As Tangram expands, demand for our women-focused integrative fitness offerings have quickly increased over the past year, and we're happy to welcome Yuyan (Yan) Huang on board! Yan will be serving as a metabolic personal trainer and mat pilates instructor, providing tailored fitness services to women across central Singapore. Yan's answered a few questions to help you get to know her better.
You've been involved in the fitness & wellness world for 8 years now. What changes have you seen in Singapore? What's one thing that works…. and one thing that doesn't?
Over the last 8 years in the world of fitness and wellness, I have noticed how people are definitely starting to value the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle as a way of balancing the high strung and stressful life in Singapore. There is also a lot of conflicting information out there regarding what's healthy or not, and what's the best method to lose weight/get stronger/lose bodyfat. Many people are confused!
I've noticed a rise in injuries as a result of sudden engagement in various fitness activities that people just aren't ready for, and also how people's health changes with the current quality of their life, food and sleep.
The one thing that works will be what works for YOU as an individual which is in line with your goals, not the goals of others! The one thing that doesn't work... If I have to say what doesn't work, it would be sticking to one modality of training without looking at your lifestyle and physical, emotional and mental self as a whole.
You focus on the relationship between nutrition, exercise and hormones. Why the emphasis on hormones?
I love this question! This revelation of looking at your fitness or health goals from the hormonal point of view came at a turning point in my life right after my fitness competition in 2011. Like most people, I started out thinking that to lose weight or fat, it's all just about caloric deficit and exercising more. I did that and lost the weight, but I did not gain the strength nor manage to lose the typical female "trouble spot" areas.
I'm a person who has always wanted to get to the root of the problem and seek a solution. So, that's when I got into bodybuilding- to learn how the competitors get so lean. I did get lean for sure however, no one in Singapore talks about life after competition openly or how to maintain the lifestyle and leanness.
That is when I found out about the impact our hormones have on the human body through Dr. Jade Teta and Jill Coleman at the Metabolic Effect. It opened my mind to how we have been misled for many years thinking that weight loss is equivalent to fat loss.
From this viewpoint, I noticed the relationship between hormones and weight when I was teaching youths- how their stressful lifestyle was causing them to weight gain around the midsection. Meanwhile, my female friends and family were talking about their fat gain around their midsection, arms, mid-back and thighs. If stress levels and hormones aren't in balance, our bodies will tell that story.
What's the biggest challenge you've overcome and how did you do so?
Learning to embrace the big failures - having to close my horology showroom in 2013. The shop was a culmination of almost 8 years of my heart and energy. Like many entrepreneurs, lots of sacrifices were put into the business. Having to make the decision to let go and close the company was a huge challenge for me.
How I overcame it: through lots of reading, meditation, and the power of mind -- realizing that no success in life comes without falling -- because it is through the bitter moments and the challenges that we grow and develop to be best version we can be. And, once you see the bigger picture and break through it, you will be so grateful that you did.
There is always something better ahead. That's how I followed my heart and entered the health and wellness industry as a professional.
Favorite exercise - and why!
Romanian deadlift! It's a compound technical exercise that works both the physiological and neurological aspects; the bigger muscles and smaller stabilizing muscles groups and breathing are all utilized.
It also exposes the areas where we may be weaker, such as the inner TVA unit, the muscles around the shoulder blades, the mobility and strength of our wrists and fingers, right down to our ankles and feet.
It is very empowering and yet metabolic boosting exercise when performed well, and it's effective in developing the hamstring and glutes and works the posterior chain, which helps with posture.
Tell us about your approach to fitness.
How I look at fitness has definitely evolved from when I first started.
My approach to fitness is now targeted more from the lifestyle point of view. Aiming at long-term sustainability towards maintaining strength, grace and a healthy body fat percentage.
By lifestyle, I mean looking at the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects, delving deep within into the why and the purpose of why people do what they do, why they eat what they eat.
You have some experience on the bodybuilding stage. What did you learn from that experience?
One major takeaway I learned is this -- the mind is a very powerful gift we all have been blessed with. Anything is possible if you truly put your heart, body, mind and soul into it. I say this because in my lifetime, I would never have thought of myself wearing a two-piece bikini and walking on stage. I was never that kind of girl so this was definitely a mental breakthrough.
All I had in mind that day was -- I wanted to debunk the myth that weightlifting causes bulk in ladies and more importantly it is possible to get really lean through pure nutrition and training.
But I also learned that most people just want to know what works for them to get healthier, leaner, stronger and feel really good and confident about who they are. They don't necessarily want to be standing on stage.
I love anything that is packed with natural wellness and colours without excess additives, salt and sugar. But an all-time favourite, surprisingly is a good ol' simple baked Portobello mushrooms with melted cheese, salmon with fresh herbs and sweet Japanese potatoes.
If you could give one piece of advice to a client that's been on the yo-yo diet rollercoaster, what would that be?
Ditch the "eat less, exercise more" model. It is not sustainable, and more importantly, it wrecks your entire hormonal system which makes you gain more weight and fat. It makes maintaining one's weight or losing fat a lot harder later on! Treat your hormones right, love your body entirely, and she will love you back in return. It will show, without a doubt.
As always, thanks for reading! To learn more about Yan's background, experience and qualifications, visit her profile here. book personal training or pilates sessions with Yan, contact us via email or call + 65 9725-0583. Have a question on hormones and fat loss for Yan? Leave it in the comments section!