Fit And Fab

Jumping for fitness and happiness

Ms Kang gave up a high-paying but stressful job in banking for a much happier work-life balance.
Ms Kang gave up a high-paying but stressful job in banking for a much happier work-life balance.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Fitness instructor Irene Kang tells Timothy Goh why she quit banking

Q What's your secret to looking fabulous?

A Eating healthily, but not less. Having a positive and happy mindset and adopting an active lifestyle.

Q Was there ever a time when you weren't fit and fab?

A When I was in my 20s and 30s and focusing on my career, I had no time for exercise. I also had a high stress level and was eating junk food at irregular hours.

In 2004, I gave birth to my twins. The stress of going back to work and having the babies meant that I didn't lose much weight after they were born.

I'm 1.55m tall and weighed 63kg then.

Q How did you break out of that?

A In 2006, I started working out at the gym during lunch-time and over the weekends. The following year, I started work as a regional product controller for investment banking at JPMorgan Chase and trained for its corporate challenge.

Despite this, I didn't lose much weight as I didn't know how to manage my diet.

In 2012, I took a break from work due to health issues which required me to undergo an operation and follow-up treatments. After I recovered, I decided to quit my job and focus on my fitness. I now weigh 47kg.

Q What's your diet like?

A My diet is 90 per cent plant- based. I try to eat more frequently, but in smaller portions.

For breakfast, I drink juices. Lunch consists of organic veggies, eggs, salmon, avocado and Japanese peas. I usually either skip dinner or have a very light one with no carbohydrates. For supper, I'll eat fruit high in antioxidants like pineapples and blueberries.

Q What are your indulgences?

A Ice cream and cakes.

Q What do you do to relax?

A I pray, listen to music, go to the movies, dance, shop or hang out with friends. And, of course, working up a good sweat.

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

A Health and fitness, faith, and family and friends.

  • Bio Box


    AGE: 49

    WEIGHT: 47kg

    HEIGHT: 1.55m

    The divorced mother of 12-year-old twins exercises at least six days a week with activities such as running, dancing, working out at the gym, piloxing (a cardio workout that fuses standing Pilates, boxing and dance) and jump fitness (a fitness training system conducted on trampolines). Since 2013, she has been working as a full-time fitness instructor teaching piloxing and jump fitness.

    The rest of her family is into fitness as well. Her 73-year-old mother has been keeping active as a ballroom dance teacher for the past 30 years.

    Her three brothers and her twins work out as well.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery?

A Yes, if it helps me in building confidence.

Q Do you think you're sexy?

A Yes, because I'm confident and can be myself.

Q What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your body?

A I like my legs and arms as they are lean and toned. My least favourite is my chest.

Q What are your must-dos before and after fitness sessions?

A I eat a healthy meal high in protein and potassium an hour before working out. I drink lots of water during and after each session.

Q How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?

A Very, as it concerns my health and well-being.

Q What's the biggest sacrifice you've made to get to your current size?

A I quit my high-paying but stressful job in banking to be a freelance fitness instructor with a much happier work-life balance.

Q What do your family and friends say about your active lifestyle?

A Many of my friends look up to me. My family is happy for me, especially my mum who saw my transformation in body and mind.

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

A I have about 30 fitness outfits, four pairs of sports shoes and many sports accessories.

My most prized possession is my fitness instructor certification.

I was certified in jumping fitness by a master trainer from the Czech Republic in August last year and piloxing by master trainers from Australia and Singapore in February this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2016, with the headline 'Jumping for fitness and happiness'. Print Edition | Subscribe