You may wonder what makes this page any different from the thousands and millions of health and fitness professionals out there?

Well, first of all, I am not here to "compare"- instead, I am here to share all of what I know and have experienced to help as many women out there who are struggling to get their health back in order.

Now, it may sound like a very simple pursuit. But I know, THE "Back In Order" life IS DEFINITELY not easy.  I am a driven person -- driven to achieve and accomplish. Living in a society where we are brought up to chase paper grades and career/social status, reaching a certain level of achievement in life usually means you have done your parents proud or that you are a good citizen.

I started my own business at the age of 20 and 9 years later, when I found myself unable to carry on the operations of the business -- it was a hard pill to take. Imagine all those years of putting your heart and soul into growing something that is close to your heart, and having to call it "quits" wondering if quitting is a sign of weakness and defeat. But I was beyond burn-out and finally make the hardest decision of my life at that time to end it. The term "entrepreneur" was often the label others have given me - and yet I don't quite feel like it.

I admit, the "fall" had me fallen into depression and confusion. I literally did not know what to do next. Coupled with the financial burden of a failed business, I have lost all my savings. I did not choose a career that is related to my main course of study made it all the more challenging. There was no "fall back" plan.

I had to fight back.

This experience led me to reflect on the meaning of success (again). Why did I mention "again"?

During the entrepreneurship years, the typical driven and ambitious side of Yan also got me  started a lifestyle of weight lifting and clean dieting to regain my strength post-chemotherapy for my diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and to solve my 2 curious questions at that time:-

  1. Does Heavy weight lifting causes bulk in women?
  2. Are the lean ripped female bodies I see on the covers of magazines are natural, real, and sustainable?

 

I did not know anything about weight training or the "traditional bodybuilding" diet. I just followed whatever the boys in the gym say to do, to eat, to supplement. (For obvious reasons, I refuse to use any form of performance-enhancing drugs, I just wanted to build the body and mind the natural way).

 

As the months go by, I enjoyed the character-building, the commitment and the dedication behind lifting those iron bars progressively. (Will I ever forget how I was drop-setting, strip-setting and super-setting my squats! I probably performed 1000 squats of all variations on a single "leg" day.) I was building strength not just physically but also mentally with one goal -- to be truly healthy again. Then almost 2 years later, I decided to step on stage for my first bikini-figure show in Singapore. I didn't set out bodybuilding to compete - yet at that time, I thought to myself to give myself a goal and "try" for it. In local Singaporean terms, we say " don't try, don't know" ( which means give it a go, we may never know what the outcome may be" )

I was building strength not just physically but also mentally with one goal -- to be truly healthy again. Fast forward to almost 2 years later, I decided to step on stage for my first bikini-figure show in Singapore. I didn't set out bodybuilding to compete - yet at that time, I thought to myself to give myself a goal and "try" for it. In local Singaporean terms, we say " don't try, don't know" ( which means give it a go, we may never know what the outcome may be" )

But I wanted to give it my best shot and succeed at it. I started to compare with others and think that my prep was never good enough. I started to lose track of why it all began. Could it be the effects of restrictive dieting that is messing the mind? To me at that time, all I know is I have to succeed. And by success, I meant to win at all costs. After all, why compete if you are set to lose? Success to me became externally focused, rather than for the intrinsic factors such as discipline and self-improvement.

After the show ended, which I placed 4th, -- I felt an instant sense of relief that "it is finally over, I am so exhausted!" -- then I found myself asking " so what's next? that's it?" -- I told myself I "succeeded" in finding the answers to my 2 curious questions, but I felt it has no real meaning to the real lives we live in.  So few competitors I know rarely talk openly about "the real life after competition" in all aspects or that very few writers write about them, as I took a step back from the competition scene and continue to observe from a bystanders' point of view what competition mean to everyone.

What is Success then?

This definition has surely change as life experiences continue to teach me much. Success to me, now, means knowing that I have given my best and being at peace with myself each and every day, that I have made a positive change in someone's lives, that I have live an authentic life governed by true strength, integrity, trust and love.

Today, I call myself a fitness and wellness coach to dedicate myself to ignite the strength in the lives of women to live an Integrated Active Lifestyle because no amount of weight lifted in our bench-presses, squats and deadlifts can ever outweigh that inner strength in us.

no amount of weight lifted in our bench-presses, squats and deadlifts can ever outweigh that inner strength in us.

Inside each of us, there resides that female warrior that is just waiting to be ignited to lift that "life" again.

May the journey towards success for each of us continues.

Yours in love and vitality,
Yan

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