“Fitness is about being healthy, and making the right choices for your body by mindfully moving, eating and thinking.”
Alice Chen, 28, tells us how she gained better health through running, CrossFit, weight-lifting and yoga.
Tell us about yourself
“My name is Alice and I am a wellness blogger. I’ve always loved the idea of being healthy but never thought I could achieve it. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom in life that I decided to work towards becoming the strongest and healthiest version of myself. Today, I’ve come far from where I was. ”
When did your fitness journey start?
“Although I was relatively active in school, my journey began during college. I was severely depressed and unhealthy during that time, and felt that the only way for me to start feeling better was through exercise. I started running and participating in 5k runs, and progressed to half marathons. From there, I switched to obstacle races such as Spartan and Tough Mudder. This has improved my overall health and allowed me a more fulfilling and balanced life.”
Any struggles along the way?
“Absolutely! I’ve been dealing with severe depression most of my life, and a few years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease - Hashimoto which is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. Due to that, my health has declined but it didn’t stop me from working towards being my healthiest and happiest self. Being healthy takes take hard work. I believe that determination and being consistent will get you there.”
What’s your workout routine like?
“I work out about five times a week. It includes two days of kettlebell circuit, running and indoor cycling, and yoga on consecutive days. I change my routine every three months to make sure that I don’t plateau, and to keep it challenging and fun.”
Your fitness mantra?
“For me, fitness is about being healthy, making the right choices for your body by mindfully moving, eating and thinking.”
How’s your diet?
“Since I have an autoimmune disease, my diet is somewhat paleo – gluten free, dairy free and soy free. This means I eat plenty of greens, protein, carbohydrates and fats! I love cooking simple, quick and easy meals. Sometimes it gets difficult to eat out with my special diet - so it’s easier to make my own food. I reserve several hours in the weekend to shop for grocery, and prepare my meals. For example, I love cauliflower ‘rice’ so I prepare them using a food processor to store or freeze for later use. I always add a good mix of greens, protein and fats to my meals to keep it colourful. I’m not on any medication for my condition as I would like to heal myself holistically through mindful eating, moving and thinking.”
Do you have cheat days?
“I tend to stick to a cheat meal rather than cheat days generally. There are times when I’m travelling and there’s something that I’d like to try because you always have to live a little, right? I see eating well or poorly as a pendulum swing; you swing but you can always get back to the start. If you have a cheat meal or day, don’t beat yourself up for it. Just be mindful, and consider drinking lots of water. Then, eat better in the days ahead!”
How do you stay positive?
“Chase gratitude and not happiness, or any superficial things. Happiness is binary and it is often out of our control. We have the power to choose to be grateful even when things aren’t going according to plan. It’s always best to find light in even the smallest little things.”
Advice for those who want to start the fitness journey?
“For those who have just started or are looking to start their fitness journey, keep challenging yourself. It takes time and hard work but it is possible! Have faith in yourself. I always suggest to first consult a professional trainer to teach you the proper and fundamental forms. I always see newbies injuring themselves with poor posture, or incorrect forms. Invest into yourself, and make sure that you do your workouts correctly as it does go a long way. And, you’ll be so much happier that you did. Once you have the fundamental movements down, work towards making it a habit. Give yourself time to make this routine stick and be consistent with your plan. Also, if you’re working out more, make sure that you’re replenishing your body with proper macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) an hour after your workout. Eat more because your body needs it! And, don’t starve yourself.”
What do you love about your shape?
“I am proud of my shape because it is mine. I love my thick legs and muscles because they have moulded me towards becoming the strong woman that I am now. There are no idealized beauty standards that I try to adhere to, as I only aim to be strong, both mentally and physically. I love challenging and pushing myself to see what my body is capable of. I’d love women everywhere to physically move to feel powerful in their own skin.