Health

Model-turned-fitness guru Liv Lo hit a low before getting healthy

Fitness guru Liv Lo on how yoga helps make her feel good, inside and out

Outside of the physical classroom, Liv Lo has also found her place in cyberspace.

FitSphere, a website started by the Singapore-based Taiwanese-Italian model/host-turned-fitness guru, features workout videos that run the gamut from yoga classes and strength training, to high-intensity interval training and circuit exercises, and even meditation and stretch sessions.

It started with a programme of 12 classes, before recently expanding to include themed classes such as a holiday-focused workout and a morning routine.

FitSphere was borne in 2017 out of a desire to document her own yoga practice, but also a need to have greater flexibility with time.

Lo, 33, said: "It got to the point where there were too many bodies to fit into a classroom. I was travelling a lot more and I didn't want to anchor myself to a studio.

"I'd rather have my studio in the cloud, online, so the people I connect with can take this with them wherever they go."

Added the wife of British-Malaysian actor and Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding, who goes to Los Angeles regularly for work: "I spent a lot of 2018 just getting comfortable. What people see now is the result of a lot of hard work.

"Twenty-seventeen was tougher because Henry and I were trying new things - he was acting and I was taking things online. But now with FitSphere, it means I can fly to see him.

"I don't consider travelling to be with him tedious, because once you have that confidence and comfort in your relationship, you can only grow."

When it comes to personal growth, Lo said it took 13 years of experience to get her to this point - and her envy-inducing body.

"I hit the lowest of lows before realising I needed to get healthy."

When I was 20 and restricting what I ate for my modelling career, I was very thin, weak and bulimic. I didn't even get my period. Back then, not many people knew about yoga, but I decided to give it a try after hearing that models like Christy Turlington were into it.

"But, while practising yoga made me feel good, once I started getting some definition in my body, the people in the modelling industry told me they had to Photoshop my muscles and that I looked too big.

It was then I realised how I feel should overrule (that). Once you get that truth, there is no going back. I saw and felt I was unhealthy. So I quit modelling, picked up hosting, continued my yoga practice and worked hard to get myself out of that space.

"I don't worry about what I'm eating."

When it comes to learning about nutrition, I believe in trying to eat food that will help me perform better. I don't just believe what people tell me when it comes to diet - I want to learn for myself and try it.

I don't need to eat protein bars or energy drinks, because I prefer to eat natural food. That being said, I don't police myself. I believe the rules of life and food are: Eat real food, don't eat too much, and eat more vegetables.

"I've definitely cried on the mat before."

Yoga is the one constant that I can always go back to. It has taught me about my emotions, and how I treat myself and others. It is a very personal thing.

Anyone who practises yoga will know that if they are having a bad day they can beat it out on the mat and get away for that 60 minutes. It's a release. We forget how to process emotions and the time we use for our practice is so personal. By the end of the class, you think, I got this.

And through this processing, it has also made me a more positive person. A lot of people feel that they can't do something and it becomes negative. I have been trying to intentionally put a positive spin on things for some time, and now it's become a habit.

"People don't work out enough."

I am glad that yoga and fitness is a big trend now, but I think there's more to be done.

Singapore has studios everywhere, but I want people to know that they don't have to pay too much and still get the building blocks of knowledge they need. It is important to know why and what their instructors are teaching.

Asia is still so far behind when it comes to fitness. I am hoping to go to New York, get more knowledge, and bring it back to Singapore.

Next year, I'm looking to consult and help companies drive the industry faster and further. It can only be a positive thing.

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

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