True Stories: Eight female #fitspirations on how they changed their life

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy for our health to take a back seat in spite of us knowing better. Health is wealth, and these are three words that I’m still constantly trying to live by. While I’m in the process of slowly changing my lifestyle for the better, there’s thankfully no shortage of #fitspirations to look up to. Be inspired by these eight wonderful career women’s fitness journey and find out why and how they’re making it work! 

Cheryl Chua, president and brand manager of Beautybox Corp.

I don't remember gaining much weight except postpartum. I've been exercising for more than a decade and I usually attend group exercises for cardio and gym time is part of my daily routine, but I've never reached this level of fitness until lately.

Two years ago, my fitness goals changed when I got myself a personal trainer.  He keeps me in line, pushing and encouraging me to do things beyond my limit - awesome stuff I never thought I could accomplish. I got hooked. I wish I could say the training days were painless and the improvements were overnight. Sorry to disappoint you, because it was honestly a slow and steady progress, people only started seeing changes in my body about after a year. I hit the gym five days a week for an hour of my usual choices of group exercises, three days of which I do an additional 30 minutes of personal training. 

I am a constant whiner on the gym floor - my trainer can attest to that. Amazing thing is, I just keep going back looking for more torture.  Seriously, I continue to get personal training because I see the obvious developments in my body. It isn't only in terms of muscle toning, but with my endurance and stamina as well. I am lucky, because I got addicted to something that is good for my body.  It is my outlet to relieving stress and I am lucky to have gym junkie friends who are as crazy as I am in getting to fitdom.

Aencille Santos, PR professional and Crossfit athlete

From being confident about my body when I was younger, my physique suddenly changed when I worked for a publication for health and wellness. Part of my job was to meet media and partners over food and wine almost once or twice a week. I started gaining weight drastically, and crash diets made it worse instead of helping. It came to a point that during the company's annual physical examination, my cholesterol rate was shockingly at the borderline.

It was a wake-up call that no matter how much you starve yourself, you won't be healthy unless you start sweating. Add to the fact that I got my heart broken, I got into Crossfit because I wanted to keep my mind off the negativity. People see only the brutal barbells that clang and bang on the rubber floors each night on social media, but what they don't see is CrossFit made me stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. The daily pain you go through to complete every single workout is shared with a solid community that supports you in multiple ways.

I never imagined myself lifting weights or event competing in CrossFit competitions but now, I couldn't see myself giving up fitness in the years to come. After more than one year of CF, it's not merely a part of my day - it's now my lifestyle.

Jackie Go, model and lifestyle blogger at GoJackieGo

I'd have to say my fitness journey is a slow, constant process and is fueled by me wanting to be healthier and better. I started back in 2015 the year when I realized for my age (I was 30 then), I've been sickly and living an unhealthy lifestyle and it's time for me to change that. My motivation was my family; I wanted to be healthy so that I can better take care of my kids.

Eventually when I seriously started working out regularly, everything else followed - I ate healthier, tried to get enough sleep and hydrate better. I guess when you've put in so much effort, time, and energy to training, you want to compensate it by making sure that you put in the same effort to achieve that overall wellness because you can't just diet and you can't just train. It has to go hand in hand.

I can say I am my fittest today in my 31 years of existence. I realized there is no shortcut to it. Training well (doesn't have to be hard even) coupled with eating right and having the right nutrients as well as sleep can most likely guarantee one success in being healthy and fit. I still have a long way but I'm currently enjoying the process of getting better, healthier, and stronger. As what one of my coaches used to say "trust the process" and never compare your progress with anyone else's.

Charm Salvino, civil engineer and antigravity fitness instructor 

I’ve always tried to live healthy lifestyle because I aim to live long and free of illnesses and diseases. I believe that understanding how health affects one’s life keeps my consistency in staying fit and pushes me into choosing healthier options. My fitness journey has evolved from just wanting to look good to being aware of what I feed my body and wanting to be physically strong. Taking fitness as a holistic journey is the best way to look at it as it keeps me consistent in being physically active.

At 9 months and 8 months after giving birth

At 9 months and 8 months after giving birth

Jacqe Yuengtian, co-founder of Happy Skin Cosmetics

During my pregnancy, I didn’t know that it was okay for me to workout. I’ve always been conscious of staying fit and boxed regularly before that but I gained almost 50lbs while I was pregnant. You really don’t lose all that weight after you give birth but I was determined to get back into shape so that I would also have the strength to take care of Raf.

Breastfeeding helped a lot but I was also at the Pilates studio at 7am everyday for 3 months! It really gave me back my strength and gave me a lot of energy to start my day. Pilates is now part of my weekly routine to keep me energized and to keep me strong - taking care of a toddler means you need to have loads of that! I would highly recommend Pilates to moms because it’s not high impact (so no chance of injuries!) but it's really effective in making you leaner and stronger.

Shayne Naidas, beauty blogger at Queen of All You See

I used to be severely clinically depressed and spent most of my time stuck at home because of my social anxiety. I tried to work out then to get better, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with a painful spine condition that I took exercise seriously to lose weight and make my body stronger and healthier.

I enrolled at the gym, got a physical therapist, and changed my diet. I had to overcome my anxiety, and at the same time adapt to a new lifestyle since my spine condition limited what I could do daily. It was hard and risky (one wrong move can keep me bedridden for days or hospitalized), and my progress took years. But I really wanted to improve myself so I kept on going. I went to the gym three times a week to do light exercises - less cardio, more weight lifting and core exercises like planking - for 1.5 hour per day, and as much as possible keep a gluten-free diet. 

I've lost around 30 pounds since then and I'm now within my ideal body weight. Exercising and eating healthy changed my life in more ways than one. The endorphins I get from exercising help me with depression. Losing weight and strengthening my muscles help aid my back pains. And most of all, I gained confidence in myself which helped me overcome my anxieties and issues. I even gained the confidence to express myself more through blogging and now have the opportunity to share my story here. I hope this story can help or inspire someone!

Karla Ong, marketing and PR professional

I wouldn't consider myself a hardcore fitness enthusiast in the sense that I have a strict workout schedule and follow a rigid diet program. But I do believe in balancing daily life and a hefty appetite by consistently keeping active.

I mainly do Reformer Pilates at Onelife Studio and try to balance the toning, strengthening, and holistic approach of Pilates with high intensity cardio from a few programs I've recently gotten into like boxing, HIIT, and Nike Training Club (app) or swimming at home. I don't place any restrictions on myself but I don't take the time I give for fitness for granted, and that effort alone makes me feel good already.

Kaycee Enerva, beauty blogger at KikaysiKat and wrestler

After I gave birth to my son, I gained weight which made me feel insecure. I tried almost everything from slimming pills that promise instant results to the craziest diet plans. They worked, but the weight came back and even doubled. Then I realized that being fit is not a one-time goal. It's not even a lifestyle change. It's a lifestyle. 

Find an exercise program you can do not just for a month, for a year. Find something you enjoy doing because you'll be doing that for a looooong time. I found mine in weightlifting and it worked for me. It took three years to achieve my current body and I'm not stopping. 

Did you make a New Year's resolution to get into shape this year? What habits have you been working on to take better care of your health? 

Header image courtesy of Karla Ong