Shape Fit Girl is an annual search for the most inspiring, fresh-faced fitness personality in Singapore. Organised by Shape, this year’s competition received hundreds of entries, of which 20 hopefuls were shortlisted to take part in a fitness and dance challenge at sponsoring gym, Amore Fitness.
The workout segment involved doing as many continuous good reps as possible of push-ups, burpees, squat jumps, flutter kicks and planks, for one minute per exercise. Following that, contestants had to learn a hip-hop dance choreography, and groove to the beat of random songs during the dance challenge.
Judged by their fitness performance, showmanship and style, these women, along with Shape Fit Girl 2018 winner Roxanne Gan (featured on the cover), emerged as the top five finalists. Get to know them through these fun facts.
28, DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE
<b>FIT FASHION</b> Polyester elastane 2-tone sports bra with padding, $79, polyester polyamide woven shorts, $119, and polyester curve hem jacket, $179, all from Calvin Klein performance. Run Matrix Shoes, $249, from MBT.
Since young, Gillian had always been self-conscious about how she looks. Suffering from sensitive and allergy-prone skin, she did not feel confident about her appearance. And that was not all. “I had also never really liked the shape of my legs as I felt they were short and bulky, with lots of scars and scratch marks,” she says.
But exercise allowed her to gain confidence. “when I made a lifestyle change and started working out, I started working on my mindset too, and it made me feel so much more confident about myself and how I look,” says Gillian.
She eats out all the time – but healthily. Due to her busy training schedule, Gillian hardly finds the time to cook for herself and often eats out. While her favourites are the local chai tow kway, hokkien mee, char kway teow and satay, she usually opts for healthy soupy dishes. Her go-tos at the hawker centre are yong tau foo and fish soup, where she piles on the veggies.
She practises portion control by sharing snacks with her friends and family. Her favourite indulgences are kith singapore’s sea salt dark chocolate cookies and garrett popcorn. “usually I buy them for my friends and family so I get to eat a little bit when they open it – this stops me from eating everything myself,” says Gillian.
She only takes her carbs in the morning. Gillian kick-starts her mornings with coffee and a hearty breakfast like a subway wrap or porridge. Then, she avoids carbs for the rest of the day, having salads and protein-rich foods instead.
She once lost 6.5kg in a month through dieting. That was to meet the weight criteria of 46kg for the international brazilian jiu-jitsu world championship. “I was training two to three times a day, counting calories and tracking my diet with a spreadsheet,” says Gillian.
She finds mindfulness in doing martial arts. Finding inner peace while fighting? That’s right, Gillian loves the freedom she has to express herself in martial arts. “when you fight, you have no mental capacity for other distractions aside from engaging your opponent,” she says. “that’s how I practise mindfulness. Everything slows down even when I’m moving swiftly.”
GILLIAN GOH’S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE IS SNAGGING THIRD PLACE AS A WHITE BELT AT THE 2016 INTERNATIONAL BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU FEDERATION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.
32, WELLNESS ADVISOR
<b>FIT FASHION</b> Polyamide elastane sports bra, $70, polyester elastane printed mesh legging, $130, polyester mesh top, $55, and alpha Bounce Beyond sport shoes, $150, all from adidas performance (Suntec City).
She used to be an elite gymnast. Tiffany took up gymnastics at the age of three, but due to feet surgery and the accumulation of injuries, she had to quit the sport at 15 – the age where she should have peaked as an athlete. One day, she woke up unable to bend or move due to seizures in her pelvis and lower back. This left her in a back brace for six months. During her recovery period, she 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 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 where I feel more alive, more calm, or more complete than when I am climbing,” she says.
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 her body 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.
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 my 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.”
TIFFANY SOI (FOR SHORT) CREATED HER OWN WORKOUT, CLIMBFLOW, WHICH MIXES DYNAMIC YOGA AND FITNESS.
SARA MAY GARCIA PEREZ,
40, FITNESS INSTRUCTOR
<b>FIT FASHION</b> Under armour polyester elastane Low impact everyday Comfort Sports Bra, $59, odlo polyester elastane Light Shorts ,$69, newline polyester imotion printed jacket, $129, and under armour leather running shoes, $149, from Triplefit.
She has been exercising since she was five years old. From a young age, Sara has always been one with fitness. “I started swimming from the age of five until I was 15. After that, I never stopped training and went on to study all about fitness, physiology, biomechanics and movement,” she says. After specialising in sports science at colombian university pcjic, she went on to become a certified personal trainer, as well as a certified instructor in group exercise, aerobics, yoga, pilates and trx.
Today, she does everything from strength training to yoga. On top of core training and latino dance classes that she teaches, she’s always breaking a sweat with a workout schedule that involves strength and gym training, crossfit, cardio and yoga – each multiple times a week.
She once felt too big compared to asian girls. When Sara first came to singapore from colombia, she found that her muscles and physique made her look a lot bigger than the local women, who are generally more petite. However, that didn’t bother her for long. “I immediately I realised that this is what makes me special in this country.”
She hated working in an office. Ten years ago, Sara took on the role of a fitness manager, where she spent long hours cooped up in the office and stressed beyond measure. Her fitness level dropped, her muscles shrank and she felt tired just climbing up a flight of stairs. “I felt bad physically, had no energy and was very unhappy,” she says. That’s when she decided to return to the frontline as a fitness instructor.
Crossfit is her favourite workout. Of all workouts she has done, she names crossfit as her favourite because she gets a full-body workout, fast. Compared to simply running on the treadmill and lifting weights after, crossfit combines the cardio benefits of high-intensity interval training with that of strength and endurance in a short time period.
Her diet is spotless. Sara starts her day with a green juice comprising cucumber, spinach, kale, lemon juice, grapes, followed by a protein-loaded breakfast of six eggs, two yolks, rice and some fruits. During lunchtime, you’ll see her with a hearty bowl of brown rice, quinoa, spinach, chicken breast, avocado and hummus. And just before dinner, she typically guzzles down a protein shake with oats.
But she does have some indulgences! She wouldn’t say no to pizza, burgers, french fries, and a cold beer – but she limits those to once or twice a week. Nothing more.
SARA MAY GARCIA PEREZ LIVES BY HER FITNESS MANTRA – 70 PERCENT NUTRITION, 30 PERCENT EXERCISE.
SRI RANJINI MEI HUA,
33, RESEARCH MANAGER
<b>FIT FASHION</b> Polyester elastane strap bra, $59, polyester polyamide Bond rever Leggings, $199, polyester all Mesh hood jacket, $239, all from Calvin Klein performance. Run Matrix Shoes, $249, from MBT.
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 someone accompanied her.
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.
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.”
SRI RANJINI MEI HUA JUGGLES HER FULL-TIME JOB WITH TEACHING YOGA AND PILATES, AS WELL AS HITTING THE GYM UP TO THRICE A WEEK.
STYLING DOLPHIN YEO
PHOTOGRAPHY ANGELA GUO
ART DIRECTION RAY TICSAY
HAIR JENNY LEE AND NORMAN CHAN FROM MONSOON USING SCHWARZKOPF PROFESSIONAL
MAKEUP RINA SIN USING NARS AND JOHN LEE, FAC3INC, USING LAURA MERCIER