Singapore #fitspo of the week_ nadiah aj. seah _ fit to post sports – yahoo sports singapore
Strong is the new sexy and fitness is the new party. With society leaning towards health and fitness, Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to all inspirational women in Singapore leading active lifestyles. Know of any who deserve to be featured? Hit me up on CherylTay. sg and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (cheryltaysg).
Nadiah. Photo: Cheryl Tay
Name: Nadiah AJ. Seah (IG: @nadiahxfit)
Occupation: Sports and Health Educator
Diet: Carb cycling with six meals a day during competition prep of 16 weeks; relatively clean during off-season with indulgences
Training: 5 to 6 times a week of compound and isolation exercises, with cardio or HIIT too
Were you active in any sports when you were younger?
I was trained in Chinese Dance in primary school and hardly played any sports except during PE lessons. I started competing in judo during my time at Bishan Park Secondary, then the same inspired me to pursue judo in Junior College as well. I competed for another two years in Nanyang Junior College.
When did you start going to the gym?
I was first introduced to lifting weights during the strength and conditioning module I took in my last year of Physical Education and Sports Science studies. I was 23 and going through a rough time, so lifting weights became a personal avenue for distraction.
I progressively lifted heavier a couple of months later and I had my mind set on learning to execute a strict pull-up. To be honest, I was more addicted to improving my strength and form rather than to see physical changes to my body. Progressing to deadlifting 100kg and executing pull-ups with ease now gives me a great sense of personal achievement.
Why did you decide to compete in physique competitions?
I toyed with the idea of competing for a year after seeing pictures of local women bodybuilders in local and regional competitions. I was inspired by how they embodied beauty and strength at the same time. A good friend thought that I should give it a shot, so he guided me in my shoulder and back trainings. Without his help, I doubt I would have even competed!
When was your first competition?
My first competition was Muscle and Fitness War 2015 in the Women’s Figure category and I did not make any placing. But that was fine because I did not have much expectation for myself since I was new to the bodybuilding scene and there were so many things that I needed to learn. Looking at the stage photos made me realise that I needed to work on my proportion and poses.
Nadiah. Photo: Cheryl Tay
How do you feel wearing a bikini in front of such a large audience?
It was very uncomfortable wearing a bikini on stage during my first competition and I was not too sure about what poses worked best for my body type. Walking in five-inch heels was another challenge as well. However, I was fortunate to attend a workshop conducted by Dana Carmont, a stage coach who was a former competitor. She was warm and encouraging, and definitely made my experience on stage less intimidating!
What were the other competitions you took part in?
I then went on to compete in the Singapore National Weekend 2015 in the Women’s Bikini category organised by Bodybuilding Singapore. I won champion in my class and second overall.
Competing allows me to exercise my competitive drive that has been cultivated in me since I was 13. I like having goals and overcoming challenges. These events also allowed me to meet other women who share the same passion! People might think women competitors are catty, but when we meet we’re mostly giggling and talking about our post-competition cheat meals!
Nadiah. Photo: Yahoo Newsroom.
What are the challenges when preparing for such competitions?
I love lifting weights so training is not the challenge. The true challenge is definitely the dieting. The first few weeks of competition preparations are always the hardest. It is a constant mental battle between me and my cravings. After a while, dieting becomes a habit.
During the 16 weeks, I also turn into an anti-social being as I am unable to join my colleagues or friends in gatherings because it either involves food or because I have to train. I am thankful that my colleagues and friends are supportive. They understand why I am withdrawn during these times.
Are you content with your body now?
I am mostly comfortable in my own skin but I do have “fat days” too. However, I have come to terms with myself that it is unhealthy to maintain a low body fat percentage all year round. I am fortunate that my boyfriend is very supportive. He often motivates and encourages. His assurance helps me get over my “fat days” quickly.
What kind of comments do you get about your body?
I have received all sorts of comments, both positive and negative. During competition preparation, I am quite lean that my deltoid striations and six-pack are visible. Sometimes, strangers would whisper to their friends and say, “Eeeyer disgusting!” or “So manly!”
Some individuals are still stuck in their dated views of women. The media is also warped in their expectations of women; too skinny, too fat, too muscular. I just ignore the negativity because we can never please everyone.
Did you ever feel not confident about your body before?
I was not overweight but I was on the chubbier side of the scale. I was not confident about my body throughout my teenage years but I was not too bothered about it because my focus and energy were diverted into studying and training. I did not care on who thought I was cute or who liked me in school.
Who is your fitness inspiration?
I look up to Andreia Brazier and Dana Linn Bailey. I admire these women beyond their amazing physique. They are both very driven to be champions in their own divisions as well as driven to build their own empire in the fitness industry. Dana’s YouTube channel guided me in my training when I was lost on what to do. I would really like to meet these two women some day!
Why should people make an effort to lead an active lifestyle?
People should keep an active lifestyle to maintain good health. It will help lower the risk in various diseases such coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis in our older years.
One can still feel fine with the lack of exercise or bad nutrition now; however age will slowly but surely catch up. Take an active lifestyle as a personal investment for a good quality of life in our silver years. Why medicate when some illnesses could be prevented!