Fit & Fab

Many ways to work up a sweat

Eye surgeon Claudine Pang runs, lifts weights and does pilates every week to keep fit and trim.
Eye surgeon Claudine Pang runs, lifts weights and does pilates every week to keep fit and trim. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

Besides hot yoga sessions and pilates, Dr Claudine Pang also runs and does weights

What is your secret to looking fabulous?

I eat with a lot of discretion. I eat half portions, instead of full portions. I don't indulge in sugary soft drinks. I hardly eat snacks or tidbits between meals, or indulge in candy or chocolates.

And I keep active throughout the day. I'm always rushing about, from my clinic to the hospitals to see my patients and to my kids' schools to pick them up.

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

I found it hard to exercise regularly during my two pregnancies.

For someone with such a petite frame, carrying a 3kg baby was not an easy feat. I was still working full-time, doing doctor night call duties, so most times, I was too exhausted to exercise during the pregnancy.

What is your diet like?

My favourite breakfast is yogurt with granola or ham and cheese sandwich - I never finish the bread.

I like to eat a light lunch such as sashimi salad, sushi or soup.

For dinner, I like to drink Chinese-style soups, with vegetables and fish or meat. In general, I try to take less carbohydrates and more healthy proteins.

  • Bio Box

  • CLAUDINE PANG

    AGE: 38

    HEIGHT: 1.53m

    WEIGHT: 43kg

    Eye surgeon Claudine Pang ran her first marathon in 2009 when she was 28.

    "At my peak, I was running 50km cumulatively a week," she said.

    When she was in university, she started going to the gym regularly to run on the treadmill as well as to do weights training. She wanted to tone up her core muscles, which are important for long-distance running.

    She would also run at East Coast Park for 10km to 20km at a stretch three times a week.

    As a teenager, she was an avid dancer and took many different dance classes, from ballet and hip-hop to funk and jazz.

    Now, she runs, does weights and enjoys hot yoga sessions and pilates on reformer machines. "I've always been very active," she said.

    "I always feel really good breaking out in a sweat, because I feel like I'm ridding my body of unwanted toxins."

    Dr Pang is married to Mr Aaron Tan, 38, head of data and analytics at the Singapore Exchange.

    They have two children - Nathanael, seven, and Sophie, four.

What are your indulgences?

I do indulge in desserts such as chocolate cake and sticky date pudding. But I always make sure I share them with someone so that I take only half the portion.

I also drink wine at social events and take comfort in the fact that moderate amounts of red wine have been shown to be protective against heart disease due to its antioxidant effects.

Why do you feel that it is important to keep fit?

Keeping lean and fit makes me feel confident about myself, so it's very important to me to go to the gym whenever I can squeeze in the time daily.

Other than feeling confident and looking good, I think keeping fit allows people to age gracefully.

Keeping the muscles and ligaments toned and strong prevents injuries in the form of aches and sprains, which people are vulnerable to as they get older.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

I take the kids to school early in the morning, then I try to squeeze in a quick morning workout before I start seeing patients in my clinic.

On Saturdays, I work out together with my husband at the gym, which makes for good couple-bonding time.

On Sundays, we either take our kids to East Coast Park or Botanic Gardens to cycle, or to our pool to swim. This way, the whole family gets to stay active and have fun together.

What are the three most important things in your life?

My family, my patients and my dreams - the goals I want to achieve.

What is your favourite and least favourite part of your body?

My favourite part is my shoulders. Looking at the bony clavicle sitting on top of my shoulders always gives me the impression I'm slim, even when I'm feeling fat.

My least favourite part is my right big toe, which has a slight bony protrusion due to long-distance running and wearing high heels. It makes it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably.

What are your must-dos before and after a workout?

Before my workout, I must stretch and warm up. After my workout, I must shower.

How has your active lifestyle influenced your family and friends?

I'm the youngest of five siblings. My older siblings all lead an active lifestyle so I must have been influenced by them to do the same.

My brothers run, play tennis, golf and go to the gym regularly. My sister owns a pilates studio and is a master pilates instructor.

I would say I have been able to influence my husband and children to be active by registering the whole family to participate together in fun runs, such as the Shape Family Run and Cold Storage Kids Run, regularly.

What is the most extreme thing you have done in the name of fitness?

The most challenging thing for me was training for and completing a duathlon, which involved a 20km cycle and 10km run.

Running comes easily to me, but not cycling. Unfortunately, the event took place in a heavy downpour. Cycling in the rain was very challenging for an amateur cyclist like myself.

I'm glad I completed it and I definitely felt a great sense of achievement after.

What are the fitness and diet tips you swear by?

Eat half portions instead of full ones, skip the soft drinks and stay away from unhealthy snacks.

How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia?

I believe in looking good while I work out, so I have stylish yet appropriate workout attire for the right type of workout, be it running, yoga or dance. Just enough but not extensive.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

Never. I believe in authenticity and living "au naturel".

Do you think you're sexy?

To me, being confident and comfortable with one's body, which then comes across as attractiveness, is the definition of sexy.

So, yes, having been blessed with good health and the ability to keep fit, lean and toned through regular exercise, I am confident and comfortable in my own skin.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2019, with the headline 'Many ways to work up a sweat'. Print Edition | Subscribe