Moving to her own beat

Spin class instructor Beatrice Ding.

How do you keep fit?

I teach up to three spin classes a day, six days a week.

Each 50-minute class is a full-body workout. Besides peddling, I also work the arms and abdomen with dumbells and do yoga-like stretches while standing on the stationary bike.

What is your philosophy on eating?

It sounds ironic, but having an extremely sweet tooth motivates me to live healthily most of the time.

I try to eat clean 80 per cent of the time. On my cheat days, I can eat about twice my usual amount.

Breakfast alone may comprise waffles, pancakes, eggs and sausages, followed by several slices of pizza for lunch.

I do not restrict myself when I eat out. I have balanced meals and listen to my body. It helps that I do so much cardiovascular exercise these days.

What is your typical diet like?

Breakfast is a protein bar, or a smoothie on the go.

My mid-morning snack includes two or three egg whites with mushroomccs and spinach, as well as fruit.

My lunch is light. It is usually a salad with lots of superfood toppings, such as pumpkin, salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bell peppers.

My midday snack includes peanut butter and banana sandwiches, homemade granola and coconut water.

If dinner does not comprise vegetables, fish and a clear Chinese soup, then it will be a big portion of a rare steak.

How has your diet changed?

I used to think that I could eat three bananas for breakfast and then burn them off in a yoga class.

But not being able to fit into my pants was a sad way to find out that I was wrong. Now, I know better after reading up on food choices and nutrition.

It is important to understand your cravings. For example, when I'm tired, my body will crave carbohydrates - bread, pasta or potato chips - and if I cave in, I will crave them more and more.

The better solution is to consume food rich in protein - meat, fish, beans or nuts - or just to drink water. The body mistakes dehydration for hunger.

What are your indulgences?

I have a current obsession with dirty soya chai latte, which is an addition of one shot of espresso into a soya chai latte.

I've had one almost every day for the past few months.

What do you do to relax?

Music relaxes me. I actually get stressed when there is no music playing at any time.

A reason why I love my job is because I get to source for new music and put together music playlists for the spin classes.

At home, I'll turn my phone off, drip lavender chamomile oil all over my pillow and close my eyes while listening to Los Angeles singer Jhene Aiko, Regan "Ta-ku" Mathews from Australia or English indie-electronica outfit The xx.

What is your secret to looking fabulous?

I have no secret recipe, but I definitely owe my looks to a healthy regimen.

When I was younger, I had horrible skin. I would eat a McDonald's quarter pounder meal every two days, then have half a pint of ice cream for dessert.

As the junk food queen, my snacks would include pounds of candy and bags of potato chips. My childhood friends still bring up the fact that I had mountains of candy and chocolate in my room all the time.

I don't know how I did not become overweight, but I had tired skin and eyes all the time.

I have learnt that your body is like a machine, so you have to fuel it correctly. I stay away from cigarettes, soda, white bread, and I always try to get eight hours of sleep.

Lastly, I drink lots of water. As soon as I wake up, I drink almost a litre.

What are the three most important things in your life?

Food, music and family.

I am in the kitchen a lot. I try to cook or bake whenever I have time so I know what goes into the food I eat.

Music is my form of escape and I love curating playlists; it is an important outlet through which I get to express myself.

I have always been very close to my siblings and we've always cared for our friends like they are our family members. Hence, my siblings are also my business partners at CruCycle.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

No. It's unnatural.

Do you think you're sexy?

I've never liked that word, therefore I don't think I am sexy.

But I'm confident in my own body. It's a feeling derived from having a sense of accomplishment, gaining knowledge about the world and doing what you can for other people.

BIO BOX

Ms Beatrice Ding

Age: 24

Weight: 54kg

Height: 1.62m

Ms Ding was raised in Singapore and Los Angeles (LA) in the United States. She recalled being the last person on the track during her physical fitness exams (Napfa) at Singapore Chinese Girls' School and the Singapore American School.

She was too lazy to run faster even though she enjoyed sports and was on both schools' tennis teams.

While pursuing a degree in mass communications at Loyola Marymount University in LA, she started exercising leisurely almost every day.

She calls LA - where she was born - the "most fitness-crazed city in the world". It gave her the opportunity to try a myriad of exercises, including spin, kickboxing and hiking.

Back in Singapore, Ms Ding was disappointed she could not find an indoor cycling experience that was similar to what she had attended in LA. That was why she and her 27-year-old brother decided to set up their own studio in 2012.

Both are class instructors, also known as pack leaders, of indoor cycling studio CruCycle, which opened last October. Her 28-year-old sister handles the public relations and marketing for the studio.

Ms Ding, who is single, said her job helps her stay in shape.

joanchew@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 11, 2015.
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