Singapore #Fispo of the week: Michelle Goh

Singapore #Fispo of the week: Michelle Goh

Michelle Goh is a digital marketer and real estate agent.

Michelle Goh is a digital marketer and real estate agent. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Life goes beyond the numbers on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to inspiring Singaporean men and women leading healthy and active lifestyles. Do you have someone to recommend? Hit on Where !

Last name: Michelle Goh Jing Yi ()

Age: 27

Height: 1.57m

Lester: 47.5kg

Occupation: Digital Marketing and Realtor

Status: Married

Food: I try to stick to two meals a day, with juice as the third meal – it could be lunch or dinner depending on the day. I also limit my intake of carbohydrates like rice, bread, etc.

Exercise: I exercise four to five times a week – either a run, swim or HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Q: Swimming was an integral part of your life when you were younger.

A: From a young age, my parents introduced me to all kinds of sports that I really loved like ballet, gymnastics, wushu, sailing, tennis, rollerblading and swimming. But the one sport that became a big part of my life was synchronized swimming. I was also part of the national team, training eight times a week (eg 5-9pm Monday-Thursday, 7-12pm and 2-5pm weekends).

Michelle has represented Singapore in synchronized swimming.

Michelle has represented Singapore in synchronized swimming. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

What did you get into as you got older?

Working out seven to eight times a week when I was younger felt like my social life was being taken away from me. When I got into poly, I sort of “revenged rested” and refused to play sports for the next three years. But eventually when I went to college I missed playing team sports and I realized what I needed was more of a balanced lifestyle, so I finally joined. swim team at my university and also learned lifesaving.

Being at both ends of the spectrum (from exercising seven to eight times a week to not exercising at all) made me realize that exercise really does release happy hormones and relieve stress and make you mentally healthier and happier.

How do you balance your work and your workouts?

Either I get up early to go for a run or I exercise after work. I also booked specific days to go swimming with my friend so that would take priority over other appointments.

Sure, there are days when I would feel lazy to run, or unmotivated but that’s okay. I’ll just do a reeeeealllyyy short workout (because less workout is better than no workout) or I’ll just take it as a rest day as long as I don’t do it consecutively for a few days and end up losing l momentum to exercise.

What are your fitness goals now?

My fitness goal is very simple, I just want to be able to train four times a week so I can eat more. I really like food so my motivation for exercising is to eat haha! For me, fitness (apart from allowing me to eat more) is an outlet to de-stress, take my mind off things, and just focus on the workout I’m doing.

I know sometimes the process can be painful and not the most pleasant, but believe me, it gets easier and you will feel a huge sense of accomplishment when you can FEEL it easier.

Michelle's current goal is to train enough to eat more.

Michelle’s current goal is to train enough to eat more. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

When you were younger, did you have any incidents that made you feel uncomfortable?

I don’t think there was any particular incident but I think my mom (or at least I heard from my friends) that Asian moms tend to tell their daughters that they are fat even if they are not. Besides being in a sport like synchronized swimming, I don’t think I can say 100% with certainty that I was confident and sure of my body. Which is quite ironic because when you see us compete, it’s all about exuding that confidence.

But as cliché as it sounds, I think going through all that taught me that behind all that “glam” you see on stage, there’s a group of young girls who were constantly being compared and had to respect Ridiculous beauty standards, and they can be “skinny” or “fit,” but each of us has had our own struggles.

It taught me to love myself more, to treat myself better, and to be more empathetic and understanding to people who are struggling with their bodies because we don’t know what they may have been through.

When did you feel least sure of yourself?

I had the least self-confidence when I came back from a month of summer school in Korea. I barely exercised and ate and drank so much that I came back with quite a significant weight gain. Resuming training afterwards, in a bathing suit, made me extremely aware of the weight gain and especially in a bathing suit where the curves are further accentuated due to the tight fit.

So I took action against my insecurities and followed a diet and exercise program for two weeks to reduce my weight. I stayed away from alcohol, sugary drinks, and ate salad for dinner before 6:30 p.m. in addition to exercising three to four times a week. The fact that my boyfriend was abroad for those two weeks also helped immensely as there was no one around to tempt me with good food on a date night so I could stay disciplined throughout and go all the way.

Michelle felt pressured to maintain her weight while doing synchronized swimming.

Michelle felt pressured to maintain her weight while doing synchronized swimming. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Have you ever struggled with your body?

Yes, as I mentioned earlier, being in an artistic sport like synchronized swimming, coaches are very particular about how our bodies look. It felt like we had to be a size 2, with a 24 inch waist and very skinny legs. In their eyes, underweight was “acceptable” and acceptable was “overweight”. They monitored our weight every day before and after training.

I still remember they had this formula to determine if you were an acceptable weight – for example; your height (in centimeters) minus 13 (57-13 = 44), so anything over 44 kg meant being overweight and you had to do extra training to compensate for that. Being in that environment made me feel like any weight above that makes me fat and insecure and that I had to be a certain body type, and that mentality lived with me until until I go to university.

It didn’t matter that I had an acceptable BMI, but I constantly felt fat. Looking back to my youth, I was leaner than ever and I wish I could tell myself I looked good and just be confident.

Are you satisfied with your body now?

Yes or at least I try to be. I think I am satisfied with my body when I do a certain number of exercises per week. As long as I exercise, I’m happy with my body because I tried hard enough to stay in shape. I realized that everyone has different body types and all I can do is make an effort to own my body.

Have you ever received comments about your body?

I certainly received comments about my body. My mom says it all the time and my trainers who haven’t seen me in a while were telling me that I looked bigger, that I had gained weight and that I should do more squats to refine my legs etc

At 1.57m, I think every kilogram gained is much more evident on the body. If I could change anything about myself, I’d like to be taller, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not aware of my thighs at all but hey, acceptance is a process and I’m working on it 🙂

Singapore #Fispo of the week: Michelle Goh.

Singapore #Fispo of the week: Michelle Goh. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)


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