How do you keep fit?
My current routine includes daily pilates sessions, regular walks with my dog and weekly runs at Punggol Promenade.
I teach about 22 pilates classes a week, with 20 of these classes involving exercises done on a resistance machine called a reformer and the other two classes involving pilates done on a mat. Each class lasts an hour.
Outside of such classes, I practise pilates on my own twice a day for between 15 and 30 minutes.
How do you incorporate physical activities into your lifestyle?
I walk up escalators, park my car at the highest level of the carpark so that I have to walk further, use the stairs instead of the lift even when I am wearing high heels, walk instead of drive whenever I can and organise activities, such as exploring parks in Singapore, instead of chilling out in cafes.
How has your exercise regimen changed over the years?
I signed up for a gym membership after I graduated from the National University of Singapore. Although I enjoyed the group exercises, I soon became bored and did not renew my membership after a year.
I tried yoga and pilates when they became popular and later moved on to hot yoga and the pilates reformer.
After all these years, I find pilates is the most challenging for my body and mind. I view pilates as more of a principle or concept, rather than a fixed set of movements, so I will never find it boring. Based on this, I can create different routines to meet various lifestyle needs.
What is your secret to looking fabulous?
It is a huge challenge to stay fit as my body is the chubby type.
I know I will never be skinny, but I can at least be toned and fit. I know that I have to work harder than most people to look presentable; that is also the reason why I wanted to create my own brand of pilates - to appeal to others like me.
Diet also plays an important role. Thankfully, I cannot stomach oily food very well and I am beginning to appreciate greens and raw food.
Has there been a time when you were not fit and fabulous?
When I was working in the corporate world, my health was at its worst. Stress and lack of time to exercise were my biggest issues. I had to resort to controlling my diet to maintain my weight, but that alone could not make me look toned.
Six months after I started teaching pilates full-time, my fat percentage dropped from 28 per cent to 21 per cent.
What is your diet like?
I start with a light breakfast of coffee and usually bread with eggs.
Lunch could be sushi or a beef salad. When I have lunch meetings with business associates, I will limit my food intake to mainly meat with little or no carbohydrates.
As for dinner, I try my best to eat before 6pm - soup, lots of fruit or half a portion of takeaway meals, such as half a packet of hor fun.
I live to eat, so I do not track my calories as it is all about balance. If I eat more today, I will eat less and work out more tomorrow.
I also follow these three diet principles: No food (except water and fruit) after 6pm, a daily intake of three litres of water, and regular intake of probiotic beverages or digestive teas to ensure daily bowel movements.
How has this diet changed over the years?
I used to have late dinners - at 10pm after work, for instance. Although my intake was still half or less of a portion, I gained weight really quickly.
I used to drink only a litre of water a day - usually two glasses in the morning and two glasses at night.
There was simply no time to drink or use the bathroom during the day. Ever since I bought a one-litre water bottle, it has helped me to hit my three-litre target each day and I do feel a lot better.
What are your indulgences?
Chocolate, bread and pastries.
I have grown to appreciate dark chocolate as milk chocolate is usually more fattening.
How should people approach exercise?
It is all about creating new habits. When exercise becomes a habit, you will find that you need less motivation to do it and you can achieve it without thinking too much.
I always get clients to adopt new healthy habits alongside their current ones. For example, have a workout right after work, starting every Monday only and then gradually increase this to three times a week. Schedule everything, so that there is no need to think about what to do and to reduce the chances of skipping a workout.
What are the three most important things in your life?
To be healthy and to be able to always do things that make me happy. Lastly, my family and friends.
Would you go for plastic surgery?
Not now, but I may go for surgery to maintain my looks.
Do you think you are sexy?
I think I have a sexy butt and a trim waistline. Many people have told me so.
I feel that everyone is sexy and you need to play up your strengths and play down your negative areas by wearing the right clothes and exercising regularly.
Ms Candice Chin
For six years, Ms Chin clocked 10 to 12-hour workdays conceptualising new marketing strategies for a telco.
She barely had time for exercise, felt lethargic all the time, had weekly migraines and frequent back pain.
Her back pain was exacerbated by scoliosis, a condition caused by a curvature of the spine, which was diagnosed in her early teens.
In 2004, she picked up pilates as a form of relaxation and to try to get back into shape. Her backaches were alleviated as she became fitter.
She enjoyed it so much she took two weeks of leave to attend a pilates mat instructor course, following which she offered classes in clients' homes or by renting space.
Encouraged by the constant stream of referrals from her students, she decided to make a career switch. In 2010, she left her job to set up Pilates Fitness.
A year later, Ms Chin, who is single, opened her first studio at Telok Blangah, followed by a second in Serangoon last December.
This article was first published on Nov 20, 2014.
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