ROCK IT LIKE ROXANNE

The win­ner of Shape Fit Girl 2018 talks about her stress­ful past, and how she con­quers what­ever life throws at her.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

In many ways, Roxanne Gan is a star. On In­sta­gram (@rox­an­ne_yoga), she has an im­pres­sive 118K fol­low­ers and grow­ing, most of who fol­low her for yoga tips and tu­to­ri­als, as well as her fit­ness and body trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney. (More on that later.)

Be­sides of­fer­ing work­out tips on so­cial me­dia, she’s also a full-time yoga in­struc­tor at Vir­gin Ac­tive, where she teaches classes and does yoga pro­gramme plan­ning. This new po­si­tion comes af­ter her yoga and fit­ness-teach­ing stints at Hom Yoga, now de­funct Affin­ity Yoga, True Fit­ness, True Yoga, Pure Yoga and pri­vate clubs over the last seven years.

Her fit­ness cre­den­tials are amaz­ing and life smooth­sail­ing, but the road to suc­cess was not easy. In her early twen­ties, Roxanne strug­gled with al­most ev­ery as­pect of her life: stud­ies, fi­nances, re­la­tion­ships, fit­ness, diet and body im­age.

“It went down­hill af­ter I ex­ited a re­la­tion­ship in 2009,” she shares. To re­frain from dwelling on it, she threw her­self into ex­er­cise, do­ing a mix of run­ning, yoga and body com­bat for two hours a day, six times a week.

All those work­outs did not stop her from pil­ing on weight, as she ne­glected her diet, of­ten bing­ing on junk food and fast food due to stress. As an un­der­grad ma­jor­ing in eco­nomics and fi­nance at the Sin­ga­pore In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment, she dreaded study­ing, and had to take on var­i­ous part-time jobs – such as giv­ing tu­ition and teach­ing spin­ning classes – to fi­nance her pri­vate school fees.

“I was do­ing what my par­ents ex­pected of me, to get a de­gree be­fore find­ing a sta­ble job. But I’ve never been strong aca­dem­i­cally, so those three years of univer­sity were painful,” she re­calls.

In eight months, her weight bal­looned from 48kg to 58kg – the heav­i­est she’s ever been. “My self-es­teem was at an all-time low. I just wanted to hide at home ev­ery day. If I had to go out, I would put on the bag­gi­est clothes.”

De­spite ex­er­cis­ing more, the ex­tra ki­los did not budge. That weight loss cri­sis lasted four years, un­til Roxanne made some life-chang­ing de­ci­sions.

Fast for­ward to to­day, she’s a fig­ure of in­spi­ra­tion, from her toned physique to clear-head­ed­ness to dis­ci­plined life­style. “My friends used to tell me that life would get harder and I would gain even more weight af­ter turn­ing 25, but it’s the op­po­site for me. Things picked up at 25 – I’ve never been fit­ter, health­ier and hap­pier than now,” says Roxanne, who turns 29 in De­cem­ber. (Did we men­tion, she’s also a glow­ing brideto-be?)

Af­ter a day of hang­ing out with her for this cover shoot, and hav­ing a heartto-heart talk over Toast Box toast and iced milo (she loves her food as much as we do!), we gleaned the fol­low­ing wis­dom from this Shape Fit Girl.

1MANAGE YOUR STRESS LEVEL

Stress is a trig­ger for many things, in­clud­ing weight gain and dis­eases. And Roxanne is a walk­ing tes­ti­mony. “When­ever I go through a stress­ful or un­happy pe­riod, my weight goes up,” she says, re­fer­ring to those four years when she strug­gled to lose weight de­spite ex­er­cis­ing ex­ces­sively.

2DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE…

and less of what you don’t. For Roxanne, it meant veer­ing away from an of­fice job af­ter grad­u­at­ing. “Af­ter tak­ing up yoga in 2009, I had dreams of teach­ing and even­tu­ally set­ting up my own stu­dio. I didn’t want a cor­po­rate life.” That’s what made Roxanne pack her bags for In­dia to do yoga teacher train­ing in 2011.

3NOTHING IS IM­POS­SI­BLE IF YOU TRY

When Roxanne started do­ing yoga to get over a failed re­la­tion­ship, lit­tle did she ex­pect to fall in love with it. A year later, she was in­spired to prac­tise

WHEN­EVER I GO THROUGH A STRESS­FUL OR UN­HAPPY PE­RIOD, MY WEIGHT GOES UP.

chal­leng­ing poses like head­stand at home, af­ter watch­ing oth­ers do it in class. The go­ing was tough – she fell and landed badly once, with bat­tle scars on her right leg to prove it – but she mas­tered the tricky in­ver­sion af­ter 1.5 years of train­ing. “Yoga has shown me that it’s pos­si­ble to over­come my fears, as long as I be­lieve in my­self.”

4BUT YOU SHOULD ALSO LEARN TO LET GO

In 2014, Roxanne founded a yoga stu­dio with two friends. Run­ning a stu­dio was her dream, but she soon learnt that it wasn’t meant to be. She didn’t see eye to eye with her busi­ness part­ners, which led to fre­quent ar­gu­ments that left her drained and de­pressed. “Af­ter hang­ing on for six months, I de­cided to leave the busi­ness and go back to teach­ing yoga full-time. I told my­self not to let other peo­ple (and what they thought) af­fect me. That was my turn­ing point, and one of the best de­ci­sions I’ve made. Within months, I felt hap­pier and peo­ple com­mented that hat I looked bet­ter.”

