For most of my blogging career I had been known as the girl who hates HATES exercise.
During a filming of a blogger focused TV show called Project Alpha, there was even a whole gag revolving bringing me to the gym since my hate of exercise was well known wtf.
The first regular exercise I ever did was during my pregnancy with Fighter actually. My doctor recommended light exercise so I joined some pregnancy yoga and pilates classes. They were extremely light though – even for a noob like me – and mostly consisted of gentle stretches and sitting cross legged wtf.
I didn’t do anything beyond that though. With the craziness of raising two babies born within 1.5 years of each other and breastfeeding, I rapidly lost my pregnancy weight and didn’t think too much of it. After all, my limbs were still skinny and I fit into all my old clothes.
How did I get started on my “fitness journey”?
It definitely didn’t feel like a fitness journey when I started!
It was only when Penny turned two, four years later, that I got more serious about fitness. It was a bunch of factors really, that triggered me to do something.
One, my weight was slowly creeping up. I was nowhere overweight la, but since even slight weight gain is obvious on my small frame, I noticed. My arms were slowly getting meatier, my face a bit rounder and my waist definitely bigger. I had a definite muffin top wtf. But overall my clothes still fit (albeit snugly) and people still always referred to me as ‘small’ or ‘skinny’ so this didn’t really bother me.
Two, I noticed my stamina was getting increasingly worse. I had never exercised in my life beyond mandatory PE classes so I don’t know why – maybe age catching up? I was thirty two then. But even walking up one flight of stairs, I would get out of breath. Don’t say run, I would even get winded walking around a shopping mall fast wtf. This bothered me quite a bit cos it was affecting my day to day!
But the biggest catalyst (factor number three) was the fact that my gynae would nag me on my regular checks to do some sort of cardio exercise to strengthen my heart. She was very worried seeing as I’d already had preeclampsia twice, which is a key indicator of future cardiovascular problems FML. She told me to run, which I always dismissed, but at some point it hit me that I’d better do something seriously. I don’t want to die before my kids are grown up wtf.
Here’s some before photos.
Waist a bit wide so my shape was more like toilet roll than hourglass. I did have some fat sitting on my hips that would form a muffin top depending on what I wore.
How I started
Along with some mommy friends, I started Bodytone classes, which is a sort of cardio/HIIT workout on a power plate machine that vibrated. It was meant to make my muscles work harder and therefore burn more fat/calories and/or tone up faster.
I hated every minute of it.
It’s just like lifting weights, burpees, push ups, squats etc done on the vibrating plate. I did Kayla Itsines’s BBG workout before and it’s similar and I hated both lol. I think I get very easily bored with exercise so I didn’t like the repetitive nature of these workouts.
I also started Muay Thai classes. I had a very sweet teacher who would travel to my apartment and we’d do the class in my condo gym. We alternated between practicing Muay Thai moves – punches and kicks – and strength training. I got bored of this soon enough too.
No peace even when exercising hahahaha
I’d never liked exercise so I low key dreaded every time I did a class. I usually found it boring or tedious or just plain didn’t enjoy myself. So my advice to you is if you’re just starting out, it’s okay if you don’t like the workout you’re doing. Try different kinds and find one that suits your goals and preference!
Eventually I settled on three workouts I could live with – spinning, yoga and reformer pilates. And it took me a couple of years so seriously don’t give up!
I only started this cos one of my friends jio me wtf. It’s basically 45 minutes of intense cardio, where you cycle standing up most of the time, combined with upper body moves to work out the entire body. The first time I tried it, I was tired within ten seconds and couldn’t walk properly for two weeks after LOL. I couldn’t even get out of bed properly wtf. For 2 weeks I had to crab walk sideways up and down the stairs ok hahaha. I dreaded going back and the second time was almost equally terrible. But the third time, a miracle happened – I found I could do significantly more and cos of that, I felt very encouraged and persevered!
