Fit And Fab

From race participant to pacer

Research consultant Sri Ranjini Mei Hua does a variety of exercises to keep her mind fresh and body strong and agile.
Research consultant Sri Ranjini Mei Hua does a variety of exercises to keep her mind fresh and body strong and agile.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Research consultant Sri Ranjini Mei Hua tells Joan Chew how she keeps active while working

Q How has your exercise regimen changed over the years?

A Several years ago, my main form of exercise was running.

Currently I do a variety of exercises as it keeps my mind fresh and my body strong and agile.

I also find that it is great to break out of my usual routine.

Q What are some pre- and post-workout routines you keep to?

A My usual pre-workout routine would be simple warm-ups such as high knees, lunges and stretches.

For my post-workout routine, I stretch for at least 15 minutes to prevent tight hamstrings.

Q What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

A I drink lots of water. And getting enough sleep; smiling helps too! I do not put on make-up often or dress up much as I prefer comfort over style.

  • Bio Box

  • SRI RANJINI MEI HUA

    Age: 30

    Height: 1.58m

    Weight: 47kg

    When Ms Ranjini returned to Singapore from London at the end of 2011, she joined running events. The research consultant takes part in five to six races a year that range from 10km to half-marathons.

    In 2014, she had her first stint as a pacer at the Great Eastern Women's Run. On race day and during the training runs with the participants, she felt encouraged and inspired by how determined they were to cross the finish line. Last November, she was again a pacer for the same race.

    Anyone who followed her for the 10km category of the race could expect to complete it in an hour.

    Pacers also act as cheerleaders who remind runners to hydrate themselves along the way.

    Ms Ranjini, who is single, also teaches pilates to an informal group at Farrer Park and at Wings to Wings Dance Development Centre.

Q Has there been a time when you were not fit and fab?

A I've never been overweight but I have been underweight at 42kg, when I was about 25 years old.

I ran almost every day then to keep warm on the miserably cold mornings in London, where I was pursuing my master's degree in sociology research at the London School of Economics.

As I was living alone and preparing my own meals, I ate mostly vegetables and rice, some fish and/or eggs. When I became anaemic, I started to incorporate more iron-rich food into my diet.

Now, I don't eat so much meat (maybe once or twice a week) but I take iron pills from time to time and am at a much healthier weight.

Q What is your typical diet like?

A I usually prepare my own breakfast and lunch, then eat out for dinner. I have eggs or some fruit for breakfast. I eat quite a lot for lunch - stir-fried vegetables, mushrooms, beans, maybe some fish or tofu and rice. For dinner, I have an open- faced rye sandwich or some fish or meat with vegetables and maybe some rice, potatoes or pasta.

I snack on nuts and fruit such as watermelon, apple, mango, dragonfruit and berries throughout the day.

Q What are your indulgences?

A I have cake and ice cream about once or twice a week. I also like chocolates!

Q What do you do to relax?

A I like to read and relax with a cup of green, chamomile or ginger tea.

When I am engrossed in something, I could sit for hours and work.

I work from home and do not have the regular commute to and from an office, so I try to take movement breaks throughout the day.

It is also good to give your eyes a break, which I admit I do not do enough of.

If I have to travel for work, I would pack my yoga towel so I can do a bit of exercise in the morning.

Q What are the three most important things in your life?

A Happiness, empathy and curiosity. Being happy means having gratitude. Empathy is what makes us kinder human beings who think, feel and act not just for ourselves, but for others as well.

Curiosity gives us the thirst for knowledge and is the basis for continual learning and innovation.

Q What would happen if you miss an exercise session?

A If I don't exercise or move about, I would feel quite lethargic and sometimes even pretty down.

Exercising releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. All these chemicals make me feel good and help me sleep better at night.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery?

A No, I would not. It is expensive and painful, and I would not want to put myself through that unless it was absolutely necessary.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2016, with the headline 'From race participant to pacer'. Print Edition | Subscribe