5NEVER SET­TLE IN YOUR COM­FORT ZONE

This is one e mantra Roxanne swears to live by, af­ter dis­cov­er­ing cross­fit re­cently. “My close friend Miryam Acosta (a yoga and fit­ness in­struc­tor) con­vinced me to give cross­fit a shot, for its strength- and en­durance-build­ing ben­e­fits. Af­ter one ses­sion, I was hooked. Now, I wake up early to do cross­fit ev­ery week­day morn­ing. I love the mo­ti­vat­ing vibes, and how the work­out varies ev­ery day to tar­get dif­fer­ent mus­cles. It’s changed my per­cep­tion of fit­ness.”

6LESS IS MORE

In the past, Roxanne spent two hours work­ing out ev­ery day. But af­ter she started do­ing cross­fit, her work­out du­ra­tion has been con­densed to one hour a day – and with bet­ter re­sults. “By do­ing a wide range of strength and strength-based car­dio ex­er­cises in a short pe­riod, I’ve be­come a lot leaner. In six weeks, my mus­cles be­came stronger and more de­fined,” she says. Her cross­fit ses­sion com­prises 10 min­utes of warm-up, 15 to 20 min­utes of high-in­ten­sity moves, 10 to 15 min­utes of part­ner work, plus plenty of ex­pla­na­tion and coach­ing in be­tween.

7LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

While Roxanne can pret­zel her­self into you-name-it yoga pose, you will not catch her in the ex­tended puppy pose, or any move that re­quires putting pres­sure on the back of her neck. “I in­jured my neck af­ter fall­ing from a chin stand. Since then, I’ve avoided ex­er­cises like tum­bling and som­er­sault­ing that put my neck at risk,” she says. Diet-wise, Roxanne is all about eat­ing in­tu­itively. While she usu­ally sticks to cof­fee, eggs and toast with peanut or al­mond but­ter for break­fast, and brown rice with chicken or salmon with eggs and veg­gies for lunch, she eats what­ever she craves for when it comes to din­ner. “It could be my favourite fried rice with eggs, Thai fried tang hoon with eggs, que­sadil­las, tacos, or or­der-in pizza. I’ll not let my­self feel de­prived. Life is all about bal­ance and sus­tain­abil­ity.”

8BE YOUR­SELF, EVEN ON SO­CIAL ME­DIA

Roxanne at­tributes her In­sta­gram suc­cess to the fol­low­ing: “I’m real and re­lat­able. I’m me 100 per cent of the time, mostly with­out makeup. In­stead of ad­vo­cat­ing per­fec­tion, I show oth­ers my true self on so­cial me­dia, flaws and all. I want to en­cour­age my fol­low­ers to be who they are, and help them find hope through see­ing my fit­ness and body trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney.”

9LIFT WEIGHTS

Take it from Roxanne, who has seen her bi­ceps and tri­ceps shape up since she started weight train­ing. “Girls should re­ally lift more weights. It makes a dif­fer­ence to your up­per body strength and over­all pro­por­tions – you won’t re­gret it. And no, you won’t be­come bulky!”

10THINK LIKE A WIN­NER

Even be­fore Roxanne learnt about her Shape Fit Girl win, she was al­ready a cham­pion. “Be­ing able to ad­vance from the short­listed 20 to 10, and even­tu­ally five fi­nal­ists, I know in my heart that I’m al­ready there, do­ing what a Shape Fit Girl should be. Even if I didn’t win, I wouldn’t sweat over it,” she shares. “Of course, this win gives me more val­i­da­tion and mo­ti­va­tion to keep go­ing. I’m very happy about it!”

I WANT TO EN­COUR­AGE MY FOL­LOW­ERS TO BE WHO THEY ARE, AND HELP THEM FIND HOPE THROUGH SEE­ING MY FIT­NESS AND BODY TRANS­FOR­MA­TION JOUR­NEY.

FIT FASH­ION Ivy Park cot­ton hooded top, $89.90 and match­ing shorts, $59.90, both from Top­shop. Clas­sics Tra­di­tion­nels Sneak­ers, $129, from New Bal­ance (Paragon).

FIT FASH­ION Rye bikini set, US$180 and P.E Na­tion quilted jacket, US$259, both from www. ne­ta­porter.com

FIT FASH­ION Polyester Elas­tane Med Im­pact Evolve Crop top, $69, Ny­lon Elas­tane De­ter­mi­na­tion Crop Tights, $89, Polyester Ac­cel 2.5 Shorts, $39, and Run­ning Course Shoes, $149, all from New Bal­ance (Paragon).

FIT FASH­ION Tory Sport printed TOP, US$95, P.E Na­tion jog­ger pants, US$128, Tory Sport jacket, $US215, all from www. ne­ta­porter.com. Clas­sics Tra­di­tion­nels Sneak­ers, $129, from New Bal­ance (Paragon).

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