You in shape: Flo­rence Wan

Shape (Malaysia) - - Contents - BY V.DURGA

Like most peo­ple, project man­ager Flo­rence Wan Wai Ching only ex­er­cised when she was in school. Once she en­tered the work­force, she was left with lit­tle time to work on her body and the pounds ac­cu­mu­lated. The turn­ing point was when she al­most lost her di­a­betic fa­ther to high fever. To­day, the 42-year-old KL-ite glows pink with health. Tell us about your­self “The only time I’ve been ac­tive in my life was dur­ing my child­hood and teenage years when I took bal­let lessons up to three times a week. I stopped at the age of 16 to focus on stud­ies. My life­style had been pretty se­den­tary oth­er­wise, with maybe an oc­ca­sional hike or swim dur­ing hol­i­days, twice a year. As an adult, I worked long hours at the com­puter or at meet­ings, some­times last­ing late into the night. A few years back, I made sev­eral at­tempts to in­crease my move­ment by go­ing on weekly walks or hikes. I tried con­trol­ling my diet by min­imis­ing carbs. I suc­cess­fully lost weight but I gained it all back a year later. In 2014, I signed up at a gym and took part in 10km and 21km road races. When my trainer left, I was strug­gling for a rea­son to go back be­cause I just hated do­ing car­dio group classes at the gym. Things went down­hill from there. I was at the low­est point in 2013 as I was ter­ri­bly un­happy with my ca­reer and felt un­sure of which direc­tion to take. I was also the heav­i­est in 2016 at 81kg.”

What was your turn­ing point? “I was climb­ing a flight of stairs at work in 2016. I couldn’t keep up and was pant­ing re­ally hard. I asked my­self, how did I go from run­ning a half marathon to that? Just be­fore that, my fa­ther was hos­pi­talised and warded in the ICU for a se­vere fever. We al­most lost him, but thank­fully he pulled through and is well to­day. I thought to my­self, this is not how I want to live the rest of my days, wor­ry­ing about my health and won­der­ing how to care for my par­ents. One of my clos­est friends had passed away from Amy­otrophic Lat­eral Scle­ro­sis (a pro­gres­sive neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease that af­fects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord) as well and was known to love run­ning. I de­cided I should do the best of my abil­ity to shape up and care for my­self and loved ones bet­ter. So I had to make the changes.”

When did you start see­ing re­sults? “I was fol­low­ing Noel Chel­liah, a fit­ness trainer, on so­cial me­dia for sev­eral months in 2016. He of­fered an on­line coach­ing course and I signed up for it. Not long af­ter, I joined his Dai­lyMus­cle gym and took part in the weight loss chal­lenge. In a year, I lost 13kg. The com­mu­nity sup­port at Dai­lyMus­cle is the rea­son why I’m stay­ing com­mit­ted to my weight loss jour­ney.” Who has been your big­gest mo­ti­va­tor? “My mother is my big­gest in­spi­ra­tion. She has bat­tled cancer and is liv­ing her life well with a pos­i­tive heart.”

What is your cur­rent weekly work­out rou­tine like? “I go for HIIT work­outs four to five times a week. On other days, I run and have re­cently taken up wall/ rock climb­ing to in­clude low in­ten­sity move­ment.”

What is your favourite ex­er­cise and why? “HIIT work­outs are the best. I get my whole body worked out ef­fec­tively in 45 min­utes. I don’t be­lieve in spend­ing ridicu­lous amount of hours at the gym. HIIT is also eas­ily done without need­ing gym equip­ment when I’m trav­el­ling. I can just bring with me a set of work­outs and do them in the ho­tel room.”

Which body part did you have to work the hard­est on? “My up­per body and core are not as strong as my legs. I still can’t pull my­self up to the bar and there is a stub­born pudge of fat around my lower abs! My fit­ness goal? I aim to do the Spar­tan Race again next year, with a faster fin­ish­ing time.”

Is there a cer­tain food that you sim­ply can­not re­sist? “I’ve re­duced sugar tremen­dously in­clud­ing honey or maple syrup. I’ve stopped tak­ing sugar with my cof­fee and tea for the past two years and it has im­proved my en­ergy lev­els. But de­pend­ing on my mood, I might have an ice-cream, choco­late or yar chau kwai (Chi­nese fried crullers) ev­ery now and then.”

What do you like about your shape? “I like that I am still curvy but am much leaner and stronger now. Many peo­ple have told me that they see a won­der­ful glow about me.”

BE­FORE AF­TER

Flo­rence is at an ob­sta­cle dur­ing the Spar­tan Race.

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