Fit And Fab

A disciplined approach to fitness

Dr Deborah Wong incorporates strength training into her workouts to help build muscle.
Dr Deborah Wong incorporates strength training into her workouts to help build muscle.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

A doctor by day and pilates instructor by night, she still finds time to work out. Ng Wan Ching reports.

Q What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

A I work hard. As a doctor and pilates instructor, I consider myself a member of the front-line staff in the service industry, so there is a need to look presentable.

Besides working out, I make an effort to go for facials, manicures, pedicures and hair treatments.

I also clock at least seven hours of sleep every night, and take supplements such as fish oils to help the regulation of muscle mass.

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

A I used to be unfit, underweight and frail-looking.

As a dancer and a runner, I was doing too many cardiovascular activities without strength training.

  • Bio Box


    Age: 28

    Height: 1.53m

    Weight: 41kg

    She graduated from National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in 2011. She has her own general practice at Clinic@Fusionopolis. Dr Wong first encountered pilates 10 years ago as an avid dancer.

    Practising pilates helped to reduce the lower back pain she suffered due to mild scoliosis (curved spine).

    It helped her so much she trained to be a pilates instructor, which she has now been for about three years.

    She also owns a pilates studio at Breathe Pilates.

    Her parents, a tax manager and an auditor, walk for exercise, and her brother, 26, who works in a bank, cycles.

I was really skinny with no muscles, and I fell sick easily.

Since I started pilates 10 years ago, I have incorporated strength training into my workouts, which has helped me to build muscle. I also have fewer injuries.

Q What is your diet like?

A Breakfast is usually Greek yogurt with muesli and cocoa powder or an avocado smoothie.

I have protein with carbohydrates for lunch. It can range from chicken rice to steak and potatoes.

I try to make sure the protein is of good quality and the carbs have low glycemic index, which produce a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, rather than a sharp spike.

For dinner, I will have a protein salad, which means vegetables with meat - any kind of meat.

Also, I avoid processed food and sugar. If I snack, I eat trail mix.

Q What are your indulgences?

A Dairy and chocolate! To moderate my chocolate intake, I mix cocoa powder into yogurt, smoothies, muesli, juice and protein shakes.

Q What do you do to relax?

A Fridays are date nights with my partner. Saturday evenings are set aside for dinner with my friends, partner or family. Sundays are spent with my family.

Weekdays and Saturday mornings and afternoons are for work and self-development.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery and why?

A I have considered it.

However, I don't have anything that I feel convinced enough to want to fix. I would consider it again when I am older and need some touching up.

Q What's your favourite part of your body? And the least favourite?

A My favourite part would be my legs and bum. I think it comes from the years of dancing and running. They are strong and help me get about my daily activities.

I like my nostrils the least - I find them too big. They flare too much.

Q What are your must-dos before and after a training session?

A I always make sure I eat or drink something with protein and carbohydrates within half an hour of my exercise to help build muscles.

If I work out in the morning, I will have supplements and some protein - either a hard-boiled egg or some nuts - to fuel myself.

I exercise without make-up, and try to wash my face immediately after to keep my skin blemish-free.

I also try to warm up and stretch after each workout, although I don't do it as often as I should.

Q What is the biggest sacrifice you've made in the name of fitness?

A With a busy schedule, I have to plan my life months in advance. This means no to last-minute events. I have had to say no to many fun events. My friends and family no longer call me to go out spontaneously.

Q How has your active lifestyle influenced your family and friends?

A I am always the go-to person when people want to sign up for any sporting activity.

My parents go for morning walks on weekends, or cycle with me when I go out for a run.

Many dates with friends revolve around physical activities, which they would not have done otherwise. My partner's knowledge about health food has increased. He now knows what flaxseed chips are.

Q How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia at home?

A Heaps! My default casual wear is sportswear.

I have a few yoga mats at home for quick workouts.

I also have different shoes for different purposes - I have a pair for CrossFit, a training method which combines gymnastic movements with weightlifting and running; and another for running.

For pilates, I wear Toesox, which are socks with a non-slip grip. I have a few pairs of these to match my outfits.

However, luckily, as I have a studio, I can keep most of my equipment there.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2015, with the headline 'A disciplined approach to fitness'. Print Edition | Subscribe