I don’t like cardio but I made a commitment to myself to do at least one cardio session a week for my heart and cardio health. Spin class is the only form of cardio that I felt okay with, plus it was only 45 minutes a class. I also liked that the routines are varied so I’m not always doing the same repetitive thing. And I can feel myself improving and getting stronger, which is super good motivation. 🙂
This was sometime last year on a Babor media trip – there was a yoga class. I miraculously did a crow’s pose and never managed it again until during MCO wtf
Yoga is my favorite non sedentary activity ever (next to walking in shopping malls wtf). I’ve always been quite flexible even as a kid so I already felt I’m quite good when I got started LOL. And I felt like I wanna try more hahahaha. I like the challenge of perfecting poses and for someone who doesn’t usually push herself very hard, I found myself pushing myself further and further each time to reach a bit more, stretch a little more, bend a bit more. So maybe yoga is really a mind thing? But I figure all workouts are to some extent.
I’m really bad at the mind body connection thing though and living the zen yoga life lolol. I just like the workout so not a true yogi wtf.
Suffering face lolol
Again, I started reformer pilates because my friends asked me to *sheep* hahaha. But I also heard that pilates was good for migraines and as a migraine sufferer, I was up for it wtf. Pilates is supposed to be very beneficial for health and rehab or as physio, I think. I did classical pilates on a reformer for about two years before I got bored again and quit hahaha. Classical pilates moves are all already set and they don’t change much so again, I got bored of repetitive movement. Besides, my migraines didn’t improve but I think it was because I joined a group class, not one specially tailored to my needs.
After I quit the group class, I did take up with my Pilates teacher for private classes where she taught me how to do specific exercises to strengthen my neck and back which was where my migraines originated. (Incidentally this together with regular chiro sessions worked for my migraine!)
I stopped my private package (cos too expensive wtf) and settled on fitness focused reformer pilates which is more about getting a good sweat on and toning up on the reformer. This is super hard and every time I do it, it feels like my first class cos of the variety of its routines! It works out muscles I never knew I had so I always feel damn weak on it hahaha.
Once in a while when I feel like it and have extra time, I might join a boxing class too. These classes are quite fun — usually a mix of boxing moves with a punching bag, some HIIT and strength training. The reason why I don’t do it more often is cos it’s also cardio, and if I only have time for cardio once a week, I’d rather it be spin cos it feels more efficient lol. Also like I mentioned, I have migraines and tennis elbow fml and boxing sometimes makes it worse. I do quite enjoy it though. Especially after quarantine where I followed a lot of online shadow boxing classes! I feel like I would definitely go back to a boxing studio more often.
What about my diet?
They say for health and weight loss, diet is like 80% in place of importance to only 20% of exercise and I believe it. Think about it — it only takes a fast food burger to add 500 calories to your intake, but it’s much harder to burn those 500 calories off. A great book about this is called How Not To Diet by Michael Greger if you wanna read more (although it’s quite vegan focused)!
I went through phases. I went through a low carb period where I avoided refined carbs, white rice, pasta and bread, although I did eat fruits. This lasted maybe three weeks before I decided it’s a terrible way to live LOL. I don’t really snack or eat dessert or sweet stuff, but I love rice and bread. I was so miserable lol.
I do intermittent fasting though — I think it’s been two or three years. I fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8 hour window which basically means not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast. It’s not a huge change from my usual lifestyle cos like I said, I don’t have a snacking habit and I don’t usually have an appetite in the morning. I didn’t lose weight from this but Fatty did! Maybe cos if not he snacks like a monster at night wtf. But my weight is pretty constant so maybe the intermittent fasting does help to maintain my weight.
My weight never shifted though. Worse, one year after I started pilates, I did that machine reading thing and found that my body fat percentage is 31% WTF. That’s 1% away from obese HAHAHA. I don’t know why also cos I didn’t think I had that much fat to begin with!
I didn’t test since then (and this was before I started spinning seriously) so I don’t know what my body fat percentage is now, but I do feel leaner.
