Selina Ang is one busy lady. By day, she holds a full-time job as marketing manager for CORUM Watches Singapore, but come evenings, her free hours are spent keeping up with her active 11-year-old son. And yet the 41-year-old still manages to find the time to make fitness a priority. Mummyfique sits down with Selina to learn more about her personal fitness journey and how she developed a love for long-distance races.
Mummyfique: Have you always been active and what is your current fitness routine like?
Selina Ang: I was an athlete during my school days, so leading an active lifestyle is not new to me. I don’t have a fixed routine, but I make it a point to run 4 to 6km on alternate weekday mornings. I start at 5am and I’m home by 6am, just in time to get my son ready for school. I used to run with my neighbours on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as well as on a weekend morning, but stopped doing so as it was affecting my sleep.
What got you into running?
Before I started running with my neighbours, I only participated in races that were 5km long. I did attempt the 10km Shape Run once, but regretted doing so halfway through the run. Running with my neighbours helped me to improve my 5km timing tremendously as they continually encouraged me. This improvement gave me the confidence to tackle longer distances.
It takes me less than 70 minutes to complete a 10km run but I’m currently training with an aim to complete this distance within 60 minutes. Once I reach that target, I will work to consistently cover 15km. Ironically, I hated long-distance running when I was younger and could never run more than 5km. I much preferred shorter distances.
Have you participated in any races recently?
In 2016, I participated in nine races, the most I’ve ever completed in a year. The races I took part in were an aquathlon with my son; 2XU Compression Run; Singtel Run Against Cancer; Singapore Polytechnic Poly 50 Campus Relay; Shape Run; Army Half Marathon 5km Fun Run; YOLO Run; SGX Bull Charge; and the Performance Series Race 5—Farm Run, which I completed with my husband and son.
How did you build up your stamina for running long distances?
By running continuously, of course. Walking regularly helps too, so I try to walk more on a daily basis, regardless of the footwear I have on. I once walked home from Orchard Road to Jurong East in high heels at night.
Was there any point in your life where you weren’t fit? If so, what was the turning point?
I became more conscious of my fitness levels during my second year in polytechnic when I discovered that my HDL cholesterol levels were high, and the doctor advised me to stay active and vigilant. I tried watching my diet, but the cholesterol levels didn’t drop. Exercise was the only thing that improved the situation. Thus, even when I was pregnant with my son, I swam regularly to stay active.
Is there a certain diet you stick to?
I tried a wide variety of diets in the past and used to be very strict with myself. For a period of time, I carried a little notebook with me to write down my calorie intake for each meal and keep within the limits I had set. I only allowed myself to eat char kway teow once every three months. Things changed after my pregnancy and I’m now more relaxed about my diet. Now, I eat everything, but make sure that I do so in moderation.
Has your love for fitness rubbed off on those around you?
Definitely with my son. He swims, plays golf and loves wakeboarding. We introduced him to scuba diving last year, and he asked to be officially certified. We have also taught him how to inline skate and cycle so we can do it as part of family bonding. And he runs too. We started registering him for kids’ races when he was about four-years-old and he could run 3 to 4km by himself.
What advice would you have for full-time working mums who say they don’t have the time or energy to work out on top of their other daily responsibilities?
After my son arrived, I kept fit by including him in my workouts such as placing him on my stomach while doing crunches, exercising and playing with him at the same time. I bought a three-wheeled stroller so that we could bring him along when we went inline skating. At work, I made it a point to do twists after meals at my desk. All you need is 30 to 60 minutes to get a good workout and you can do that at home while watching television or while your little one is sleeping.
On days where you really don’t have the time or you’re feeling especially unmotivated, try to incorporate little workouts throughout the day. When I feel that way, I work out in bed either before I sleep or after I wake up. I’ll do any exercise that I can do while lying down. Getting started is always the hardest part. I believe the best way is to start is by setting achievable goals. I’m a strong believer in doing everything in moderation because I’ve tried the extreme way, and it doesn’t last.
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