Second to none

Sandra Woo in her yoga pose. — Sunpix by Adib Rawi
Yoga instructor, fitness professional and Spin Instructor, Sandra Woo. — Sunpix by Adib Rawi

CERTIFIED yoga instructor, fitness professional, and Spin Instructor, Sandra Woo had never been extremely athletic although she knew she had the body type to be athletic. She was just never driven that way and would play video games and read books at home instead.

"I think with women, in particular, there will come a time where your metabolism starts to drop and you don't feel as young as you are used to, and when you start putting on weight in weird places that you thought you wouldn't gain weight in, that spurred me to find some kind of physical activity.

But I wasn't huge on anything intense so I found yoga and it turned out to be a lot more intense than I initially thought it was.

"We don't realise it because in pictures it just looks like you are stretching but in order for you to get into a lot of the advanced poses, there are a lot of drills and practice involved.

That amount of practice equates to the amount of physical work to increase your metabolic rate which then burns fat. Of course, it is not as great an option for weight loss as opposed to cardio but it does contribute to that," she said.

She honestly didn't think she would be good at her career, not until she tried it out. She gave it a shot and it turned out that she enjoyed it a lot more than she expected. She has gotten to a point where her body has gotten used to working out every day. She believed the body, like the brain, is a muscle and the more you push yourself, the better, faster and stronger you will get.

"But my measure of success doesn't lie in deliberately breaking my personal records all the time. I get that there are some days you don't feel up to it, I get that there are some days you will perform better than you would expect and surprise yourself, and I get that there are some days you just don't want to do it at all. That is just being human and that is fine," she confessed.

As a fitness professional, she can afford to eat what she wants as she does a lot of cardio and hence tends to burn more calories, but it is not so much about working out to eat whatever you want. The general rule is to keep your fibre and protein intake higher and cut down on sugar.

"I don't eat chicken because I feel it is pretty toxic to your body because of the way it is raised, cultivated, slaughtered and distributed. I just don't feel it is a very healthy meat to consume often. I will eat red meat maybe once or twice a week and then there are other meats here and there. The way I do it is I will have meat for one meal in one or two days, and the rest is plant-based," she added.

As a Spin Instructor at FlyCycle, her music is what draws people to her classes. Growing up with music, she listens to everything from rock, pop, funk, house, disco, indie, broadway and even classical and her feeling at the time really influences her choice in music for her class. She believes the vibe, energy, and ideology that she brings to class is something people can relate to and gain a fresh perspective from.

"Besides getting on the bike and driving ourselves to the ground, I like to to do a three-gratitude practice where you think about three things that have happened to you throughout the day that you can be grateful about. It can be any three things that pop into your head and it doesn't need to be a big thing. It could be little things that could lift your mood.

"That is where I try not to only be an instructor on a bike. I try to inject these little values and practices into your daily life. We are all human and we experience things at different points in our lives. I don't want to just narrow things down to just on a bike. If you are able to take away that little value and apply it to your own issues, I feel I have done a good job," she said.

So what's in it for the 26-year-old? "A lot of people ask me this question but I am extremely horrible with commitments, and if anyone asks me if I have a five-year plan, I will tell you I still write my three-month plan in pencil. But for the near future, I definitely see myself travelling a bit more and trying new things."

"I think a very important part of my job requires me to explore different markets of fitness around the globe, especially in major cities. In any business nowadays, you need to have a fresh take on it and for me to keep my game sharp, I need to have a fresh take too.

"I need to find a mentor who will teach me new things, sharpen my skills and teach me to do better so I will able to share that with others.

"Right now I am still very happy with what I am able to do. The progression of that will be how to be a better teacher at the end of the day," she declared.