Ironically, during MCO is when I started to see a lot of difference in my body. I will never know for sure, but I attribute it to a few things:
- I was so scared of losing my spin stamina — cos my stamina is usually very weak and I worked for a year to build it up and didn’t want to waste it wtf — that I started exercising every day during MCO. I was doing a HIIT workout or a spin session every other day, and alternating with a low impact, low intensity workout like yoga and pilates. I still lost my cycling stamina btw lolol but daily exercise is still a good thing!
- Eating at home is a lot cleaner — less salt and oil and additives I guess. I generally prefer very simple and light foods too, so I think we generally ate healthier. And even though we all continued to eat as much as usual (or even more rice wtf) I somehow still lost weight. I used to eat out a lot so it’s crazy how much fats and oils we must be eating outside then.
These days I still eat as much carbs as I want but I don’t take sugar. I don’t like dessert (besides maybe some ice cream and chocolate) but I loved soda. Staying away from sugary drinks has reduced my sugar tolerance so much that even when I want to drink now, too much tastes gross to me now – I can only take the same amount as normal people take for like whiskey wtf. Like two fingers in a glass wtf.
And I eat more veggies and fruits now! Some meals I don’t even eat meat so I can eat more veggies. And I try to aim for at least one serving of fruit a day. (I actually like fruits but before this never eat so much cos lazy to cut wtf)
Here are some before and after shots, some of which I’ve posted on Instagram! Show you again wtf.
Waist is smaller and more defined. I used to have more excess skin around my middle post babies too and I think my skin has tightened up.
I could have sworn my muffin top was here to stay hahaha. It was as stubborn as pi sai on your finger wtf. It finally shifted though but it happened so gradually I only realized when I stumbled upon this old photo (taken in 2017)
I used to have a ‘shelf’ over my C section scar which was a layer of fat and skin bulging over where my scar is wtf. My scar is still there but someone moved the shelf lolol *lame
Maybe butt is the biggest difference wtf. I’ve heard of this floppy butt thing that sometimes comes post baby which supposedly comes from inactivity when you’re pregnant and rapid weight gain and loss. I had it! Hahahaha.
Any quick tips?
A lot of people asked me how I slimmed down and got toned etc post kids which is why I decided to write this blog post. And my answer is that I don’t totally know hahahaha sorry waste your time wtf. I didn’t have any clear goals in mind when I started working out, besides to literally (1) strengthen my heart wtf (2) increase my stamina (3) vaguely lose some weight
I tried and stumbled through a bunch of things. But what I think I learned is this. And mind you, I’m not a health or fitness expert so these may only apply to me seeing as everyone is different.
- There were no shortcuts for me. I started exercising in 2017. It’s been three years lolol. Of course I didn’t change my eating habits much so I assume if you did, it would probably move faster for you.
- Fad diets don’t work for me. I did lose weight when I did the low carb thing, but I was really grumpy and didn’t enjoy eating wtf. Cos I really really love rice hahahaha. If you’re not happy doing it, chances are you won’t last so what’s the point.
- Cut sugar wtf. I feel like sugar really adds to muffin top easily lol. Trust me, after you’re done with sugar you won’t crave for it again.
- Eat more vegetables and fruit wtf. And drink more water wtf. It’s been said over and over again but it’s true! Bonus: fruit gives you the sugar if you want something sweet, and if like me you miss soda at first, drink sparkling water hahaha.
- Find an exercise (or exercises) that you like! Experiment and try different things — you don’t have to settle on something immediately. Use Classpass to trial new classes. It will really help you stick with a routine and feel less like work.
- Find a good motivation to stick to your new routine! My motivation was I hate wasting money and effort wtf. So I purposely signed up for paid classes (instead of going for a run or something) – I’m paying money I’d be less likely to skip it hahaha. And with an instructor yelling at me, I’m also more likely to push myself cos I’m inherently a sloth wtf. On the flip side, if you find it too much work to leave the house just to exercise, find a routine that you can do at home instead.
I think that’s about it! It really feels surreal to be writing about this cos really not an expert leh and also last person I’d expect myself to talk about fitness hahaha. But if I can do it so can you!!!