Health

Jaime Teo's workout tips include doing squats in the shower

She says physical fitness leads to emotional strength

Local host Jaime Teo turned 42 in April, but you would never guess it from her taut and glowing skin and the workout videos on her Instagram page.

But staying in shape was how the Miss Universe Singapore 2001 winner and Fly Entertainment artist coped with challenges on the personal front.

In 2016, Teo split from her husband, former radio personality Daniel Ong, with whom she has a nine-year-old daughter.

She said: "Working out was my way to de-stress, and I felt I had to be stronger then. I'm glad to still be on this fitness journey. I've seen how physical fitness translates to emotional strength that I didn't know I had."

Teo's typical day involves either squash, dance, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or a strengthening workout after her daughter goes to school in the morning.

She said: "I watch my diet closely and have a rough calorie counter in my head. If I have a couple of cookies, I'd eat less carbs at the next meal, or skip the meal entirely. It's easy to overeat, especially after a workout. Having been through eating disorders when I was younger, I must say I have a much healthier relationship with food now."

Having tried your hand at so many exercises, is there anything you would not do?

As I get older, I am more concerned about staying injury-free. Because once I get hurt, it would throw my workout routine out of whack. Unlike my younger days, when I felt invincible and learnt to do handstands from YouTube, I don't seek the adrenaline rush any more. Maybe it is because I'm on my own now, and I have a kid to look after. I like efficient workouts, those that burn a lot of calories in a short time. When it comes to slower-paced stuff like yoga, I cannot do them.

I have to perspire and my heart rate needs to go up.

Will you be producing fitness videos anytime soon?

I have thought about it, but it is going to be quite time-consuming and intensive. For the workout videos I upload on Instagram, it takes at least 15 minutes to edit and add captions. I'm working with Fly to launch a workout segment on their video platform FlyFlickz, so I'll get support in video production.

Workout videos are aplenty on YouTube, but I hope to inspire my followers to do those moves along with me when they watch my videos.

How has your attitude towards fitness changed?

To be honest, I don't feel as strong now as I did three years ago. I was more unforgiving when I started out. Now, I hold a more relaxed mentality and a longer-term view of fitness. Fitness is for life.

I won't force myself to work out if my body isn't feeling up to it. Nor would I beat myself up if I miss an HIIT or strengthening session. I'd just do it the next day. I wouldn't stop exercising for too long for fear of inertia to start. The longest I've gone without a workout is three days.

How do you squeeze in a workout when you are busy?

When I travel, I bring my TRX suspension trainer or jump rope along. Or I do 20 reps of whatever bodyweight exercise comes to mind - usually those I hate, like burpees, switch lunges and reverse plank toe touches. When I was chatting with (my friends) on how we stay fit, I realised there is one thing we all do when we have been inactive that day: Squats in the shower while waiting for our hair conditioner to take effect. It's funny how we are all bathroom exercisers. I usually do three sets of 20 reps.

What other exercises do you do in the shower?

On a wet floor, I would do squats, standing side crunches and wall sits - nothing that requires big movements or jumping. On a dry floor, I would do plank variation exercises and push-ups. Trust me, there is a lot of pain you can inflict on yourself in the bathroom.

Why do you even work out in the bathroom?

I hate to wash my hair when I don't work out. So I make sure to do something before my shower, to break a sweat or get warm. In the bathroom, I can exercise naked or in my undies. Less laundry. I'd avoid bouncing or jumping movements since my chest is not supported. And I don't do this every day.

What's your fitness message to followers?

Do some kind of exercise every day, because it is good to be fit and strong. My new hashtag is #remindertoworkout. Any one can spare a few minutes, even if it's in the shower.

This article was first published in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).

WELLNESS & BEAUTY