Road map to staying fit

Ms Jenny Lem, an account analyst at JP Morgan, is an ultramarathon runner and avid yogi. She runs six times a week and does yoga at least three times a week to keep fit.

What do you do to keep fit?

I run a lot - six times a week, to be exact. My rest day is Thursday.

I also do yoga at least three times a week. I have practised yoga for six years and find that the meditation which I do during the sessions helps me to stay focused and gives me the ability to connect with my body.

I keep to this exercise routine when I am preparing for races.

I start each year with a schedule of the races which I would like to compete in. These are local, such as the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge 2015, which I ran with my colleagues in April, as well as overseas events.

I then stick to the training plan which has been mapped out for me to prepare for the races.

Who maps out your training?

I have trained with Journey Fitness Company for the past six years. It provides a scientific and education-focused approach to improving performance, managing weight and enhancing fitness.

To me, the discipline and structure required to prepare for races is crucial to accomplishing the desired result that I seek in each race.

Do you take a break when you are not preparing for a race?

Keeping fit is a continuous journey, so I alternate between training for a race and off-season training.

During the off-season, when I am not preparing for any event, I do not run, but I do other physical activities, six times a week.

These include swimming, cycling, weight training, rowing and going for aerobics classes. I absolutely enjoy these body-conditioning workouts.

What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

Having at least 71/2 hours of sleep each day. Also, having a positive outlook on life and living each day to the fullest.

Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

Not really. I've always been active and keeping fit was never a chore for me.

My father died of liver failure when I was 16 years old.

It dawned upon me how important it is to stay fit and healthy, and it fuelled my desire to exercise.

What is your diet like?

I stick to mostly protein, vegetables and fruit. I have carbohydrates only when I need to recover from a hard workout or race.

When I am preparing for a race,

I am careful with what I eat.

Proper nutrition is required during the run-up to an event or race, so I make sure I stick to a balanced diet which I've designed for myself.

How do you watch your diet?

I don't overeat, I eat my meals at regular intervals and I don't skip meals.

What are your indulgences?

Fried rice, deep-fried food and sweets. I don't feel guilty eating these foods, particularly fried rice, which I consume when I need to recover.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

I run, practise yoga and go to the movies or have a massage to help me relax after work. I work hard, play hard, focus when I need to and indulge when I have to.

What are the three most important things in your life?

Family, dignity and respect.

What are the three least important things in your life?

Negativity, hankering after fame and fortune, and fearing growing old.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

No. I appreciate the gifts which God has given me and I am thankful for them every day.

Do you think you're sexy?

Anyone can be sexy as long as he is self-confident and happy with himself and with what he can achieve.

BIO BOX

Ms Jenny Lem

AGE: 33

WEIGHT: 54kg

HEIGHT: 1.7m

While the ultramarathon runner and avid yogi has been active since her teens, it was not until 2007 that she began training in earnest for races.

"I started exercising more regularly and found that the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it," she said.

"I attribute it to the endorphins which are released. It makes me feel energised, rejuvenated and happy."

That was the year she and an ex-colleague decided to try running a marathon.

"We had read all about marathons and we set ourselves a goal of trying to complete at least one, to hopefully survive the 'adventure'," she said.

"However, soon, I had completed three marathons and

I was curious to know if I could run further."

That was when her interest in ultramarathons was piqued.

"While some may find endless running dreary, I get a rush from the challenge of pushing myself to the limit and going beyond it," said Ms Lem, who is single.

"It's about wanting to achieve the target which you have set and going about accomplishing it."

Ms Lem, an account analyst at JP Morgan, has completed 20 marathons and four ultramarathons.

She has a brother and a sister and is the youngest in her family. These days, running is so much a part of her life that she has incorporated it into her work routine.

Twice a week, she runs 17km from her home to her office to clock the miles for her weekday runs.

joyceteo@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 4, 2015.
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