By April Chong
Ursula Pong, 50
- The Chinese-Canadian has been a physical education teacher at the Singapore American School for the past 20 years.
- She is married to Marcel Daane, 44, a fitness performance coach from the Netherlands, and they have a nine-year-old daughter, Kilani.
- She is 1.64m tall and weighs 54kg.
- In January, the amateur bodybuilder and boxer came in second at the NUS Muscle and Fitness War in the body fitness category, competing against women 20 to 30 years her junior.
- She will be a participant at the International Drug Free Athletics competition in Canada in July (the physique master's category).
What do you do to keep fit?
This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.
I make fitness a priority and an everyday activity - just like showering or brushing my teeth. I do six days of weights training and a day of yoga every week.
When a competition is coming up, I set up a workout plan. When I work out at home, my daughter Kilani often participates by creating circuits at our home gym and acting as a timer for me.
What is your secret to looking so fabulous?
Looking fabulous is in the eye of the beholder. I have been exercising most of my adult life and the investment has paid off.
Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?
I was a very active skinny kid and had a very fast metabolism. My younger years were spent working hard at putting on weight.
What is your diet like?
For the most part, I eat as cleanly as possible - lots of fruit and vegetables, steamed or grilled fish and chicken, and if I eat starchy carbohydrates, it will be brown rice or wholewheat pasta. I avoid products that have been sitting on the shelf for more than a week.
What are your indulgences?
Pizza and good quality chocolate, two things I have to forgo when I am preparing for a competition.
Do you count your calories and why?
I only do that when I am competing for an event in order to lose body fat and keep the muscles. Otherwise, I count on my natural instinct to stop eating when I feel full.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance and what do you do to relax?
My family is equally enthusiastic about health and fitness. Very often, my husband and I work out at the same time at night or early in the morning. Sometimes, my daughter will join us for 15 minutes.
I have a massage at least once a week either at a spa or I have someone come to my home.
What are the three most important things in your life?
Me, my family, friends and students. I guess that makes four things. It sounds really egocentric to put me first but we have a saying in our family that if we cannot take care of ourselves first, then we cannot take care of others.
Would you go for plastic surgery and why?
I would only consider plastic surgery if it was a health issue. I personally do not think there's anything attractive about a 50-year-old trying to look 20. I prefer to look like an attractive 50-year-old with wrinkles. For every wrinkle, there is a story.
Do you think you are sexy?
I do not necessarily see myself as sexy but I do see myself as a happy and confident woman which is a far more important way to view myself. That, in itself, is sexy.