’t bother me for a long time. But when I saw a really unflattering photo of myself looking unhealthy, that prompted me to start exercising.
TO KICK-START MY FITNESS JOURNEY, I SIGNED UP FOR PILATES AND STARTED RUNNING. My first race event was Shape Run 2013, where I ran in the 5km race category. Since then I’ve gone on to do 10km runs and half marathons. I got certified as a pilates instructor, and I now teach and practise pilates. I love pilates as it is a complete mind and body workout. I’ve also picked up rock climbing and I climb at least twice a week.
EXERCISE AND A HEALTHY DIET GO HAND IN HAND. Eating well gives me the energy I need for a full day of activities. I have mainly salads and whole foods, and usually avoid fried and oily food. I need seven to eight hours of sleep as well to keep me going, so I avoid alcohol as it greatly affects my energy levels the day after.
I ALWAYS CARRY AN EXTRA SET OF WORKOUT ATTIRE. I do this as I rock climb or hit the gym in between teaching pilates. Powder sheet wipes and deodorant are always must-haves, as they keep me fresh throughout the day. A touch of concealer and eyeliner under my eyes complete my look.
MY FITNESS INSPIRATION IS WORLD CHAMPION CLIMBER KIM JAIN. As a avid climber, I am inspired by her. She epitomises strength and grace. She is also a fast leisure runner. However, no one motivates more than regular women who push themselves at the gym or at the running track.
IN 2017, I PLAN TO BREAK MY PERSONAL BEST FOR 10KM AT 55 MINUTES. I also hope to complete my first full marathon in Japan at the end of the year. This would mean being more strategic in planning my running sessions, and complementing running with strength and endurance training.