Women We Know #49 - Caroline
Long Timer Fitness Trainer Speaks Out Of Her Starting Journey
Discrete about her politicians client base, we finally get to speak to Caroline, from Physique360, a local boutique fitness studio. Unknown to many, we found out through her recent zoom classes, her clients include Ex Senior Minister, Mrs Lim Hwee Hwa, Current Senior Minister and Singapore upcoming female young politicians. Ms Crystal Wagar, current Mayor for Miami Shores (ex US ambassador's wife to Singapore) and ex Russian ambassador’s wife used to both train during their stay here in Singapore.
Caroline had kids at a young age, when her peers were just starting their careers and enjoying their time. With financial instability, she had to work long hours as a trainer whilst taking care of her 2 boys. Her husband and herself started their own gym more than a decade ago, and at many times almost faced closure due to stiff competitions. Thankfully, with their constant skills upgrading on food nutrition and wellness, their customers base grew gradually with word of mouth.
Today a young grandmother to 3 granddaughters, both Caroline and her husband enjoy the simpler life of family harmony. She gives back to community by giving free fitness lessons to the elderly in community centres when she can.
1/ Hi Caroline! Please share with us on how you started your own gym.
Alike all other businesses, the start of it was never easy. In 2007, after a painful accident caused by exhaustion, that when I took a leap of faith to open my own gym. At that time, I chanced upon an empty space up for rental while I took my son to a piano class.
2/ When was the most difficult period you had?
"Working at a mega gym meant a lot of performance tickers that I had to keep up for the salary. In 2006, due to fatigue, I fell down from the stairs. I had fractured my right fibular and twisted my left ankle. It was a painful 3mths long recovery for me. I was on the wheelchair for most of the time, eventually to make a full recovery I had to go through 2 surgeries - one to put plates and screws in and another a year later to remove them.
While I was recovering, I was feeling negative as I was guilt tripping myself for not being there for my young kids. That was the time, when I decided to take better charge of my future goals.”
3/ Tips for mommies on your pre-natal and post-natal exercises?
On pre-natal exercises, one has to keep as per normal. I would suggest light exercises like brisk walk, swimming, stationary cycling and stretching in the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different. The rule of thumb is always to inform your gynae before you start any exercise program especially if it's new to you.
On post-natal exercises, I would recommend Kegel or pelvic floor exercises, essential strength, stretch exercises, walking and other non-impact aerobics can be resumed. On average, regular exercises can be resumed 6 weeks after natural birth and 8 weeks after C-section. Again, I would prefer clients to get clearance from gynae before starting any exercise program.
A number of conditions may arise out of childbirth. Diastasis Recti also known as stomach separation is one of the common condition. Certain exercises can be done to improve the condition and some exercises have to be avoided till conditions improved.
4/ You stress a lot on injury prevention, why is it important?
If it's right, it can't be wrong. If you train with good techniques and forms with the right exercises/ stretches and rest, injuries can be prevented. Thus, we focus a lot on getting it right than fixing it. No one wants to train to get injured.
I feel life after Covid will never be the same again. My daughter in law gave birth to number 3 during this time and I was lucky to have everyone under one roof.
Though my hands are full at the moment, but I do hope I could help more young mummies who just delivered to pass on information via zoom on post natal fitness care. These stretching exercises help with wellness and get them back in shape.
Also, I saw an increase of zoom fitness training with my clients, we sourced for them gym equipment during the lockdown and these trends could continue after. I would stay open minded to venture these initiatives even when lockdown opens up.
I would say the new norm would only mean more healthy eating for everyone and greener practises for gym operators. (provide water dispensers to cut down plastic bottles and use energy saving lighting, equipment).