“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.

Shape (Malaysia) - - EAT RIGHT - BY SOPHIA IVY JO

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.

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